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Playing at War by Keira7794
Chapter 1 : The Meeting
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 15

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The room was unusually full, but it was to be expected as the meeting was a special one. At one end of the table sat Dumbledore, his blue eyes focussed in concentration behind his half-moon spectacles and his hands clasped together on the table in front of him. Beside him was Severus Snape, whose greasy black hair framed his face and his dark eyes narrowed in pure hatred at our special guest. Next to him was Holly Wilkins, her blonde hair tied back in a bun, Tim Pockles, his large nose obtruding from his wrinkled face, Janis Quirte, Kelnie King, Amelia Bones, and then several people who had never introduced themselves.

The large group was crowded round the table in the Weasley’s kitchen; Ron and Ginny had been banned upstairs with silencing charms on all the doors. Near my end of the table was Kingsley, whose earring seemed to shine in the dimmed light, and Mad Eye, his magical eye spinning round the room whilst his other eye was trained on our guest.

At the other side of the table, Remus Lupin sat wedged between Minerva McGonagall and Bill Weasley. He looked uncomfortable at the constant attention he was getting. The bags under his eyes had deepened and his face was still pale. There were fresh scars over his cheek, presumably from his current mission. His eyes were bloodshot, though from stress or tears, it was impossible to tell. His recent loss still weighed down on his shoulders and I wondered what his motivation to carry on was. From what Moody had said, Remus’ family was long dead, his friends also gone – the only surviving one was the person who betrayed them all, he couldn’t get any work and was constantly on dangerous missions for the order. What could possibly keep a man so focussed and determined to fight for a society that would prefer it if he was dead?

“Tonks?” a voice interrupted my thoughts and I was bought back to the table with a jolt; Bill Weasley had finished his update on the Goblins. Moody nudged me and I saw his eye spin towards where my gaze had been locked, his lip twitched slightly – the only sign of emotion. I shook my head and coughed to clear my throat.

“Sorry,” I apologised. “I’ve been speaking to some of the newer aurors and some have shown willingness to fight if it comes down to it.” A murmur ran through the crowd, I paused and continued. “However, I don’t feel confident that they would all come to fight when the battle commences.” I felt Moody’s eye become trained on me, “Jack Thrones, for example, is the single parent of a three year old daughter. Thenes Jackson has a record of being unreliable and Mora Payne was a Slytherin.”

“A Slytherin?” Snape spat, “need I remind you Nymphadora that I was once and still am, a part of Slytherin House. Yet, I have chosen to work with the Order. Remind me, Nymphadora which family your mother belongs to?”

Mutters ran through the crowd; some glaring at Snape, others looking questionably at me as I felt my hair change colour in response to him deliberately using my first name.

Tonks, Severus - as I'm sure you're aware." Moody growled. "If you were insinuating about the Black family, then may I remind you of Sirius Black. As good a man as any other. And as for you working for the Order - may I remind you that this wasn't always the case." His electric blue eye had halted from spinning round the room and was now trained on Snape.

“Alastor,’ Dumbledore said carefully, yet the warning was clear. Moody huffed and his eye began to spin round the room once more. Dumbledore nodded to me and I continued.

“What I meant is that there have been several occasions when we have been called to houses under threat of Death Eater attacks where she has hesitated as soon as we found out it was a muggleborns house. On one occasion it almost seemed that she was expecting the order to leave.” I shook my head to clear my thoughts, “I just get a feeling that she can’t be trusted. Which leaves Henry Anderson and... Vincent Ginnis.” I said the last name with a hint of disgust, Moody snorted beside me and Kingsley fought to hide his smile.

A couple people frowned at the strange reaction, Dumbledore gestured for somebody to explain. Jack Noble, a fellow auror who had been in the year above me at Hogwarts, was also attempting to stifle his chuckle. At Dumbledore’s look he was bought to speech.

“Vincent Ginnis is... shall we say, slightly attached to Tonks here. From what I’ve observed, he suffers from jealousy when any other male attempts to speak to Tonks – a frequent occurrence in a male dominating office." Jack frowned for a moment, then after a short pause resumed. “He seems eager enough to fight, but for which side I can’t be certain.”

Jack was referring to the other day when Thenes Jackson asked if I had a spare pen; Vincent had cursed him so fast that I hadn’t had a chance to reply before Thenes was unconscious. Vincent got extra patrol for that and then the embarrassment when Mora found pictures of me in his drawer. Creep.

“Vincent Ginnis is not an option.” Moddy growled, his slightly over-protective side where I’m concerned showing through. Both eyes darted around the table, daring someone to object. “However, Henry Anderson has showed loyalty and bravery in recent weeks. His parents were killed last year by Death Eaters and he only has one sibling who I believe is in your department, Madam Bones.”

Amelia nodded, “Emilia Jackson, very loyal and brave. It must run in the family, I’ve been watching her for a while as well.”

“I’ll keep a watch on him for the next week, if I think he’s acceptable then I’ll approach him about joining up.” Moddy growled once more.

Dumbledore nodded his assent, “I knew them both at Hogwarts. They, and I’m sure you’ll agree Minerva since they were in your house, were very loyal and very courageous. Both were prefects and I think they shall be very suitable for the task at hand.” Dumbledore coughed and turned his head, “Now, Remus, what can you report?”

The room became still, this was the report we had been waiting for. Remus looked slightly uncertain at the attention he was suddenly given. “Well it appears that Voldemort is giving Greyback free reign to attack any muggleborns and ‘blood traitors’. There have been two new pack members in the last three weeks alone. One of which is only nine years old,” mutterings spread throughout the room, someone gasped, “Charlene Hemmingway,” Remus added at the inquisitive looks.

The Hemmingway family had been attacked last week; I was on patrol at the time. Yet when we arrived, only the bodies of Mr and Mrs Hemmingway were found – their two children remained missing.

“There has been no mention of her younger brother, Oliver. I can only assume that Greyback couldn’t stop himself and killed the boy.”

Somebody gasped and Molly Weasley put a hand to a face. There was silence for a moment; reflecting on the innocents of war.

Dumbledore’s brow was furrowed, “and Charlene?”

Remus paused, “Bitter. Very upset, understandably so. I’ve tried to speak to her, but she of course sees me as one of them. She is easy to anger and I think she has started to believe what the others are saying about blood purity.” Remus shrugged, but the pain was clear in his eyes. “She’s a scared nine year old girl, whose family has been murdered before her.”

The silence seemed to stretch by until Dumbledore cleared his throat. “And the others?”

Remus hesitated for a moment, “they are... suspicious. I haven’t been around properly for years, since the last war and-“

He paused as he took in the looks of incomprehension around the room. He sighed and the lines around his eyes seemed to deepen. “Wolves... are pack animals. They – we – follow the same hierarchy that a wolf pack might have.” He paused again at the baffled looks being shared throughout the room.

Remus clenched his jaw and his hand turned into a fist on the table. “The best way to explain it is that in wolf packs, the wolves are led by an Alpha. The leader, in our case is Fenir Greyback.” Remus’ eyes seemed to darken and his brows furrowed into a frown. “Most packs are formed through blood ties and in Fenir’s mind, he created us. He bit the majority of us to give us the werewolf affliction and therefore we are bound to him. Somehow, over the years, he has persuaded others to believe his theory as well. Fenir has created a pack of loyal werewolves – but I am the exception.”

I looked round the table to see that everyone else was as engrossed with his story as I was. Some leant forward as if it would help them hear better, Amelia Bones was making notes and both of Moody’s eyes were trained on Remus.

“I show obvious markings of attempting to reject my werewolf genetics. Those who have been bitten after the First Wizarding War remember me from Hogwarts. Many have heard that I even taught there for a year. I wear Wizarding robes and don’t walk around bare foot. They can smell so acutely that if I have taken any wolfsbane potion in the last year, they can sense it.” Remus paused once more, “I have tried with all my might to not become a pack member. A lone wolf, you might say. Some have noticed that I only become close to the pack when a war is brewing, and they don’t like it. They follow Greyback’s lead, and he is listening to Voldemort at the moment.”

Remus looked round the room, “some have listened to what I’ve got to say. But they are by far the minority – I won’t get respect until I prove myself, until I improve my standing in the pack hierarchy. Until then, if that ever happens, I must play my part as a pack member and try to keep their suspicions to a minimum.”

Silence greeted his words and Dumbledore bowed his head in thought. After a minute of silence Dumbeldore coughed, “the answer is clear on what we must do. But it is whether it should be done; that is the question and rather alarmingly, the answer.”

I stared at Dumbledore for a moment; this is exactly the reason why I wasn’t a Ravenclaw. I had no clue whatsoever on what he meant and this assessment seemed to be shared around the table. Kingsley was once again fighting a smile and others seemed to be patiently waiting for an explanation. I was never good at being patient and my fingers started to tap the table in my impatience. Moody swatted my hand with a swift movement and I could feel his eye glaring at me. I smiled and pretended to not notice.

Dumbledore chuckled then looked directly at Remus. “We have long discussed the outcome of Voldemort’s plan. There will be war and he shall attempt to take power once more. It is up to us to even the sides out slightly. The werewolf pack will be a threatening enemy that rather unnervingly will increase in size in every attack that they take part in; we need you to persuade them to join our side. But, like you have just said, the pack follows its leader and most will not listen to you with your, excuse me for saying this Remus, but your poor standing in the hierarchy. We cannot allow another repeat of Charlene and Oliver Hemmingway.”

A pin could've dropped in the wake of his words; all attention was on the old wizard. “They need to know that you are strong enough to lead them, that you will put the pack ahead of your own Wizarding interests. Please feel you are under no obligation Remus, but I have a suggestion. For my plan to work I would need a volunteer, but keep in mind that this mission would be incredibly dangerous and it would be my guess that the volunteer would remain wandless for the duration.”

All those who had leant forward with excitement on hearing of the dangerous mission and opened their mouths to volunteer now gasped; their faces paling and their mouths closing. Some looked to the floor in shame, others shrank back in their chairs; being wandless changed everything.

For a brief moment I considered volunteering but then my mother’s face seemed to appear in front of me and I could just imagine the disapproving look plastered on her face, the dark bags under her eyes since I started working for the Order and the premature wrinkles that now lined my father’s face.

Wandless. I could faintly hear the jeers of the Slytherins from my Hogwarts days; “It’s a good thing you’re a witch Nymphadora - ‘cause without magic, you’d be dead within the week!” I turned to curse them whilst my anger bubbled within my head, but instead tripped over the foot of the knight statue and ended up in a heap on the floor. My face burned with embarrassment whilst the Slytherins roared with laughter.

Instead another image filled my head from when I had visited my father’s parents when I was young. They were so feeble and vulnerable – relying on carers to carry their food and light their fires. Wandless. Without a wand I would have no more defence then a Muggle. I can’t do it.

Moody coughed beside me, “I’ll do it,” he growled into the silence. My stomach seemed to tense and my throat seemed to narrow. For some reason I just couldn’t let him put himself in that kind of danger; the image of my weak, wandless grandparents filled my eyes as I looked at the man who had become a father-figure. My eyes followed his battle scars to his missing leg and I found myself speaking, as much to my surprise as to everyone else’s.

“No offence Moody, but if something went wrong you’re not exactly going to win any running contests.” His eye narrowed in my direction and some people tried to hide their smiles, but somehow I knew it wasn’t enough, so I continued. “Also I’m guessing you won’t be allowed your eye, so I doubt a one-eyed, one-legged older man is going to gain Remus any credibility.”

Both of Moody’s eyes were focussed on me now, his lip twitched as he realised I was right, but still his eyes were narrowed in annoyance.

“So pray, enlighten us Nymphadora, who do you suggest should go instead?” Severus sneered.

The table was silenced once more and I saw Molly Weasley, biting her lip, looking at the clock behind her as the hands which represented her family were all pointing to ‘Mortal Peril’.

I pushed the thoughts of my parents, the Slytherins jeers and my grandparents away from me mind as I opened my mouth to speak.

Moody, realising what I was about to say, growled and clenched his hand into a fist. I swallowed and looked around the room of tired faces. “I-I’ll go.”

I swallowed once more and saw the shock register on many of the Order members faces, my resolve strengthened when I saw Remus looking stricken, shaking his head. “I volunteer.”

A/N: Hello :) Firstly, I am not J.K so the characters of the amazing world of Harry Potter belong to her. Also if you see any resemblances to 'Beauty and the Beast', it's because I had just watched it when I planned this story. :)

This is my first go at a ship at all, so please review and tell me if you liked it? Until next time :)

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