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Chapter 7 : The Festive Feel
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“A werewolf.” Remus’ voice was a lot shakier now, and his eyes looked down at the ground. “Look Tonks, I completely understand if you don’t want to talk to me or whatever. I knew I had to tell you, and I respect your decision no matter what.”
Honestly, what was with all the doom and gloom? People didn’t immediately run away screaming when they found out how weird I was. Well, actually there was this incident when I made myself look like a banshee for a laugh. That scared a few people off. Apparently one person was admitted to St Mungo’s for being so terrified, but that was beside the point. What I meant to tell myself, yes I now recognised the fact I talked to myself a lot, was that I wasn’t going to do that to Remus.
“Cool,” I said, trying to sound as nonplussed as possible. I didn’t bother attempting a smirk. Whenever I did that it looked as if my face had lost control of itself.
“Cool? Is that all you’ve got to say?” Remus ran his hands threw his hair. Honestly, if he carried on like that he would end up bald. “I’m a werewolf, Tonks!”
“Would you rather I ran around screaming, then?” I asked. “I can if you want me to. Though I might end up falling over, and you would have to buy me a drink if I did. I’ll do it to put your mind at rest.”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just I’ve never had someone react like that before.” He ginned at me. “You’re quite remarkable you know, Tonks.”
“You could just say different or strange if you wanted to. I’ve heard it enough by now not to particularly care if you did.”
“No, remarkable is different in a good way. Listen Tonks, I honestly can’t tell you how much hearing that means to me. I don’t often get a reaction like that.”
“It’s no problem; I’m used to being treated weirdly, so I wouldn’t want you to go through the same thing.”
Remus stood there grinning like an idiot, and I almost wanted to laugh at him due to how ridiculous he looked, but given how much this must mean to him I had to hold it back.
“Look, I’ve got to go. I have an appointment with Dumbledore now, but I’ll see you soon.”
“Yeah, see you soon.” I gave his departing figure a little wave and he soon disappeared with pop. I was about to copy him and make my own departure back to Flourish and Blott's, as I still hadn’t got Amina a present when someone called out to me.
“Oi, Tonks. Whatcha doing down ‘ere? I didn’t fink someone like you would be ‘ere.”
“I was just talking to Remus, that’s all. Have you been staying out of trouble then, Dung?”
“Course I ‘ave. Gotta stay out of the nick, so I’m sticking to the simple fings. Pinching stuff ‘ere and there.” Dung looked at my annoyed face and began laughing. “It’s just ‘armless stuff. No one would miss it I says to meself, so I fought why not?”
“I’m only going to keep that last bit quiet because you’re in the Order. Anyhow, I have to go. I don’t particularly like standing out in the cold, and I have a job to be getting on with. You might want to think about getting one, Dung.”
“I fink I’m fine wiv my dealings for now, Tonsky. Oh yeah, I meant to tell you. Sirius is organising a Christmas tipple next week for the Order. ‘E wanted to know if you were coming.”
I smiled at the mention of Sirius organising one. I didn’t want him to turn into a hermit due to having such a lonely existence. He couldn’t even have cats for friends due to him disliking them. “Sure, I’ll see you there. I’m going to go before you do something which would cause me to report you,” I called over my shoulder before wandering back into the crowd of Christmas shoppers
I placed the gift bag stuffed high with pink crepe paper on Amina’s desk, and she let out a squeal. I ended up going to Periwinkle’s Perfumery and got her some sort of gift set there. It cost me five bloody galleons which was more than I spent on my mum’s birthday present. If it meant she didn’t complain about it, I wasn’t that bothered.
“Aw, thank you, Tonks! It’s the new Wondrous Witch perfume! I’ve wanted this for ages.” Amina got up from her desk and wrapped me up in a hug.
I hated hugs. They always led to a certain level of awkwardness because I never knew if I should be the first person to break apart or wait for them to do it. I had one incident of being at a Christmas party, and the person I had been hugging had drunken several fire whiskey shots beforehand. That meant we were left hugging for a whole three minutes. Everyone was staring. It was horrible.
“It’s no problem.”
“I can wear it to my date with Henry. He’s high up in the Law Enforcement Office, you know.” Amina nodded at me. “What are you doing for Christmas, Tonks? Have you got a hot date lined up?”
I tried to not laugh at the mention of ‘hot date’. I wasn’t exactly the type of person who attracted those kinds of people. I attracted people who were drunk on fire whiskey. “Haha, not this year. I’m just going to my parents, that’s all.”
“Well, that simply won’t do,” Amina cried out. “You’ve been single for far too long, and it’s high time you began seeing someone. I know! I’ll set you up on a date with someone, it will be perfect.”
“Erm, I’m fine being single you know. I’m not interested in anyone right now. I would rather have a pet cat, honestly. If you got me one of those, it would be great.”
Amina shot me a look of disdain at the mention of a cat. We had had this discussion before with her claiming dogs were the better pet. Everyone knew cats ruled supreme, why else would the Egyptians have worshipped them?
“A cat isn’t the same as a man, Tonks. I’ll give you someone who you would get along with, not some random person pulled off the street. Promise me that you’ll let me do this.” Despite her turning forty-one today, she still managed to pull off the puppy eyes look.
“Fine, but only one. Remember that I’m only doing this for your sake, I don’t want a man.” I scowled at her, and then glanced at the window. It had begun snowing last night. I didn’t think much of it because it usually turned into a trip hazard in the form of slush, but it didn’t look like the rate of it was going to slow down anytime soon. “I’m going to head home before the snow worsens. I don’t fancy casting melting charms on it all the way home.”
“Trust me Tonks, I’ll find the perfect man for you. See you soon.” And people said I was the weird one.
I decided to go with the festive theme for the Christmas tipple, and my hair was now bright red and I was dressed in green. I was aware that the colours of my outfit didn’t completely go, but the festive spirit I would hopefully be giving out would distract others from that.
Before leaving my flat, I had to run around extinguishing the pots of blue flames which had been heating it. My boiler had burst the other day, and my landlord kept on making up excuses for it not being fixed yet. It was a good thing that I was a witch, because this was reportedly the coldest winter since 1943.
Once that was done, I hurried out of the flat, eager to leave the sombre settings. I hadn’t got round to putting up any decorations, as I had planned to spend Christmas with Mum and Dad, so it looked even more drab than usual. I muttered the locking incantation at the door, keeping a careful an eye out for any of my neighbours before slipping down the corridor.
The man opposite did catch me with my wand at one time, but I think he thought he had imagined it. He spent most of his time sitting inside watching Countdown and other daytime TV programmes. I think he must have agoraphobia or something like that, because the only time he ventured out was to collect the post off of his doormat.
I hurried down the stairs due to the lift being broken yet again and out of the flat. It had turned dark a few hours ago, and I felt as vulnerable as a Muggle right now. I understood why they needed the Statute of Secrecy, but have they seen where I lived?
I saw it as a necessity to use magic here out of fear of being attacked. They only thing which generally saved me was turning my eyes into demon like ones and hissing at suspicious looking people whenever they came too close. That had earned me the reputation of a mad, scary woman, but there were far too many stabbings around here for my liking. This warned potential killers off like garlic to a vampire.
There was dank alley nearby which I could apparate from with a slim chance of being seen, so I headed towards that. The snow here was blemished from the dirt of the streets, not the pure white that had been in my parents’ garden when I visited them the other day.
Once I reached the alleyway, I thought of Grimmauld Place and felt myself begin to spin. My life was on the up for once, as I had managed to avoid the giant heap of snow which had collected near to the railings. As I wandered over to number twelve, I saw the house emerge out of nowhere and it was bedecked in holly. Sirius was certainly getting into the Christmas spirit.
He had been considerate towards me too, because there was a not a single bit of ice or snow on the stairs. How nice of him. The door knocker was obscured by a wreath, so I resorted to banging my fist against the door.
“Hello, Tonks,” Sirius greeted me cheerily and waved a tray of fire whiskey shots in my face. “Get yourself into the Christmas spirit and have one.”
“Well, I suppose if I’m not working tomorrow it can’t hurt.” I grabbed one and immediately drank it. Bill and Charlie had always forced me to drink shots with them, so I knew the technique to it now.
“Good on you, Tonks.” Sirius patted me on the back, swaying slightly. I suspected he had had several of these already. “Go on down to the basement, everyone’s there already.”
I placed the empty glass back on the tray and began heading downstairs. When I walked into the basement, I was surprised again by the level of dedication Sirius went to. Mini Christmas trees were around the room, tinsel was strung up in the oddest areas and platters of food were slowly being demolished by the group of people. Molly stood to the edge of them, by herself, so I headed over to her for a chat.
“Wotcher, Molly. Looking forward to Christmas?”
Molly sighed before replying. “I suppose so. It will be the first one without Percy, and it’s going to be hard for all of us. I did send him an invitation, so there still is hope that he may appear.”
I forgot about the Weasleys having a black sheep of the family. They always seemed so perfect; it was odd to think that one of them would chose to leave. “Don’t worry about him, Molly. He’s not worth it if he did that to you. I’m sure Fred and George will keep everything festive enough for you.”
“I hope so,” she said wearily. “I’d best go and stop Arthur talking to Mundungus. He’s already had quite a few glasses of eggnog so I dread to think what he could be persuaded into doing.”
“Yeah, that might be a good idea.” She nodded in agreement before marching over to her husband.
Not wanting to look like a loner, I wandered over to Remus and Sirius who were muttering conspiratorially to one another. “It doesn’t look like you two up too much good.”
“Dear Tonks, you should know that though they called us master pranksters, that title is very much undeserved and we never do anything bad,” Sirius joked.
“Yeah, yeah, like I believe that. You might as well tell me. I’m an Auror, after all. I could maybe even help.”
“Sirius was trying to get me to take part in a prank that would involve Mad-Eye," Remus grimaced. "I was trying to tell him that would not be a good idea in the slightest considering what happened to him last year, it would put him even more on edge.”
“Don’t worry about that, Remus, he needs a bit of festive fun. What were you planning on doing?” This evening had gotten a lot better if I could get one up on Mad-Eye.
“It’s in the drawing room; we wanted to hide it from him in there. Though it probably won’t make much difference with his eye and all,” Sirius replied. I glanced around and saw him having an awkward conversation with the Figg woman so I reckoned we would be safe for a while.
“Let’s go.” I began marching down the corridors to the room. This plan sounded so great I couldn’t help but leap up the stairs and got to the drawing room long before the others. I saw that there was a pile of paper on the counter, and I was about to head towards it when something stopped me. I tried to edge further forward but it was as if a magnet was holding me back.
“Why are you just standing…Oh.” Sirius began laughing hysterically and almost fell over because of it.
“What? It’s not my fault, I can’t seem to move, at all,” I moaned.
“Haha, you’re stuck under charmed mistletoe. You can’t move until you’ve been kissed,” Sirius guffawed.
“Well, kiss me then!” I exclaimed angrily.
“I’m not doing it! This kiss has to be a proper one, not just a peck on the cheek. We’re related so that would be weird.” Sirius pulled a face. “It’s up to Remus to do the job.”
He hadn't said anything throughout this, and I hoped this wasn’t a sign he was chickening out. Out of all the single men here, being kissed by him seemed to be the most appealing. I didn’t want to stand around until another reasonable person came along.
“Up you come, Remus. I want this to be over with.”
“If you’re sure,” he said gingerly and walked over to me. We were so close I could see his nostril hair, charming. I always knew how to get into the romantic sprit. Now this was awkward. I almost wanted to let out a snort but it wouldn’t make the situation any better.
Suddenly, Remus leaned in even closer and his lips touched mine. They were quite soft actually, and it did feel nice. Perhaps this kissing lark wasn’t that bad, after all. Due to me quite enjoying this I didn’t bother breaking apart, so I left it to Remus to decide when to do it. The problem was that he hadn’t broken it apart either. This was like the time when I was hugged by the drunk person!
My eyes were shut, so I couldn’t even figure anything out from his facial expressions. I heard a cough in the background, and I conveniently remembered that we weren’t alone. I took this as my cue to break apart, albeit reluctantly, and I saw Sirius standing there smirking.
“You two definitely kept it short and sweet,” he chuckled a little more darkly than usual. “Is there something you want to tell me Remus about what you’ve been doing to my little cousin?”
“No, no, nothing at all,” he replied and looked flustered. This was the first time I had looked at him since kissing him, and it felt weird to say the least. It was only a kiss, after all. It didn’t mean anything so I didn’t see why I felt like this.
“Haha, you’re so funny Sirius.” While saying this I deliberately kept my eyes down to the ground. I knew if I made eye contact with him it would no doubt result in me talking about how soft Remus’ lips were. I really did hate awkward situations. So I did the only thing I could do when I encountered them. I ran.
Author’s Note: Countdown is a British game is show which is produced by ITV Studios and broadcasted by Channel 4 and all credit also goes to both of them and not to me. I hoped you enjoyed Tonks and Remus’ first kiss and of course it would be done in a non-romantic fashion. I would love to hear what you thought about it and the chapter as a whole, so if you left a review that would be great! Thanks for reading :D
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