Tonks sat with her eyes on the menu, barely registering the meals she was asked to choose from or the voices of her friends beside her. Her hand went automatically to the cold, gold ring hung on a simple golden chain around her neck and she held it between her fingers, rolling it up and down as she stared into space.
She blinked once, then again, when a hand moved rapidly in front of her face and she looked up, dropping the ring as though it were a reflex. "What?"
Hermione Weasley chuckled lightly, pushing her dark, though slightly tamer, hair back behind her ear, and picked her menu back up. "Back with us, Tonks?" She nodded, smiling. "Good. Do you know what you want?"
Tonks followed Hermione's gaze to the menu on the table and remembered what it was she was supposed to be doing. She laughed awkwardly. "I'm going to have the pasta," she replied, looking around the table. "Where's Ginny?"
"You will not believe how rude that witch of a woman actually is," snapped the woman in question. Ginny Potter threw her bag onto the table and dropped into her seat harshly, Tonks wanted to wince for her. "I ask her politely if she'd step to the side so I can get past and she gives me a snotty look and tells me to wait!"
"How terrible," Hermione mock gasped; though she agreed with the woman's thoughts, she couldn't help but want to laugh at her overdramatic tone. Neither could Tonks.
Ginny continued to glare in the woman's direction, her gaze following her to the table. "I just can't believe -" Something new caught her attention, both friends noticed, and she followed that instead. "New topic," she murmured and pointed Hermione in the right direction.
"Turn around, Tonks," Hermione said quietly, as though what they were looking at was a most valuable secret and no one else could hear.
"Because Tall, Dark and Delicious is staring at you," Ginny all but hissed so not to attract his attention when she realized he was coming their way.
She sat up straight and grinned at him as he placed their drinks on the table. "Two butterbeers," he glanced at Hermione and Ginny, who both nodded, then his attention went back to Tonks. "And a pumpkin juice for you, beautiful."
Tonks accepted both her drink and his compliment with a wide smile and a thank you and, just for him, watched him leave, earning a wink from him when he noticed. Then she turned around and rolled her eyes. "Not my type."
Tonks ignored their remarks about her lack of a type and that she should get back out there. She was grateful that they didn't quite say it that way, they'd been there through the whole ordeal after Remus' death; they'd seen what she was like even around him before they had gotten married (though, she had been told Harry had thought it was Sirius she was upset about). They weren't forcibly pushing her to move on... Just giving her a nod in the right direction.
She just wasn't listening. Tonks was fine with just her, Teddy and their family; she didn't want to complicate her life by having a man in it. Or Teddy's life. He didn't want a man in their life either.
Their remarks continued until they were half way though lunch, then changed to trivial things when they realized their efforts were wasted. They didn't stay for dessert and split the bill between them. They wondered around Diagon Alley together, browsing.
"I'm going to get a new book from the store, either of you coming?" Hermione asked.
Ginny shook her head. "I'm going to the Quidditch store, James is getting worse than Harry is but at least it keeps him quiet when I'm working. What about you, Tonks?"
Tonks glanced between them. "I'm just going to walk around town. Meet you at the wall in fifteen minutes?" They all nodded in confirmation and went their separate ways. "I mean it Mione; fifteen minutes!" Tonks called, giggling when Hermione waved her hand in a 'whatever' gesture.
Tonks wasn't interested in buying anything, she took a look through the windows of each shop she past as she made her way to the wall that would take them to the Leaky Cauldron, but made no effort to go inside. But she wasn't looking were she was going and tripped over what appeared to be nothing, crashing into the person in front of her.
"I am so sorry," she said. "I didn't see."
She heard him chuckle and looked up. His bright hazel eyes stared back, a curious expression on his face, and he loosened his grip from around her waist. "It's alright. Do I...?" He pointed at her. "Tonks, right? Dora Tonks?"
"Yeah," she replied slowly, confused.
"I knew it. You don't remember me, do you?" Tonks just stood there, her mouth hanging open slightly; she didn't want to shake her head at someone she was obviously meant to know. "It's Dylan, Dylan Roberts. I was in Hufflepuff. You helped me with my Transfiguration for NEWTs."
It all came back to her and she wasn't surprised for not recognizing him; he'd changed a lot since they had last seen each other. "Yes, Dylan. I remember you. Were you in my year?"
Dylan shook his head. "Year below."
"Oh. Now I feel kind of old. Thank you for that," she answered, laughing slightly. They continued their walk, both going to the same place. "So, how have you been? What have you been doing?"
"Well, I'm a lawyer; criminal law," he told her. "I moved away, I got a job in Australia after law school, so I wasn't here through... Everything," he muttered the last part, not really wanting to bring it up, Tonks was glad. "I read up on it, though. Now I'm back home."
"What brought you back?"
"Work," Dylan replied. "I heard there was a job opening and I called to apply. Turned out they wanted to ask me anyway, so a win/win I say. I got back a couple of weeks ago."
"Weeks?" Tonks asked, surprised. "You've been in England, in MLE at the Ministry, for a couple of weeks and I've only just seen you today? Why didn't you come down and say hi?"
Dylan laughed, a little embarrassed. "I didn't think you'd remember me. Besides, the job is a replacement for someone who's retiring and he doesn't officially retire until Monday; I've been watching him work, learning his current cases and he has quite a few of them, he's that good, though he made sure all his big cases were sorted before he leaves. I've been busy."
"Wow. You must be really good if your replacing someone with a reputation like that. You usually have to work your way up."
Dylan shrugged sheepishly. "Thanks. What about you?"
"Auror," she said. "Mainly small criminals; thieves, skipping court. I only get big cases when I have to go undercover, being the only Metamorphmagus."
"Sounds cool," he said. "And family?"
"Don't laugh, but I'm stilling living with my mum. Not for long," she told him quickly. "I'm looking for our own place. I just didn't want to leave her after my dad died and I kind of needed her to help me look after my son."
"Son? So your married?"
She shook her head slowly. "Not anymore. He died," Tonks explained before he could jump to conclusions or get the wrong idea. "During the war, like my dad."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Dylan said softly. They stopped at the wall and he rubbed the back of his neck. "I kind of feel like a jerk now." He laughed awkwardly at Tonks' puzzled expression. "My next question was if I could see you again. But it no longer feels like the right moment."
"Ah." Now Tonks understood and her eyes widened slightly in surprise; she certainly hadn't expected him to ask her out. She took in his now nervous stance and worried look, smiling softly. If the girls were with her now, they'd be jumping up and down, patting her on the back and possibly squealing in delight. But she didn't think about it. "I would love to see you again."
It was his turn to be surprised, but it disappeared quickly and he went into his pocket, pulling out a business card. "I don't know if you use a phone or a computer, but it's got my address on so you can use the floo network."
Dylan opened the wall to pass through. "You coming this way?"
"Not yet, I'm waiting for my friends."
"Then I hope I see you soon." Dylan leaned forward, giving her a brief kiss on the cheek, and left Diagon Alley.
The reality of the situation hit Tonks the moment the wall closed over; this was her first date in over ten years. "What the hell am I going to do?"
A/N: Okay... I don't know what happened but the last part of this chapter got cut off. But it's here now and I hope you enjoy. :)
You finally got to meet the man mentioned in the summary; the lovely Dylan. More about Dylan as the story progresses. :D