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Chapter 2 : Muggles and Magic
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Apparently my cover story for today was a Muggle tattooist from Camden. Honestly, my clothes weren’t that weird to go to such extreme measures to provide an explanation for them. In fact, I was offended by that because I thought I looked rather stylish. Of course Dawlish got a normal cover story. He was a local person enjoying the sun. He had even worn Bermuda shorts for the occasion, which revealed two sickly white sticks of legs. They weren't the nicest thing I had ever seen.
I was meant to be looking out for any disturbances, as Kingsley believed that some dodgy cauldron dealings might be occurring here. But with the amount of stares I had received it meant I was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. That was a hard task if I was meant to be observing people’s every movements.
The only person I was really looking for was Mundungus. I had heard him briefly mention at the Order meeting about getting a shipload of them from Poland, and that he would need to get rid of them quickly. But I thought even he would have enough sense not to deal them in a place swarming with Muggles. Though Muggles obviously weren’t magical, they still put me on edge.
I usually enjoyed Muggle company though, except for today that was. Whenever I had to spend time with John Dawlish, I could never enjoy anything. Bloody Kingsley made him be my partner. He thought it would help develop our working skills, when he knew we both detested each other. Dawlish claimed I was ‘loud’, ‘rude’ and ‘unprofessional’. Of course he had no evidence to back up those wild claims, so confrontations always ensued when we were together.
Today, it was about how I shouldn’t be buying an ice cream despite the fact I was forced to stand in the baking heat. Instead, I should be looking for suspicious people. The strangest thing I had seen all day was some old granny giving the ducks a mouldy looking sandwich. I doubted that fitted Dawlish’s ‘suspicious’ criteria.
I'd snuck off and found a bench in a shaded area, eager to escape his glares. Last time I saw him, he was standing by the edge of the boating lake. I had such a strong urge to push him in, but then I realised if I did that I would probably follow him into the water too.
“I could report you for slacking off,” a voice said behind me. I turned around ready to hurl my best insults at Dawlish, but I was surprised to find it was someone else.
“Wotcher, Kingsley. What are you doing here?" I asked bitterly. "Did you decide to come and taunt me about having to spend the day with Dawlish?”
“Now why would I come and do that? Dawlish is a delightful person, Nymphadora, you just don’t want to accept that,” Kingsley chuckled to himself. “No, I did actually have a purpose of coming here. I got a tip off from someone, and the person who was trading these cauldrons has scarpered off to Holland. We’re off the case.”
“So I spent a whole hour being gawped at by Muggles and forced to endure Dawlish’s company, for nothing?” I complained.
“Exactly, and I’m sure you’ll be a better person because of that. Oh, and there was another thing. Dumbledore’s arranged another Order meeting for next Thursday. He says that there’s been an important breakthrough, and it’s a must that we all attend.”
“I’ll make sure I’m there.” I felt oddly excited about the news of another meeting. The last one had certainly been interesting. “Does that mean I’m free to go then?”
“Well, you know there’s that massive stack of paperwork which needs to be filled… No, I’m just joking. You go and have fun, and try and not end up in St. Mungo’s by doing so,” Kingsley teased. Stupid git. He treated me like I was his younger sister far too often. Then again, I abused that right by using it to beat him up.
“Cheers, Kingsley! Make sure you let Dawlish know that you actually let me go, and that I didn’t leave on my free will. He seemed to be under the impression that I’ve been dying to get away.”
“Of course, see you later Tonks,” Kingsley called over his shoulder before strolling off in search of Dawlish.
This was perfect. I was meant to meet Bill in The Leaky Cauldron, so we could finally have a catch-up due to our attempt failing last week. I would even be early at this rate, and that was always something to be proud of.
I almost threw up when I apparated into Diagon Alley. Apparation always did that to me. I think it was thing about feeling dizzy and having your vision momentarily impaired. Plus that Chinese I ate last night had a weird smell, so that probably didn't help too much.
The crowds of people kept on getting in my way which proved to be annoying. I wanted to get there before Bill and prove to him and everyone else that I could be early for once, despite most people thinking I didn’t understand the concept of time. I entered the pub and scanned my eyes around the dark interior and spotted a flash of ginger hair by the bar. Damn, he had beaten me to it. I guess I would have to prove him wrong another day.
“Alright Tonks. I can clearly see that you’re still incapable of arriving on time.” Bill smirked.
“I am on time," I said indignantly. "We said to meet at half twelve, and I’m here at that time.”
“You might want to check your watch. It’s one already. Anyway, I have some exciting news to tell you, so let me get you a drink.”
“Fine," I grumbled, "but I’m only listening to this news because of the free drink involved in it.”
Once we had settled in a corner, and I was happily sipping on my butter beer, Bill announced excitedly, “Guess what Tonks? I managed to bag a date with a quarter Veela!”
“Haha good one Bill, did I forget to mention that the Ministry of Magic asked me to marry him?” I joked. He couldn’t be serious. No offence to Bill, but while he was good looking, I still doubted he could get a Veela to date him; even if she was only a quarter Veela. Besides, I didn’t even know there were any Veelas in England, so unless he brought one back from Egypt he must be making it up.
“Shut up Tonks, I’m not joking. You know there was that Triwizard Tournament thing on at Hogwarts last year? Well, the Beauxbatons contestant, Fleur Delacour, started working at Gringotts a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to keep the English she had learnt while she was here or something. She was saying about how bad it was, and so I offered to give her lessons. Then she goes and asks me out to dinner as a thank you.”
I remembered the Tournament, as it was covered so heavily in the press. There was that thing about Harry Potter still crying over his parents’ deaths, then Hagrid actually being a half giant. There was that boy, Cedric, I think his name was, who was killed by Voldemort at the end, and how everyone thought Harry Potter was lying about it. I bet they never anticipated all of that happening when they planned it.
“I guess it sounds pretty believable.” Trust Bill though, he always had an active love life. I guess when all the girls were getting their first boyfriends, I was blowing up toilets with Charlie and the rest of the crew. Then when I finally escaped that stage, I was just known as the tomboy and no one wanted to date me. Oh well, I was fine with being single if it had gotten to do that. “I want to meet this Fleur girl, mind, and see if she’s good enough for you.”
“I didn’t presume any less. It would be good if you could meet her though, as she doesn’t really know anyone. You may even hit it off and become best friends,” Bill laughed.
“Don’t get your hopes up Bill, I’ve never got along with those girly girls.”
“You never know Tonks. Do you want another drink?” he asked, noting my empty glass.
“Sure that would be great." I handed the glass over to him and watched him amble back towards the bar.
I drummed my fingers along to the Weird Sisters’ song which was playing in the background. That seemed to have aroused an old warlock’s attention, as he turned around and began to stare at me. Great. So Bill got to go on a date with quarter Veela, and I got an old warlock staring at me. I could even spot a wart on his chin, charming.
Luckily, Bill returned quickly and that broke the old warlock’s concentration. Bill had even brought someone else over to join in with the build-up your morale session over here.
“Look who I picked up, Tonks," Bill cried out. "Remus looked rather lonely sitting at the bar by himself, so I invited him to join us.”
I looked up and saw Remus Lupin standing there awkwardly. He was scuffing his already scuffed shoe across the floor, as if he didn’t really know what to do with himself. He did seem to be quite a shy fellow.
“Alright there Remus. Lovely weather, isn’t it?” I asked politely. My mum always told me if I didn’t know what to say, talk about the weather, because British people always have a comment available about it. I hoped that her tip would work.
“Delightful, isn’t it?” Remus said more confidently then I had expected him to be. I guess Mum was right about that.
Bill slid into the seat next to me and said, “Don’t stand there looking awkward Remus, come and sit down. What were you up to in Diagon Alley today anyway?”
Remus looked rather pleased by Bill’s request, and he sat in the seat opposite me. “I had to visit Gringotts, and then I was inquiring about whether there were any positions available at Flourish and Blotts.”
“Did you have any luck then?” I could understand his rather unkempt appearance now if he was unemployed.
“I’m afraid not.” He smiled at me. It was a nice smile. It was a smile which reached his eyes which showed that he meant it. I didn’t often see those smiles. If I did, they weren’t usually directed at me. I received glares due to knocking over people or bumping into them. Those people didn’t seem to understand that I really did try and control my clumsiness. They should be more understanding about it.
“Did you hear Bill managed to bag a date with a Veela,” I announced proudly. I didn’t get to say that about a close friend every day. I looked over at Bill and he had turned a pale pink. He wasn’t so cocky when it came to telling others then.
“Only a quarter Veela! Besides, I didn’t ask Fleur out, she asked me out. She’s a lovely person, and very clever, and she was a contestant in the Triwizard Tournament,” Bill spluttered out. What he seemed to be trying to say that he wasn’t dating her on looks alone.
Remus seemed to reflect on his words before saying them. “I heard about the Tournament, it was a terrible and tragic incident what happened to Cedric. For Harry as well, especially after what he’s already been through. It’s such a shame for a life to be lost at such a young age.”
I hadn’t expected such a melancholy turn of conversation. So I didn’t really know how to respond other than, “You know Harry Potter? That’s so cool; I’ve always wanted to meet him!” Great Tonks, you’ve just made yourself sound like a weird little fan. You always know how to keep the conversation normal.
“Hey, I know Harry! I even went to the Quidditch World Cup with him, and he’s best friends with my little brother,” Bill interjected, sounding annoyed that I had forgotten about his claim to him.
“Yeah, but Remus knew his parents too, and that is far cooler than anything else.” I stuck my tongue out at Bill as if that proved everything. Great, I looked even more like a fangirl now.
“Yes, Harry is a nice boy, and a kind one too. I’m sure you’ll have a chance to meet him at some point given the work at the Order. You could ask Sirius if you wanted to know more. He and Harry are very close,” Remus said to me.
I had sort of been avoiding Sirius, despite his offer to go and visit him. I still hadn’t broached the subject of his innocence to my parents, and I felt until I had done that it would be weird talking to him. Except Nymphadora Tonks does not do awkward conversation, especially ones where she has to make people believe a convicted mass murderer was, in fact, innocent. So it didn’t look like I was going to speak to him anytime soon.
“Hmm, I guess I could speak to him at the end of the next meeting,” I muttered noncommittally. I was supposed to visit my parents during the next few days, so I could try and bring up Sirius then. It was just going to be very hard to explain and very awkward in doing so, and I really didn’t enjoy doing those sorts of things.
There was a lull in the conversation, and I realised that my current hair colour didn’t blend very well into the dark setting of the pub. I changed it to a more fitting mahogany brown and this was received with a gasp from Remus.
“You’re a Metamorphmagus? I’ve never met one before,” he asked excitedly.
“Yep,” I replied proudly. I didn’t have that many things people admired me for, so it was nice to be recognised for this.
“Not that it’s served you much good. You and Charlie never managed to pull off that many successful pranks at Hogwarts,” Bill interjected, ruining my claim to fame.
“I would like to see you change your appearance at will," I shot back. "The failure of pranking lay to bad planning. You know my lack of concentration for those sorts of things.”
“Yeah, at least it meant I could give detentions to you two for a reason. It’s a wonder that Charlie was ever made a prefect,” Bill said dreamily, as if he was reliving the pleasure of giving us them.
“Were you a prefect, Tonks?” Remus asked.
“Haha, you’ve got to be joking! Professor Sprout said I had an almost natural need to disobey, and that I would have to learn how to behave properly first before she would even consider me.” I wasn’t too bothered about not being one. It looked like a bit of bore, wandering around corridors and telling people off.
“You clearly take after Sirius then. McGonagall said something similar to him too,” Remus chuckled and glanced down at his watch. “I must be off now. I’ve got an appointment which I shouldn’t really miss. It was nice talking to you both; see you at the next meeting.”
Remus rose and offered his hand to us. Bill stood up and shook it, and I was about to do the same, but I somehow managed to trip over the leg of my chair while attempting to stand up.
“Watch out Tonks!” Bill piped up, too late as usual.
“Are you alright, Tonks?” Remus asked more tentatively than Bill.
“I think I should be ok, I’ve had much worse happen to me. I really should get some glasses though, and then things like this might happen to me less often. It was nice talking to you though, Remus.” I shook his hand and hoped dearly that he didn’t just view me as some clumsy girl, who had a sort of obsession with Harry Potter and was generally very strange.
“That might be a good idea,” Remus replied affably. “I’d best be off then.”
I watched him walk towards the door, open it, and quickly walk out of it. I was quite glad that Bill dragged him over here because I wouldn't mind speaking to him again.
Author's Note: Hello everyone! So you got to learn a bit more about Tonks’ work, and her hate for Dawlish. Then meeting up with Bill, and bumping into Remus, it was quite an eventful morning overall. If you want to learn more about Bill and Fleur, I have a one-shot based on their first meeting called La Deuxieme Rencontre, so it would be awesome if you checked it out!
To non-Brits, Camden is a really cool area of London though it does contain some rather wacky people :P
I would love to hear your thoughts about the story so far, as I really enjoyed reading them last time, so it would be wonderful if you left a review! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter :)
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