The auror office was as busy as could be expected on a weekday evening. Harold patrolled the aisle between the desks with his usual early evening vigour. His trolley levitated in front of him whilst he flicked his wand from side to side so the pieces of parchment, which were resting on the trolley, flew to either side and landed on the appropriate desks. Some aurors leant over their cubicles to talk to their neighbour, whilst others had their faces buried in books and parchment as they filled in a report on the last patrol.
There were faded squares on the walls of each cubicle; the only remains of the family photos which had been stuck there previously.
All family images were now banned for fear it would encourage Death Eaters to blackmail the aurors through their families. I smiled and waved to Kipley Simmons, an old friend of my father’s, and ducked as a group of colourful memos sped past my head. I walked past Moody’s office to see that it was empty; images of the last meeting suddenly filled my head.
“I volunteer.” My mouth repeated into the astounded room.
Dumbledore looked at me appraisingly and I had the distinct impression that he could look straight through me.
“No.” Moody growled, “not even considerable. No.”
“Why not?” I queried, annoyed at his dismissal. “I can do it just as well as anyone else.”
One of his eyes fixed on me whilst the other spun round the room. “You’re too young-”
“-I’m old enough!”
“-I passed all my exams!”
“It’s too dangerous-”
“-It’s the same amount of danger for everyone else!”
“You’re needed at the office-“
“-You’ll be fine without me!”
A cough interrupted us, and I turned to see Dumbledore watching us with an expression of polite amusement. “I’m sorry to interrupt but we are running out of time. Tonks, I appreciate your offer but you must fully understand the complexity of the situation. You will be without defence, Remus must play his part as a pack member and therefore will not be able to protect you, and if you are caught then you will be killed immediately. If you are to fully volunteer then you must accept these terms, if not, then I cannot accept your offer.”
I paused only for a second before saying “I accept.”
Dumbledore appeared troubled for a moment before smiling slightly, “very well,” at the same time Moody slammed his hand on the table and growled “No!”
“Tonks!” A voice jolted me from my thoughts and instead saw Jack running after me with a piece of pink parchment clutched in one hand.
“’Wotcher Jack,” I smiled.
Jack grinned and passed me the pink paper, “it’s the patrol schedule,” he added at my confused expression, “there’s been a swap around. Thenes is going to cover for you tonight if you can take his slot tomorrow?”
“Thenes? Are you sure he’ll turn up this time?” I teased. Jack laughed and shrugged his shoulders.
“Merlin – I hope so. I can only cover for him so many times!” I laughed; it was no secret that Jack covered for Thenes whenever he forgot to turn up – which was a frequent occurrence.
“Aperire.” I whispered and tapped the blank piece of parchment with my wand. Black ink spurted out of the tip of my wand and organised itself on the paper; forming a table. “Hey! I’m paired with Steven tomorrow.” I grinned; patrol was always fun with Steven. Jack smiled and nodded; there was a glint in his eye that I recognised, “why, who was I with before? Ah - Vincent.”
“Like I said, Thenes said he’ll cover for you.” Jack chuckled. I smacked him on the arm with the paper, but swung my arm too far and knocked a tin of quills onto the floor by mistake. Jack chuckled as he bent down to pick them up.
“Cheers.” I smiled, pushing the tin of quills further onto the desk. “Tell Thenes that I appreciate it.” Pulling my wand out, I tapped the piece of parchment once more so that the ink sank into the paper and it disappeared once more. It was another precaution so if a Death Eater got hold of one of the timetables then they couldn’t easily target a specific Auror on patrol.
“Noble.” A deep voice called from across the office; Kingsley’s voice travelling over the noise of the office – most of who were packing up for the evening. Jack nodded and flashed me a grin before heading in Kingsley’s direction. I carried on towards my cubicle, tucking the patrol schedule into my pocket.
My cubicle was between Jack Thrones’, which had several drawings done by his young daughter plastered over the wall, and a cubicle on my other side which was unnervingly empty. It once belonged to John Fisher, but all his personal items had been given to back to his family after his death.
My cubicle was pretty bare, faded squares decorated my cubicle wall where my photos of my family used to hang; now there was just a single mirror at the corner of the desk. I sat down with a sigh and looked at the pile of reports that needed doing. Reluctantly, I reached across the desk for a quill to start the reports.
My last patrol had been two days ago; I’d been with Joshua whilst walking through Diagon Alley. The evening had been calm and the sky was clear. Josh and I had been discussing the constellations which were unusually clear in the summer night sky. Astronomy was Josh’s favourite subject apparently, not so much a shared interest. I found that looking into the sky only meant that I lacked concentration on where I was putting my feet; as shows on patrol when I tripped on three different occasions. It was after the third time that we heard the cry.
It was the type of cry that made shivers run down your back, and the time of cry which I had sadly adjusted to hearing. By the time we had reached its source, we were faced with the image of a broken man. He was slumped on the floor, his arms wrapped round the body of a female. Tears and snot mingled together on his face as he cried. The Dark Mark hovered above the door. That was what was unnerving – there hadn’t been a single sound, or else we would have heard it. Josh and I were the only ones on the street – there was nobody around. Yet a woman had been murdered, another innocent in war.
I pushed the piece of parchment away from me and tapped my wand on its edge. The paper rose into the air and flew towards the large purple filing cabinet at one end of the room. It was specifically for deaths – apparently it was once empty, just a couple piece of parchments. Now, the cabinet was full of paper – the hinges squeaked when it opened from overuse. I shook my head, looking for a distraction when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
My hair was currently blue and my violet eyes reflected in the glass. I smiled at my reflection, pushing all negative thoughts away from my mind. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to transform for a while. No one appeared to be giving me much notice as I pushed away the rest of the reports to be done and instead looked in the mirror. I scrunched up my face and instead my hair was green – then red – then pink – then blonde. I was going to miss being able to transform.
Dumbledore nodded and turned to look at me. “Now, Tonks, you have my deepest gratitude for volunteering. Surprisingly you’re an ideal volunteer - your seniors at work are involved in the Order as well so will be able to explain your absence and additionally your metamorphous abilities will be extremely useful for this specific mission.”
I leant forward and looked at Remus, who was staring at Dumbledore intently, and at Moody, whose eyes were both glaring at Dumbledore. It was just us left at the table; the meeting had been over for a while and Molly was checking that Ron and Ginny were asleep.
“It would be best if you weren’t immediately recognisable, so I suggest that you hide your metamorphous abilities by a freezing spell.”
“A freezing spell?” I questioned.
“Put simply, it will halt your abilities temporarily. If you change to a ‘common’ appearance it will stop you being able to change your hair and eye colour when your mood changes. You will have some scope, however, such as being able to change your skin colour or add scars which will be useful – essentially you will be able to change as much as possible whilst staying within the same mould.” Dumbledore finished simply.
Remus and Moody looked slightly confused, but I wasn’t. I understood my limits immediately and nodded for him to carry on, but Moody interrupted before he could.
“So what’s she going to be doing, Albus?” Moody growled, his magic eye quivering in its socket as he glared at Dumbledore.
Dumbledore sighed. “You’re not going to like this Alastor. But bear in mind that Tonks has passed her exams and she has volunteered to do this.” Dumbledore paused. “Tonks, we need Remus to gain credibility in the pack and from what Remus has said, the main way to increase your hierarchy is to make a kill,” Remus winced, “which is obviously not an option, or the other option is to bite another witch or wizard – the younger the better.”
“No!” Moody roared.
Remus shook his head violently and almost snarled “there’s no way Dumbledore. I won’t bite her or anyone!”
Dumbledore raised his hands in a peace offering. “Of course not. What I meant, and forgive me for not making this clearer, is that Tonks will be able to alter her appearance to stay in tune with the other werewolves – to give the impression that she has been bitten.” Remus and I frowned, seemingly in sync. Dumbledore smiled at our expressions, “essentially, if you still remain willing Tonks, you will be joining Remus with the werewolves whilst undercover. You will become a member of the pack.”
A hand curled around my hair, pulling me away from my thoughts. A large finger intertwined in one of the curls. “Hey look – we match.” A low, slimy voice said. I looked up, momentarily confused, before realising I still had blonde hair.
“Vincent.” I said politely, moving his hand away from my hair.
He leant forward, his leg perched on the side of my desk and he looked almost predatorily at me. “You know, I’ve read that a Metamorphous’ appearance changes to reflect who they were thinking of.” He ran a hand through his own thinning blonde hair and then looking exaggeratedly round the office, before turning to look back at me with a thin smile on his face, “and I can’t see anyone else with my-our- hair colour.” His hand returned to stroke my face and I resisted the urge to recoil.
“I don’t know where you’ve read that Vincent, but I can assure you that it’s not true.” I said sharply, removing his hand once more, “now, if you’ll excuse me I have to g-”
His hand reached out and grabbed my arm to prevent me from leaving. “Why were you talking to Jack?” Vincent’s icy blue eyes narrowed against his pale face.
I rolled my eyes and attempted to remove his hand. “He was just showing me the patrol schedule.” Vincent’s hand relaxed, but his face changed into a look of pure confusion.
“Why? You’re with me later on. I could have told you – you know you only need to ask. I’m always here.” His eyes looked me up and down; he leant forward, leering over me.
“Not anymore.” I said through clenched teeth. “You’re with Thenes now; I’ve swapped patrol, so I’m on tomorrow with Steven. Sorry.” I smiled pleasantly and attempted to leave again but his fingers dug deeper into my arm.
“Steven?” Vincent repeated, his crooked teeth grinding together. His grip became tighter.
I felt my hair turn red, “for Merlin’s sake Vincent! Yes, Steven! Now let me go as believe it or not – some of us have work to do!” I spat loudly. Some nearby Aurors, including Jack and Thenes looked over. Their eyes narrowing as they took in the situation.
But before anyone could do anything, before Vincent could retort and before Jack could raise his wand any higher – a memo landed in my desk.
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