Chapter 8 : January
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First, there was all that palaver about having to kiss Remus. I had conveniently avoided him since running away from the room. Talking to him would lead to blushing on both sides and stilted conversations. That didn’t sound particularly appealing to me so I simply decided to forget it ever happened, and with that, Remus’ existence too.
After that, poor Arthur got attacked by the snake. It was so awful and Molly was constantly in tears. Well, in tears to me she didn’t want the children to know how stressed she really was by it. Thank Merlin Arthur had been getting better. The two of them were so adorable together if they were ever spilt up it would be a travesty.
Then I had to deal with my parents. Mum had finally begun to warm to the idea of possibly seeing Sirius, but with that, multiple questions about his escape and general life being asked. They would have been easy enough to answer if I had been talking to a normal person, but Mum seemed to be exceptionally paranoid throughout the questioning and wanted the smallest details someone like me couldn’t be bothered to notice.
Plus, it was January and that automatically made everyone depressed. I had to pay the annual bills on my flat, and the post-Christmas low always got to me. Dung, however, seemed to be quite cheery in comparison to most people.
“I’ve done pretty well outta Christmas. Since I chucked my bird I didn’t ‘ave to get ‘er anyfing, and then the market’s ripe for dodgy goods.” Dung licked his cracked lips with pleasure. How wonderful.
“What happened to your girlfriend then?” I inquired. He didn’t exactly come off as a dating type of person so I was curious to see who had tied him down.
“Well, I met ‘er down in Clapham because I was banging ‘er sister you see. Then I fought to myself I wouldn’t mind a bit of both, and it spiralled from there. Then the sister says to me 'where were you last week', and I was wiv the other one so I couldn’t say. The sisters didn’t really like each other so the other got back and said she was wiv me. Then after a ton of shouting I was chucked out.”
So basically, as well as being a crook he was a bit of a scumbag too.
“Your use of vocabulary never fails to amuse me,” I said and turned the corner into Knockturn Alley. This was where Remus told me about him being a werewolf, I thought. I remember how scared he was and how I thought he had a werewolf fetish. It would be nice to go back to the time when we were just friends. Well are friends just friends with awkward tension stalking us.
“Whatta ‘bout your love life, Tonsky?” He grinned at me.
“First of all, don’t call me Tonsky. It’s almost as bad as Nymphadora. Secondly, why would I tell you about my love life? You wouldn’t be able to help me!” I burst out. Wait a second; I didn’t have a love life, so why was I asking for help? All it was a kiss, only one part of the skin touching, nothing more.
“It sounds like you’ve gotta problem. I could ‘elp you if you wanted,” Dung burst out eagerly. He did seem rather earnest so I may as well try. Besides, it might prove a distraction to the even bleaker settings that Knockturn Alley provided.
“Well, I had this friend and we got along really well and it was great. Then we kissed by accident, and I did a runner. I was just so confused and didn’t know what to do, so it seemed like the best thing. Now I haven’t spoken to him for over a month and it’s horrible. Basically, I can’t handle romantic situations very well so I might as well ignore him.”
Dung was silent for a moment before bursting into laughter. “You’ve screwed up, Tonksy. When this ‘appened to me a while ago, you know what I did?” Ignoring my scowl with reference to Tonsky, he continued speaking. “I went slept with another bird. That got ‘er pissed off, and she came crawling back. Go and do that, and your problem will be solved.”
“The thing is Dung, I’m not so loose with my morals. I actually respect people and don’t want to use them. Besides, there isn’t anything to crawl back to. Nothing really happened.”
“Whatever, you say, Tonksy.” Again, he ignored the scowling. “It will work wonders, trust me.” With one final smirk Dung headed towards Borgin and Burkes, ready to go and talk to his sort of friends. I was an old lady today, so I could follow him in. I suppose Amina had offered to set me up on a blind date. Going on one couldn’t be too bad.
After spending the rest of my Saturday morning patrolling Knockturn Alley with Mundungus and sending a letter to Amina asking her to set me up on a date, I decided I should probably go and visit my parents and act like a good daughter. This visit didn’t have anything to do with the fact that Mum always made an excessive amount of food for Christmas, and there were still tons of it leftover.
I trudged up the garden, noting how their Flutterby Bush was still in bloom unlike the rest of the Muggle plants which had shrivelled down to their stems. Fortunately, the snow of December had long since disappeared, so the garden could be declared a safe zone in Tonks terms.
My parents were too trusting, and that was proved by their French windows being unlocked, allowing me to just stroll into the house. “Mum, Dad, I’m here,” I called out. Dad immediately strolled in, and his face lit up.
“Dora!” Dad cried out and wrapped me up in one of his hugs. Coming home always made me feel better. “You have great timing. Your mum’s just put the kettle on.”
“Where is she?” I asked once I had been released from the hug.
“She just went upstairs to put on a jumper, and she’ll be down soon,” Dad said and lifted the kettle off its stand and began pouring the steaming water into a spotted teapot. Their lives had such a sense of normalcy. I would never be going upstairs to get a jumper. I would be tripping up them due to forgetting to put on underwear that day or something else strange.
“Tonks!” I heard Mum exclaim behind me, and I was wrapped up in another hug. “I have some gingerbread men left over from Christmas, and I thought you might want to have them. Shall I get the tin down?”
Moments like these reminded me why I loved my mother. “That would be brilliant, Mum.”
“Go on through to the sitting room. Ted, you take the tea things. Nymphadora needs a rest after all the hard work she must be doing.” Wow, Mum was in a good mood today. Perhaps that meant she had agreed to come and visit Sirius.
I walked into the living room and seeing that I was being pampered today, I decided to take the chintz armchair which had extra stuffing. Dad lumbered in and plonked the tea set down on the coffee table causing the milk and sugar to spill everywhere. It was nice to see that my clumsiness was an inherited trait as opposed to it being a random mutation.
He gave me a sheepish look and quickly whipped out his wand and cleared it away before Mum saw. She was such a neat freak she wasn’t afraid to even tell Dad off. It was a good thing he was so quick thinking because Mum soon walked in, beaming and with a tin full of gingerbread men.
“What’s with the happy mood, Mum? Did you get out of bed the right side this morning?” Though it wasn’t one of my finest jokes, I was still impressed by it.
“No, I didn’t actually. Your father’s snoring woke me up in the middle of the night, so I decided to go and re-order the saucepans.” Who on earth did that when they couldn’t sleep? I generally raided my fridge or tried to see what weird combinations I could come up with for my hair and face. That could be quite entertaining, and I had found some ones which had been put into great use later on.
“What is it then? Or is re-ordering that fun that it caused you to smile for the rest of the day?” I gave Dad a wink, and he smiled back at me. Those neat freaks were alien to us.
“No, no, it’s not that. Though it does give you a new sense of purpose, and you really should try it Nymphadora. I’ve decided to see Sirius. I know it’s taken me a while to get round to the idea, but it is quite a big thing. I’ve talked to your dad about it, and he quite agrees. I think it’s time to see him again.” I could really tell how much this meant to her because tears were beginning to well up in her eyes. She kept on pretending to scratch her eye to disguise it.
“That’s brilliant, Mum. When do you want me to set it up?”
“Whenever is best for you and Sirius. I don’t want to bother either of you,” she said timidly.
“I don’t think you’re going to be bothering him by this visit, Mum.” I grinned at her. “He’s been looking forward to this so much that he’ll be delighted more than anything.”
Mum smiled back and began bustling around with the cups of tea. Ah, everything was back to normal. Well, everything that didn’t have anything to do with Remus.
A week later, I found myself on guard at the Department of Mysteries again. Another repeat of this experience was me being forced to take on the midnight to six o’clock shift. Even though I was slightly nocturnal it didn’t mean that I wanted to waste away my nights down here.
On top of that, Amina had given me a sheaf of parchment which contained facts about my prospective date. I didn’t even know why I said I would go on one. I didn’t like meeting new people all that much, and I didn’t like small talk. From what I knew about blind dates those two things was what they were mainly made of.
This person was called Joseph Humphrey, he worked for his family’s business, had a magical wine shop in France and liked going to choral concerts. He sounded like one of the most pretentious and boring person I had ever met. I swear Amina said she would set me up with someone who would be perfect for me. Instead, I got him.
It was made even worse because she gave it to me when I was in mid-conversation with Kingsley. I had deliberately ignored him for several weeks to show my anger at being made to do that filing, and this was supposed to be our reconciliation chat. Instead, I got laughed at and asked whether I would be able to use all the cutlery available if I went to dinner with him.
I was about to retort about my mother actually being from old pureblood family and, therefore, had high standards for her daughter when I remembered that when I ate I almost always got food down my top. I didn’t even know why, because I honestly did try to prevent it from happening but it was as if it was magically attracted to it. I would have to find some sort of repelling spell to prevent it from happening on this date.
Fortunately, it was in two weeks’ time, and I could probably find one by then. Maybe I could just forget about the spell and make the date as awful as possible. That way, he would never want to see me again, and I could live happily on my own again and start building up my cat collection.
I glanced at my watch and saw that I only had half an hour to go. I could do this. I ruffled through the sheaths of parchment again and saw a small photo attached to one of them. He had blonde hair, green eyes and smirked at the camera. Great. A vain person on top of that.
The sound of footsteps echoed down the corridor, and I thought that perhaps someone had decided to relieve me early. Ah, random acts of kindness happened so rarely to me but whenever they did it was truly great.
“Tonks, I know you’re there. Can we talk?” So everything really did seem to repeating itself today with Remus appearing.
“I’m not here,” I cried out. I wasn’t ready to talk to him yet, so perhaps that would trick him into going away.
Remus chuckled quietly. “You just spoke, Tonks. I think you are here, even if you are under that cloak.” He paused for a minute, but I still didn’t say anything. I wasn’t here, after all. “Ok, I can see that you may not want to talk to me, so perhaps you could listen.”
Remus went and sat by the wall opposite to me, and I pulled the invisibility cloak closer around me. I wasn’t going to let my disguise fail that quickly.
“I know things have been a bit weird since the kiss, and I can understand. I was confused too, and I know how much you hate awkward situations, so I almost don’t blame you for running away. I just miss talking to you, Tonks, that’s all. I would hate for our friendship to be ruined because of one stupid thing. If you do still want to be friends, meet me at the Leaky Cauldron on the Saturday night after this one. It would be nice to see you there.” He smiled in my direction before heaving himself off up the floor. He gave me one last look before walking off down the corridor.
I suppose going to see him wouldn’t hurt. I could just pretend that the kiss didn’t happen. That way, everything would be back to normal, well hopefully. I shifted the bits of parchment around in my hand, trying to make a tidy pile of them. Crap. I had just realised something. I couldn’t meet Remus then. I had that stupid blind date with that equally stupid Joseph Humphrey. I got up off my feet and started running down the corridors.
I could feel my lungs begin to tighten up as a result of it, and I got a little wheezy. Merlin, my fitness levels had certainly dropped since Auror training. I turned the corner just in time to see the doors of the lift closing on the departing figure of Remus. I think that was a major sign I need to get fit again. I had no chance of catching up with him now. Even though it was still early in the day, the Atrium was always filled with people bustling around which would prove to be obstructions to the path. I would have to stick to using the traditional owl.
Author’s Note: Against All Odds was my JulNo project and I have now written all of it! It stands at 17 chapters plus an epilogue and I’m so excited to post it all and I hope you like it! I hope you enjoyed this chapter too, with Tonks trying to avoid Remus – it was fun to write! I have loved every single review I have received on this story so if you left me another one I would love you forever.
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