Chapter 5 : Dinner Dates
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There was a loud bang, and the next thing I knew the blind and the bits of plaster from the wall around it landed on top of my head. “Crap!” I yelled out in shock. That plaster really did hurt, I noted as a stinging sensation crept up to my head. I could sense several bruises appearing from this event. At least I had resolved my initial problem of not being able to open the window, and I could go and let the owl in, albeit being covered with black and blue blemishes.
I gingerly lifted the blind off of my head and could hear the plaster tumble down to the ground as I shook it off. Thank Merlin for magic, if I was a Muggle the mess stood no chance of being cleared away. Dad had shown me what a vacuum cleaner was once, and it looked positively strange. I could just wave my wand and everything should hopefully be fine again.
I got up from my bed, hoping dearly that this time it wouldn’t result in destruction, as the owl’s tapping grew significantly louder. I was no owl expert or anything, but I reckoned it was getting pretty annoyed now and that was its way of showing it. I opened the window and it swooped in, collapsing on my bedside table. Its grand entrance meant the various bits of clutter which had begun to build up on it were splayed across my floor and added further to the mess. Great.
The owl appeared to be unconscious when I headed over to it, and my suspicions were confirmed when it didn’t show any reaction to being touched. I pulled the letter off of its leg, and it remained in an immobile state, its heart didn't even seem to be beating. What if it had just died? Did you bury an owl? I shrugged off my worries; I could take it to St. Mungo’s if it didn’t recover in a few minutes. I unrolled the piece of parchment and smiled when I recognised the handwriting.
You know you mentioned you wanted to meet Fleur? Well, she wants to meet you too, and we thought next Saturday would be a great time to meet up. If you’re free let me know, and if you’re not, we can arrange another day. Sorry about the owl, I spent the night with my mum and dad, and Errol isn’t the best of birds. He probably needs an hour or two to recover and then he should be alright. I’ll hopefully see you soon,
Phew the owl was ok. I quickly checked my mental calendar, and I thought I was free that day. I hoped I was. I didn’t really know what to expect from Fleur, as my only knowledge was from the Prophet’s articles on her which should be taken with a pinch of salt, so I was intrigued to see what could've made Bill so attached to her.
Fortunately my clock managed to survive the storm caused by Errol, and I could check the time. Crap it was already eight. It was a good thing he arrived; oversleeping wouldn’t have done me much good. Especially as Kingsley came back from his conference in Munich a couple of days ago and Dawlish was trying to grass me up on any tiny errors I made. I always knew he was an idiot.
I quickly waved my wand and the plaster and blind reattached themselves to the wall, albeit wonkily. I didn’t have time to fix the rest of the mess, as I was meant to be work at half past so I hurried out of the room and tried to make myself look as presentable as possible.
Times like these were when I realised how great it was to be a Metamorphmagus. There was no need to faff around with hair brushes and making sure I didn’t have any spots on my face. To be fair, I wouldn’t check even if I wasn’t a Metamorphmagus; that kind of stuff didn’t bother me too much.
I ran out of the fireplace in the Atrium and hurried over to the lifts. I had about a minute to get to the Auror department on level two and the likelihood of that happening was currently very low. The morning rush hour had taken over, and everyone and everything wanted to get in my way.
“The Daily Prophet is fresh off the press and available for the superb value of one knut,” a boy who looked as if he was just out of Hogwarts yelled at me. I glanced at the headline and turned away in disgust when I saw it was the usual Dumbledore and Harry hating stuff. I tended to avoid the Prophet ever since it started printing that rubbish. I pushed past him and managed to hurry into a nearly full lift. Well, that was my daily exercise taken care of.
“Hello Tonks,” a familiar voice said in my ear.
Turning around, I accidently bumped into several people earning frowns from them. “Wotcher Arthur.” I grinned at him. “How’s Molly?”
“She’s fine thank you.” He still managed to reply despite several Ministry memos flying in front of his face. “We just had another letter about Fred and George misbehaving and that upset her a little, but that’s to be expected from those two.”
Now, whether to praise them for keeping up the trouble making streak or have to be a boring old adult who tuts at their behaviour. In the end I decided to stick with not mentioning it, as the lift had reached level two. “I’ve got to run ahead Arthur. I’m late. I’ll see you soon,” I shouted over my shoulder, attracting the stares of the other witches and wizards in the lift. Honestly, shouting wasn’t that strange. I heard him mutter a reply over the ruckus while I ran into the Auror department.
Hurrying down the corridor, I nearly ran into a small gathering of Aurors by a large office. I managed to stop myself just in time to see Kingsley, Rufus Scrimgeour and Gawain Robards talking in a cluster. Crap. Scrimgeour was the head of the department, and Robards and Kingsley were just below him. They weren’t going to appreciate my lateness at all.
I would have possibly gotten away if my feet hadn’t squeaked as I skidded to a halt. Scrimgeour was the first to look up, and he didn’t seem to be impressed in the slightest.
“Nymphadora Tonks, isn’t it?” he asked, but carried on speaking before waiting for a reply. “Being late is not tolerated here, Nymphadora. Do you understand?” He then gave me a patronising nod. I always thought he was a bit of git, but now my assumption was being proved correct.
“Yes,” I replied with a frown. That should teach him for having a go at me. I saw Amina standing by my cubicle waving at me, and I was about to head over to her and have a little chat before Scrimgeour stopped me again.
“Tonks, you are related to the notorious criminal Sirius Black, are you not?” Scrimgeour asked, after having a furtive look down the corridor. Shit. Where on earth was this going? It wasn’t even a crap worthy moment, I had to bring out full on swear words. Though many people may think I wasn’t the politest of people, I really didn’t like swearing all that much.
Ok Tonks go with the vague answers that should confuse him. Wait, was I talking to myself again? I really was going to be committed to St. Mungo’s any day now, whether it be for a physical injury or a mental one. “Er, yeah I think so. He’s my mum’s cousin or something like that. Why?”
Kingsley gave me a look as if to say ‘why on earth are you questioning him? Shut up now, Tonks.’ I never really know when to shut up though. I think that was why everyone was, and still was, amazed I had managed to become an Auror.
Scrimgeour gave me a similar look before replying. “We are trying to garner as much information as possible; that is all. You should know, if you are not part of this mission, you do not ask any questions about the said mission. Put her on filing duty for today, Shacklebolt. That is two misdeeds she has performed in less than ten minutes.” He gave a nod at Kingsley and Robards before heading off down the corridor.
Great. This sounded almost as bad as last year when Mum and Dad made me go on trick-or-treat duty at their house for Halloween, and I had to talk to five year olds. Oh the horror of that, one of them was nearly sick on my feet as well. Luckily I gave them a little push towards the flower beds just before they heaved everything up.
“I’ll see you later, Kingsley.” Robards gave me a brief smile and nodded at Kingsley before heading off. I always liked Robards; he was one of the rare people in the world who smiled at everyone. I would never have the patience to do that. That, and he was Welsh. In my opinion, Welsh accents were the best ones in the world.
“Sorry about this, Tonks.” Kingsley gave me an apologetic look. “Perhaps it will teach you not to deliberately piss your boss off.”
“I didn’t deliberately ‘piss my boss off’. I was just asking a question. We live in a free society, do we not?” Haha, take that Kingsley. That was rare moment of me being able to give a great comeback. Ok it wasn’t too great, but it was an improvement on some of mine.
“Yes, we do, Tonks. But unless you want to get fired, I’d advise you to refrain from doing that in the future.” Kingsley smirked at me. If he wasn’t careful I would start referring to him as ‘git’ too. “There’s a pile of papers on my desk which need to be filed.”
I scowled at him to show my annoyance and stormed off. I caught a glance of myself in the glass walls of an office and was surprised to find that my hair was now a burning red. I hated it when it changed on its own accord. Apparently it was quite a common thing to happen to a Metamorphmagus when they experienced strong emotions.
The font on these files was so miniscule I wouldn’t be surprised if I needed glasses due to straining my eyes so much. The Auror office had slowly become emptier and emptier. Even Amina didn’t want to stay and chat, claiming she had a date with some muggle city worker who was taking her out for champagne and oysters at The Ivy. It was lucky for some.
Due to having nothing planned tonight and having nothing available in my fridge other than a bit of mouldy cheese, I had invited myself over to number twelve Grimmauld Place for the evening. Sirius did say I was welcome to visit whenever I wanted to, so I wasn’t being rude or anything. He replied to my owl within half an hour so he seemed pretty eager too.
As Kingsley was in charge of the hunt for Sirius, I was forced to spend the day staring at pictures of my sort of cousin. There was a nice one of him from what looked like Harry’s christening. It was odd to find him looking happy and young. Not being mean or anything, but Azkaban had clearly taken away some of his looks and now he looked kind of pale and wasted.
Heaving the last lot of files into the correct cabinet, I let out a sigh of relief. I really hoped that Sirius was a good cook as I was starving. Working really did wear me down. I found my cloak wedged into a corner where I had thrown it in a moment of frustration. I managed to successfully retrieve and gathered my other stuff and I was ready to go. The sooner I was out of here the better.
I wasn’t strictly allowed to directly apparate from here. There were appointed apparation zones in the Ministry, but considering there was literally no one here, I might as well risk it. I really couldn’t be bothered to hike back up the Atrium. I thought of the three D’s, that old Twycross always banged on about in the apparation lessons and the unfortunately familiar sucking sensation enveloped me.
Within a few seconds, it was over and I got the joy of viewing Grimmauld Place in semi-darkness. I could see some suspicious looking Muggle youth gathered around the corner of the square with their hoods up. I remember seeing a Neighbourhood Watch sticker from one of my previous visits here, so it would be interesting to see how quickly the residents reacted to their presence.
A cat meowed away near to me, and fortunately it was light enough to make out its tabby coloured fur. I always had a fondness for cats, but Dad was allergic to them so I was never allowed one. “Hear, kitty, come and see Tonks.” The cat ignored me and began to lick its fur. Perhaps if I changed my hair to a tabby coloured shade it would come towards me.
I edged a little nearer to it with my new coloured hair and it worked. The cat seemed to trust me and let me pet it. “Aren’t you a good cat? If I had a cat I would want one like you,” I whispered to it. I was even going to attempt to pick it up when a voice called out to me.
“Is that you, Tonks?” I span round, nearly kicking the poor cat in the process, and smiled when I saw it was Remus Lupin. Was it me or did he always appear when I was doing something stupid? Or perhaps it was because I always did stupid things. Yeah, the last one sounded more believable.
“Yeah, it is,” I replied cheerily. “What are you doing here? Sirius never mentioned you coming too when I owled him earlier.”
“He’s kindly letting me stay here until I find my own place to live. He probably forgot to mention it. I hope you don’t mind me being here too.” Remus turned a little red at that point. The poor man. He really did have some insecurity issues if he thought I would mind this.
“Why would I? The more the merrier, as my dad always says. We should probably go in; I don’t want to live up to my reputation of always being late.” I gave the cat one finally stroke and headed up the stairs. As I walked into the street lamp’s beam of light, I could hear Remus let out a little chuckle. Hmm, I wondered what he was laughing at.
I walked up the stairs to the house at a considerably slower pace than usual. I battered enough from the injury this morning, and I didn’t want to add any more bruises to my collection anytime soon. I gave a quick knock on the door, and Sirius opened it almost as soon as I lifted my knuckle away from it. Either he had lightning speed reflexes or he spent his spare time standing outside the front door waiting for visitors. I strongly hoped it was the former.
“Er, you’ve got very interesting hair today, Tonks,” Sirius joked. He then sniffed at the air. “Is that cat I can smell? You better not better bring any of that vermin into my house.”
“I may have just finished stroking a cat and made my hair mimic its fur,” I replied sheepishly. “And no, I did not bring ‘vermin’ into your house; I was nice and left it outside, if that’s what you mean.” I quickly changed my hair to a more subtle shade of bubble-gum pink. Hopefully that would attract nicer comments.
“It was quite a nice cat, Sirius,” Remus reasoned, earning a frown from him.
“It’s because of you I’ve developed a hatred of them, so please don’t encourage Tonks’ cat loving ways,” Sirius said grimly. Why on earth would Remus cause Sirius to hate cats? Maybe Remus pulled a prank on Sirius which involved cats. That sounded like a sort of likely option. “Are you two just going to stand on the doorstep like idiots, or are you going to come in?”
He said that rather sharply, so I immediately walked into the house and followed him into the hallway. Let’s hope this evening wasn’t going to be anger provoking as that conversation
It was a rather enjoyable evening as it was nice to talk to Remus. Sirius ruined it a little by remaining in a bad mood for some unknown reason. I was kind of glad that the showing me to the door duties were left to Remus, due to Sirius having to deal with a Hippogriff emergency. I didn’t think I could take any more of his moodiness.
“So have you got any plans for this weekend, Tonks?” Remus asked while we walked to the front door. I carefully kept my eyes down when we passed the house elf heads; they freaked me out way too much.
“Yes, actually. I have a dinner date which should be fun.” I deliberately didn’t mention I was tagging along on a couple’s date. That would sound sad. Then again, I did have a sad existence at times. I didn’t think many people would change the colour of their hair to match a cat’s fur.
Remus’ face fell a little before replying. “Oh, so who’s the lucky man? He had better be nice to you otherwise he’ll have me to answer to.”
I eyed Remus up not sure whether he was joking or not. It wasn’t that he was a weedy man; he just wasn’t particularly strong looking either. I doubted he could take on Bill who had faced Egyptian tombs. Wait. I wasn’t even going on a date with Bill; I was just meeting up for dinner. I really should stop with all this wondering and actually answer the question.
“Haha, I’m just tagging along on Bill and Fleur’s date. Bill wants me to meet her as she doesn’t have that many friends here, and I thought it would be fun.”
“Fleur does seem to be a nice girl,” Remus replied, considerably more cheerily. “I hope you have a nice time, Tonks.” We had reached the front door and we were now standing there awkwardly. Actually, it wasn’t awkward until I said it was. Why did I constantly have to put myself in these situations?
“I had a nice night tonight, Remus. Thank you and thank Sirius for me too.” Ooh, look at me. I managed a grown up and civilised response for once. Perhaps there was a chance I would one day mature.
“I’ll make sure of it, see you around, Tonks.” Remus grinned at me. I take back the thing about him being insecure. He was turning into one of those people that are so nice I feel bad about being mean to.
“See you,” I called over shoulder and thought of my three D’s. Even if Twycross had annoyed me, it did mean I usually got to my destination.
A/N: Hello there dearies, I hoped you liked this chapter. Who's excited about meeting Fleur? I'm sorry about the lack of Remus scenes, but in about two chapters there will be something big! The one hint I'll give is that it's something to do with Christmas! Thank you for reading and if you really want to be awesome you could leave a review as I love every single one I receive ♥
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