Chapter 11 : Wonders and Wishing.
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It was August. Two months had passed since it happened, and I didn’t feel any better. The few weeks I spent in St. Mungo’s didn’t do me much good. If anything, it made me feel worse. Being in solitude made me think all day, and that was something I tended to avoid in normal circumstances. No matter how many times the others say it wasn’t my fault that Sirius died, the niggles of doubt were still there.
There were only a few people I could talk to. Molly had proved to be a big help. She was always inviting me over for a cup of tea and catch up. We both knew that meeting up like that was one of the few things which kept me sane. Molly was always wonderful like that, silently helping me through life with tea and biscuits.
It was a wonder my patronus hadn’t changed to her form and not his. Even thinking of it now, two weeks later, I still couldn’t understand why it happened. Why a wolf of all things? No, I shouldn’t think of that bloody change. It had just made everything awkward. It would mean thinking about how I felt about Remus, and as he was here it would be awkward. What was something normal to think about? Aha, my parents.
I couldn’t really talk to Mum and Dad. Mum was grieving herself and wondering whether she should have gone and seen him sooner and made the most of him being there. Responding to those questions was a little difficult so I tended to stay clear of her. As for Dad, as nice as he was, he couldn’t always handle feelings and things like that, so it only really left one other person I could talk to. Remus.
We walked onto the shingly part of the beach, each stone moving gently underfoot. I had always liked it here, at Southend. It wasn’t a proper beach, only an estuary because you could wave to the people of Kent on the other side of it. It was kitschy too; with its multitude of fun fair like areas, fish and chips shops and those slot machines were you put in one penny piece and hope to win a load of them.
But I liked it. Dad had taken me here as a child, because he had some great-aunt who lived here. It reminded me of when I was a child, and that made me feel slightly happier. Anything which made me feel like that I now craved for. Even being with Remus wasn’t the same innocent thing it used to be. Something had changed, and I did not want to admit why it had.
“You were right,” Remus muttered. “It is nice here.”
I nodded. “How was your transformation?” I asked tentatively for my sake as well as his. I knew it would only make me think of my patronus, but it couldn’t be helped. I needed to help him as much as he was helping me right now.
“It was bearable.” Remus came to a halt and gazed out across the estuary. “That’s something I do miss. Before, I always had the others around with me to help me through it. James and Sirius loved being able to transform. They thought of it as almost a game, and I could get through it a lot easier when they were like that. Now it’s just me left.”
I felt as if I knew more about Sirius ever since it happened than I did when he was alive. I didn’t even know he was an animagus, or that he helped Remus like that. He never really wanted to talk about himself much though. I think it hurt him too much, to think of Peter and what he did. I just wish that I hadn’t spent this past year pissing around with him when I could have been talking to him, getting to know him. I could have known him, really known him, not just held an image of him which was slowly unravelling.
“Do you think the four of us were cursed, Tonks?” Remus asked me. “James is dead. Sirius is dead. Peter is a traitor and is dead to me. Then there’s me. Am I going to die like they did? Are we just stupid and get into these situations? I hate this feeling Tonks, I really hate it.”
Remus looked broken. This was the first time I had properly allowed myself to look at him in months. Harsh, dark lines were found under his eyes, he had lost weight so it caused his clothes to hang off of him. His face looked as if he had lost something irretrievable, like it couldn’t ever get it back. He didn’t just look broken, he was broken.
When I was younger and upset Mum and Dad always pulled me into a hug, and I immediately felt better. I hoped it would have the same effect on Remus. I wrapped my arms around him, and luckily he responded accordingly. I felt the stick-like arms wrap around me, and his head rest upon my own. I had never realised he was that much taller than me. “Thank you, Tonks,” he whispered to me, his warm breath tickling my scalp.
“It’s no problem,” I whispered back. It was weird what we had. I didn’t even fully understand it, yet I understood what Remus needed. I suppose that was friendship, nothing more, nothing else.
A seagull began squawking beside us, reminding us that we weren’t alone. We quickly drew apart; Remus’ cheeks were red, and, no doubt, mine were the same.
“I’ve been given a mission by Dumbledore,” Remus announced after a few minutes of silence. “I’m going to infiltrate werewolf groups, primarily the one led by Fenrir Greyback, and find out what they’re up to. Ever since Voldemort’s come out into the open it’s been an even greater urgency that we do so. I’ll probably be gone for several months and contact will be limited, because I need to gain their trust and to do that I need to block off the outside world.”
“Was he the one who…?” I stopped, not really knowing how to say the next bit. I mean, how did you go about asking people if they were bitten by that person?
“Yes, it was him,” Remus said quietly. “I wanted to let you know so my disappearance isn’t a shock to you, but it’s probably given that you can’t tell anyone about this.” Remus paused, drew in a deep breath before continuing, “I will miss you Tonks.”
“I’ll miss you too.” I couldn’t help but feel tears welling up in my eyes while saying this. I knew he had to go on the mission and it would serve us well, but the selfish part of me wanted him to stay as he was one of the few who understood. That was without even thinking of the danger he was going to go through. He couldn’t. I mean, what if he died? What would I do? Life without Remus somehow seemed unthinkable. He had just been there this past year, and for him not to be there would be alien to me.
Remus quickly glanced at my face before pulling me into another hug. “Don’t cry for me Tonks,” Remus muttered. “I don’t deserve it.”
“You do, you really do,” I said earnestly and looked up at his face. He bent his head down before placing his lips on my cheek. They were still as soft as I remembered from the first time. I still hadn’t even told him about my patronus changing form.
“Look after yourself, Tonks,” he whispered to me before letting me go. “I have to go, but I’ll write when I can.”
I gave him nod before he turned on the spot and disappeared. I really would miss him.
The Ministry had a different air to it since Voldemort had come out into the open. Everyone hurried around looking worried and never had any time to stop for a chat. The walls were decked with protection spells and charms, warning signs of Inferi and most-wanted lists. The dreariness of life here was hard to avoid.
The Auror office was even more manic ever since, and the workload had almost doubled since. I didn’t really mind the extra work. It provided a distraction from thinking about Sirius and what had happened, so our new head of department, Gawain Robards, liked me even more. I didn’t really miss Scrimgeour. If anything, it was a relief not to have him lurking around every corner making sure we were doing the right thing.
Today, there was debriefing about the Hogwarts security plans. September the first was only a few days away so I was mildly surprised by how late they had scheduled this to happen. I wandered into the meeting room and took a seat next to Amina. She smiled brightly at me and launched into a tale about her latest conquest, but her words were just background noise to me. I couldn’t see Kingsley, and he was always early. Something was wrong.
Once all of the Auror departments assembled into the room, Robards stepped forward and began speaking. “As you all know with the threat of Voldemort proving to be bigger and greater than all of us could have anticipated extra measures have been put in place. We will have a group of Aurors based in Hogsmeade, and they will regularly patrol the surrounding area. Then on the first of September we will have large amount assembled on the platform to ensure protects for the students and parents. There will be a small group on the train too.”
Robards waved his wand around and a diagram of the platform with X’s stamped onto in various locations appeared. “Each X represents an Aurors position, and it is essential you remain in the same place. Among those placed there tomorrow are Browning, Knight…” Robards continued to reel off a list of names, and I quickly lost interest. I did a quick scan of the room again and still couldn’t find Kingsley. Where on earth was he?
“Then the Aurors who will be stationed in Hogsmeade are Tonks, Dawlish, Farthing…” I jolted up with the mention of my name. I was paired with Dawlish. Fun. At least I could visit Honeydukes a lot.
No. What was wrong with me? I should have been getting annoyed at the fact I would have to spend day after day in Dawlish’s company, but nothing happened. No feeling or thought. Nothing. I wasn’t entirely sure whether I liked this new me or not.
“Rooms at The Three Broomsticks are available if you wish to use them. Other than that, I believe we are done for today.” Robards waved his wand around again causing the diagram to disappear and everyone began to disperse. Amina muttered about popping off to the loo, and I took the chance to corner Robards.
“Where’s Kingsley? Shouldn’t he be here?”
“Tonks, you fully well know that you shouldn’t inquire about other people’s whereabouts when it is classified information.” My face immediately fell when I heard those words. Not another person lost to me. “Fine, I suppose as most people will know soon enough. Kingsley’s watching the Muggle prime minister. In times like these, everyone needs protection.”
“Thank you,” I replied quietly.
“You’re welcome. Now, if you don’t mind, I have a meeting with the Minister of Security from France.” Robards gently ushered me out of the room, and I allowed him to do so. So Sirius was gone, Remus was gone and Kingsley had now gone. I didn’t think I had felt so alone in a long while. All I had now was this stupid new Patronus.
Author’s Note: I’ve been waiting to post this chapter for ages! It really showed the new Tonks and her new phase of life. I’m sorry it wasn’t the most cheery of ones but I hope all the hints and moments with Remus made up for it. Only 7 more to go now! I hope you like the transformation of Tonks and I would love to know your thoughts about it below! ♥
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