Chapter 3 : Morris Dancing, Moody and Mundungus
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Mum and Dad thought it would be a nice place to bring up children, but having a child as conspicuous as me probably meant they changed their mind about it being a good place to bring up children. I apparated into their back garden, hoping no one would see me do it. They lived on the edge of the village, so there shouldn’t be any passers-by observing the strange occurrence.
Then again, they did do Morris dancing here, and that was pretty strange. Seeing grown men dance around with bells around their ankles and wielding swords was possibly weirder than me appearing out of thin air. I had always wanted to try Morris dancing, but Mum thought it was safety risk letting me hold a sword. She said there was an extremely high chance of me falling over and impaling myself with it, and that was that.
The weather had drastically changed over the past few days. The brief summer spell had long since disappeared and heavy grey clouds had replaced the sun. My parents’ garden had turned into a potential death trap for me, and I was trying my best to shuffle up the lawn which had been submerged in several inches of water.
“Dora, aren’t you going to say hello to your old dad then?”
I turned around so fast, that I lost my balance on the slippery ground and ended up falling over. I heard some footsteps hurry towards me, and I was greeted by Dad offering his hand to me.
“I can see that your balance still hasn’t improved then,” he teased.
“Shut it, Dad. You don’t know how embarrassing it is to visit the Apothecary and ask for more bruise healing potion," I grumbled. "They must think I’m some violent person who can’t help but get into fights.”
“Alright, but don’t mention it to your mum, you know how she can worry,” Dad said.
“Yeah I know. I remember when I forgot to send her an owl once in first year, and I got a howler instead,” I replied grimly. Even reliving that experience was horrible.
“Nymphadora, is that you?” Mum emerged from the kitchen just in time to see me wiping the mud off my robes. “Have you gone and fallen over again? Honestly, you’re an adult now, not a five year old. Anyway, do you want a cup of tea? The water’s just boiled, and it’s jolly well freezing out here, so a warm drink would do you good.”
“Sorry Mum. Dad distracted me, and I couldn’t help but fall,” I apologised to her. “A cup of tea would be lovely though.”
As Mum headed back into the kitchen to sort the tea out, Dad shot me a conspiratorial wink and followed her into the kitchen. Going home never changed, I thought happily, as I trundled into the house.
We gathered around the fireplace in the sitting room, and Mum brought out a packet of digestives and began proffering them around. They were some odd Muggle biscuit that Dad had introduced to Mum, and she promptly became addicted to them after eating her first.
“So how’s work then Nymphadora? You have dreadful bags under your eyes; they’re not making you work too hard, are they?” I glared at Mum at the mention of Nymphadora. She never learned. I told her to tone down her worrying too.
“It’s fine. Nothing interesting has really happened…” I paused sensing this would be a good time to bring up the Order.
“But?” Mum cut in, impatient to get to the details.
“I’ve joined this secret group. I don’t know whether you know it, but it’s called The Order of the Phoenix.” I waited to see if there was going to be any reaction, but there was none so I simply carried on. “The main aim of the Order is to fight Voldemort and all of his cronies. We’re not doing anything major now, so there’s nothing to worry about Mum. We’re recruiting new members and doing simple surveillance work. Easy stuff really.”
Mum and Dad sat there in silence, both looking down at the coffee table. I didn’t really know what to do, so I began chipping off the red nail varnish I had put on the day before. I didn’t expect them to be so shocked, and this wasn’t even the proper bombshell. I was beginning to wonder whether mentioning Sirius really would be a good idea, or whether I should wait another day and see if they were more open to shocking news then.
Suddenly, Mum broke the silence. “That’s great new Tonks. Someone needs to stand up to the Ministry and people like my sister. You must promise me that you won’t purposefully land yourself in dangerous situations, as I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.”
Oh God. I didn’t know whether to be pleased or not. At least she hadn't brought out the shouting and forbade me from joining it. I mean, she actually said it was great, but the protective Mum was so annoying as she was such a neurotic.
“Of course Mum, you know I wouldn’t do that to you,” I replied jovially. I did try to avoid danger, it was just my coordination skills seemed to land me in it most of the time.
“I’m proud of you Dora. I would join myself if it wasn’t for my dodgy hip,” Dad piped up. I glanced over to him and I swore I could see tears glistening in his eyes. Gosh, this was an odd feeling having my parents be proud of me. “I’d better go and crack open the champagne.”
“Wait. There’s one more thing,” I interjected. Here it goes Tonks. Now or never. Well, it wasn’t really never as I could tell them another time, like next week perhaps. That sounded better. No, I had to do it now. Damn, now they were both giving me strange looks for not continuing my sentence, I’d best say it now then. “Sirius Black is innocent. He’s a member of the Order too. It’s his house, twelve Grimmauld Place, which acts as the headquarters.”
There were both silent again. Mum’s face was agog and Dad’s fists were clenched. I decided to continue my inane rambling in the hope it would stun them out of their stupor.
“Well, the thing is, it turned out it was actually Peter Pettigrew who betrayed them. But he framed Sirius, faked his own death and ran away. Of course everyone thought Sirius was the culprit, and you know what Barty Crouch was like, so he never got to have his say and was just banished to Azkaban. Then you know how he escaped.” Merlin, that was an awful explanation. Hopefully they would be able to get the gist of it.
“Is this true, Nymphadora?” We were back to using full names; it must be serious.
“Of course it’s true. I wouldn’t make something as extreme as this up.”
“Excuse me, I need to go and just think things through,” Mum muttered quickly, before sweeping out of the room. It probably was best to bring this up before bringing the champagne out then.
“It’s not your fault Dora,” Dad said, noticing my confused expression. “It’s just hard for her, as Sirius was the only one she trusted and liked. For that to be taken away from her, she began to hate him, so just imagine how she’s feeling now. I’d best go after her.”
Dad quickly followed her out of the room, and I was left by myself. I guess it could have gone worse, I mused, at least there was no screaming and shouting. I noticed that the digestives had been left uneaten; well, it would be a shame to let them go to waste.
The rest of the visit was fairly awkward with Mum not really speaking and being immersed in her thoughts most of the time. It was left to me and Dad to have a stunted conversation during dinner. Hopefully this Order meeting wouldn’t be as bad, I thought, while pounding the pavement of Grimmauld Place the following Thursday.
I was determined not to make a fool of myself in front of Remus. I had managed to embarrass myself in front of him on all of the other occasions, so I was dearly hoping this time would be different. Ringing the doorbell, it was answered a few minutes by a very flustered looking Molly Weasley.
“Hello there, Tonks. If you could try and not use the doorbell in the future that would be wonderful, as it sets Mrs Black’s portrait off,” Molly said, while sweeping some hair out of her eyes.
“Of course, Molly. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine dear. It’s just incredibly stressful with all the Order business, trying to clean the house and making sure none of the children get into trouble,” she replied wearily as she opened the door to the hallway.
There was a sudden bang, and I felt water drench me. What on earth was that? And who on earth did it? I looked down on the floor and saw a bucket with water rolling out of it. Aha. It was a well-known Muggle prank. Dad had taught me it, when you balanced a bucket of water on top of the door, and it attacked an unsuspecting victim. I was rather impressed that they managed to pull it off, as I had never been able to do it. Molly didn’t seem any way near as impressed though.
“Fred, George get down here immediately or you'll both be in a big trouble,” she bellowed loudly. It was so loud that a serpent figurine on a shelf nearby began to shake.
A loud pop announced the arrival of a gangly pair of ginger twins.
“Mother! How are you on this fine day?” This was Fred’s attempt at charming his mother? Frankly, it was terrible. “And Tonks, long time no see!”
“I didn’t realise it had been raining. Is it really that bad out there?” George asked me seriously. I was trying to hold back my laughter, as I knew Molly wouldn’t appreciate it in the slightest.
“You two, quiet at once. Do not think you will get away with this. I will be having words with your father during the meeting. I may even mention it to Professor Dumbledore if I see an opportunity arise,” Molly threatened them. “Tonks, just go through. There’s no need to stay.”
I was glad that I could make an escape, as I hated being in situations like that. I ended up sauntering into the kitchen with water dripping from my hair onto the floor.
“What on earth happened to you, Tonks? Did you happen to catch the only grey cloud in London?” Sirius accosted me with questions as soon as I walked in. “Oi, Remus. Doesn’t Tonks look like Caradoc Dearborn after that time when we dumped him in the lake?”
Crap. Why did he have to draw Remus’ attention to this? I could have just cast a drying spell on my hair and forgot all about it. But no, Remus was going to think I was just a walking disaster.
“It’s a very fetching look Tonks,” Remus chuckled while strolling over to us. “How did you end up drenched?”
“Fred and George’s stupid prank. At least Molly’s dealing with them now, so they should face harsh repercussions.” I laughed a little too darkly and it drew a strange look from Sirius. Fortunately, Mundungus Fletcher strode into the room, caught sight of Sirius and headed over to us.
“Alright Sirius. Sorry ‘bout those cauldrons. I was ‘bout to get caught, so I had to ditch ‘em and scarper otherwise I’d be in the nick. Should be another shipload soon,” Mundungus muttered quietly. He hadn’t seemed to have noticed me then.
“You bloody well should be sorry. I had to spend a whole hour with John bloody Dawlish in Regent’s Park looking for you, and then to find out you’d run off to Holland. Don’t be apologising to Sirius, be apologising to me,” I burst out.
Remus and Sirius chuckled at my heated outburst, and Mundungus didn’t seem fazed at all. I would have to work on being scarier then.
“Blimey Tonks, you sound like my old mum, and that ain't sumfink you wanna sound like. I’ll be less ‘spicuous next time Tonks, dontcha worry.” Mundungus winked at me. I should report him to Kingsley, but as he wasn’t here yet, I might just give him the slip.
I was trying to think of a great comeback, but Dumbledore and Kingsley strode into the room before I could reply.
“Hello everyone. It’s wonderful that you could all make it to this meeting, if you could all be seated so we could start this meeting promptly,” Dumbledore announced.
I shuffled behind the others and ended up next to Remus and the woman who wore the carpet slippers. I think her name was Arabella Figg. Molly rushed into the room looking even more flustered once we were all seated. Unfortunately for her, the only free seat was next to Snape who was sitting alone. I guess everyone’s feelings towards him were mutual.
“We have some important topics we need to discuss today. I have managed to gain some excellent information about Voldemort’s current aims. It appears he is looking for a weapon in the Department of Mysteries. I do not know what it is or what it does. But it is very powerful and dangerous, so we must keep it safe before he can grasp it. Hopefully we will be able to have someone guarding it all the time and I will be grateful for anyone who does so.” Dumbledore paused for a minute to shoot us a twinkly grin. He really did have a way of persuading us do things.
“Secondly, as some of you may know Harry Potter is currently very exposed to Voldemort’s forces by being at his aunt and uncle’s, so we must remove him from there as soon as possible. However, we will require a minimum of five people to do this.” Dumbledore was promptly cut off by a surly Moody who was even more hidden than Snape. I would have gone and said hello if I knew he was there.
“Albus, don’t be so lenient, five will not do. Constant Vigilance is a must, and this is the boy who lived. I recommend around ten, and they must be experienced.” Mad-Eye shot of look of disdain towards Mundungus.
“I’ll do it,” I piped up excitedly. I managed to make the whole room look at me. Crap. And it had to be on a day when my hair was looking awful.
“Thank you for your enthusiasm, Nymphadora. I am sure your training and skill as an Auror will be highly beneficial to the mission.” Dumbledore smiled at me. At least he didn’t seemed bothered by my outburst, unlike Snape who was scowling in the corner and Bill who seemed to think the entire situation was incredibly hilarious.
“I’ll go too. Harry knows me, so it will be nice for him to have someone he recognises,” Remus said proudly and gave me a conspiratorial wink. At least there would be someone nice going who could help counteract Moody’s insane personality.
“There you go Alastor, I’m sure you won’t be short of volunteers,” Dumbledore chimed in. “Again, this is only a short meeting as there isn’t much to discuss at this moment in time, so you may leave.”
I was almost tempted to mention the thing Dung said to Kingsley, but he was in another serious looking conversation with McGonagall, Dumbledore and Mad-Eye. I decided I would rather hang out with the more fun people such as Bill, Remus and Sirius. Well, Sirius was usually fun but he seemed to be in a foul mood right now. He looked as if he wanted to punch someone.
“I see you were a victim of the twins' prank then Tonks?” Bill asked cheerily. “Oh I forgot to say, don’t mention Fleur around my mum. It’s still earlier days yet and if she finds out, she’ll be begging to meet her.”
“Didn’t you want to go and boast to mummy that you managed to get a date with a Veela then?” I was glad I could get a dig at Bill. It was revenge for him laughing at me. “I will do though. Are you excited for the rescue mission, Remus?” I asked in attempt to draw him and Sirius into the conversation as they were both looking blankly at the table.
“It should be fun, and it will be nice to see Harry again. I can’t imagine Moody being a nice person to lead us though.”
“Yeah, he is a slave driver. You should have seen him during training; he would make us swim in water which was minus ten degrees. It apparently strengthened our character.” I still hadn’t forgiven him for that incident, and I didn’t think I ever would.
Sirius perked up at this point and decided to join in the conversation. “How do you think I feel? I had to do that for hundreds of miles!”
“I suppose, but you didn’t have Mad-Eye throwing tickling jinxes at you if you dared stop,” I replied. My reply must have been louder than I realised, as it caught Mad-Eye’s attention.
“Is that you complaining, Nymphadora? I still have the power to make you do it again, and don’t think I’m too afraid to use it. You will be swimming to the Arctic before you can say ‘nox’.” He had a sadistic look on his face, almost as if he was reveling in the pain he could inflict upon me. He had evidently become more twisted with age.
“I’ll take that as my cue to leave. I have yet another report to write, and I’d best it get done before Kingsley gets his knickers in a twist. See you soon guys.” I stood up and made my way over to the door, when I heard another chair scrape on the floor and footsteps follow.
“Er, Tonks, sorry if this sounds a bit forward, but did you have a chance to talk to your mum about Sirius? As he’s really down at the moment, and I’m sure a visit from her will cheer him up,” Remus asked gingerly.
“I did…” I paused not really knowing how to describe her reaction. “I think she still needs time to get her head around the fact he’s innocent before she sees him.”
“Oh, ok.” Remus’ voice fell a little. “I can understand as I was shocked when I found out the truth, I think anyone would be. I had better not keeping you waiting, Tonks. See you soon.”
“See you,” I replied cheerily before continuing on my way. Wow. My first assumptions of Remus being some sort of quiet, boring fellow were changing. He was actually a rather good laugh, and he was a good friend to Sirius too.
Author Note: Hello again! I hoped you liked the meeting the parents part it was a lot of fun to write. For you Downton Abbey fans out there, they filmed some of the exterior shots in Bampton which is a real town. Morris dancing is also real, and recommend watching some videos of it, as it is funny!
How did you like the twins prank? They won’t feature much, but will pop up now and then. How did you like Moody and Mundungus’ cameos? They were so much fun to write, so they should appear more:D
As always I will shower you in cookies if you leave a review, as they really do make my day! Thanks for reading :’)
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