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Chapter 15 : Reaction and Resolution
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Fleur had wanted to meet me for some reason. Apparently she had gathered different colour swatches for her dress and wanted my opinion on which one would suite her complexion best. I didn’t really know why she was bothering to ask for it. I couldn’t tell a teal green from a mint one.
I didn’t even know why she chose here of all places, it wasn’t particularly nice from the outside, and we couldn’t even get butter beer. I would probably end up with some grey coloured coffee which was coated in a film of cream and a drop of chocolate; it was poison in the guise of a cappuccino.
The sign to ‘Clotted Cream and Cakes’ clicked on and off, almost in rhythm with the falling rain. I pushed open the door to it and was greeted by the typical interior of a tea room. Dollies were draped in every possible place, the chairs were chintz ones and the windows and tables were bedecked with lace. I could not believe I had chosen to spend my afternoon here discussing colour swatches.
“Tonks, I am ‘ere,” Fleur cried out from behind me. I gave her a quick wave before hurrying over. I just realised that there was no chance of me marrying now that Remus and I had argued. If I ever did get married, I would want something quick like eloping off to Gretna Green. Remus always said he liked Scotland. Oh crap, I wasn’t meant to be fantasising about him still, I was meant to be all independent and feminist and stuff.
“Alright, Fleur. How are you?” I squeezed into the spare chair at the table after eyeing the cake stand on the table. I hadn’t eaten a cake in months and seeing it now made me want to pull it off their plate and simply stuff it in my mouth. I really had delightful dinner time etiquette.
“I am very good, Tonks. I do not which fabric to choose zough, I need your ‘elp…” Fleur began to rattle off the pros and cons of using silk over satin and cream over white but they all flew over my head. I just nodded when appropriate and gave the occasional mm and ah while munching on the cake I had grabbed.
Fleur’s head suddenly popped up and she broke into a smile. “Ah ‘ou finally made it ‘ere zen? ‘Ow wonderful!”
I turned my head around, wondering whether this was her sister or some famous bridal dresser but I saw Remus Lupin standing there, fiddling with his hands instead. What the hell was he doing here?
“I didn’t expect to see you here Remus,” I said with the coldest voice I could muster. Now I just had to sustain this and it would be great.
“Neither did I,” he whispered. “I was told that I was meeting Bill and Fleur as they had something important to discuss with me.”
“And ‘ou do, but with Tonks,” Fleur declared. “I must go now, but ‘ou will tell me everything later, Tonks, yes?”
I gave her a small nod as she gathered up all the fabric. She blew me a quick kiss before hurrying out of the café. They had duped both of us into coming here then. That was rather clever actually. Though the only problem was that I had nothing to say to Remus. Nothing at all. Except maybe I still loved him even if he did act like a git towards me.
I watched him shuffle towards the chair just vacated by Fleur, pull it back and sit in it. This was going to be awkward. Perhaps I could just make up some sort of urgent appointment I just couldn’t miss. Or maybe I could say I had feminine hygiene problems; that would scare him away. Though that might scare him away forever which wasn’t something I exactly wanted.
“So, I really-“ I began but Remus interrupted me.
“Tonks, I’m sorry. I’ve been wanting to say that to you ever since it happened but you haven’t exactly made it easy for me. I’m so sorry for all the hurt and pain I caused you, and if there was any way of taking it back I would.”
Why did he have to keep on being the good guy? Why couldn’t he just remain a git? It would make hating him a much easier job. Did I forgive or question him further?
“Do you still like me?” Even if it was a bit of a weird question I was pleased I managed to restrain myself from using the other big l word. Love. Just thinking of it made me choke a little. It had too many pink and fluffy connotations even if I did feel that way towards him.
“Of course,” Remus cried. “I never stopped liking, loving, you.”
“Excellent. Then we can forget about your stupid reasons such as being too old and too poor, and we can start dating.”
Remus let out a small chuckle before his face clouded over. Oh god, here we go again. “Tonks, it’s not that simple. What would your parents say? They would never allow you to date someone like me. Even if we forget about the age difference and me not having a job which probably isn’t a good idea, we reach another problem.” He lowered his voice for the next part. “I’m a werewolf.”
Ok I had managed to restrain myself from venting my feelings up until now but I didn’t think I could hold them in for any longer. “You’ve told me that at least ten times now, and if you say it again I will hit you. I see it as an advantage. It’s a night for me to do whatever I want without you knowing. It will be good for you too as you’ll get some exercise with all that running around.”
Remus laughed before his face swiftly returned to the grime one it was before.
“You don’t get it. Your parents will be ashamed of me, and that feeling of shame will affect you too. I don’t want that to happen. It’s not fair. You will not only be judged by your parents and your family, but by everyone else too. The majority of people are not as liberal minded as you are. You’ve only really seen me in Order meetings and in places where it’s just the two of us.”
There he was saying I didn’t get it when it was really him who didn’t get it.
“No, I do get. Don’t you think I know all of those things already? The point is, I don’t care what other people think. I really don’t. If my parents aren’t happy with you, well it sucks for them. They don’t have the most conventional relationship anyway, so they’ll bound to be open to this one.”
Remus just gave a small shake of his head. “I’m sorry Tonks. I don’t think us two will ever work out no matter how much we try. I think it’s best if we give up on hoping for it.”
Gah was what I currently felt. He was not going to do this to me. We Huffelpuffs were a determined bunch of people, and I was going to preserve no matter how hard it was.
“You may be giving up Remus John Lupin.” Yes, I had resorted to using full names. “But I won’t. I thought you were meant to be a brave person but from what you’ve currently it certainly doesn’t look like it. I’ll have to be the brave one of us and carry on trying.”
I pushed back my chair and walked out. I wasn’t exactly sure why that was necessary as there were still several uneaten cakes on the table but after a statement like that I didn’t feel like I could just stay sitting there. Also, it meant I could use Mum’s Slytherin genes and plot away at home and see if I could figure this out.
Two months had passed and there still wasn’t much improvement on the Remus front. It seemed as if he was deliberately ignoring me. If Dumbledore hadn’t requested Bill, Remus and me to keep guard over Hogwarts tonight I doubted I would have seen him until the next Order meeting.
Bill couldn’t stop grinning at me. What a git. I tried to move away from him but Remus was on my other side. Why did situations like these always have to happen to me? It was as if I was born under some cursed star or something. Whether that was possible was questionable, but we could just roll with it for now.
I stomped a little ahead of the other two, quickly reaching the Charms corridor. I had gotten so used to this place over the past year that I had to stop re-enacting all my pranks; it just took too long and I obviously had to appear somewhat serious.
“Fleur and I were wondering who was going to catch her bouquet at the wedding, Tonks. I said it wouldn’t be you due to your coordination skills but she seemed to think that there might be someone special you might want to marry. Is that true?” Bloody Bill.
I could feel the heat rush to my cheeks. Great, I had begun to blush. At least it would bring colour to my otherwise pale face. My features had been so drab for ages now that I had begun to wonder whether I should dye my hair.
“Yes, I do. Myron Wagtail from The Weird Sisters. He’s just finishing his tour and we’re off to Gretna Green to get hitched. Happy?”
“You keep on living in your dream world, Tonks,” Bill laughed.
I looked over at Bill and saw him glancing at the floor. Yes! I could take a sneak peek of Remus without being caught. Not that I felt the need to look at him, of course, but observational looks were key for security. I eyed him, warily, and saw him chuckling quietly to himself.
“How are Ginny and Ron? I haven’t seen them since Christmas. Has Ron recovered from his poisoning?” Remus asked. I trundled up another set of stairs and found myself on the seventh floor, waiting for the others as Bill was still recounting what had happened to his brother. Just as soon as they made move for the stairs, the said brother ran round the corner nearly colliding with me.
“Wotcher, Ron. What are you doing here?” Ron began wheezing and coughed something out but I couldn’t make out a word of it.
“Tonks!” I heard Ginny cry from behind him and saw she was wheezing away with Neville Longbottom.
“What the bloody hell happened to you? Have you started some sort of running club round Hogwarts?” Bill and Remus had finally caught up with me by that point and began chuckling to one another.
“No…Malfoy…brought…Death Eaters here. All dark…couldn’t see or…breathe well. They’re here, taking over school,” Ron managed to say.
“Are you sure, Ron?” Bill asked and got three heads nodding furiously in return. “Right, I’ll send out a Patronus to all the members of the Order. Are there any other Aurors on duty tonight, Tonks?”
I wracked my mind and vaguely recalled that MacDougal was on. “Yes, there is one. I’ll send him a Patronus too.”
I heard Bill send off his own before casting mine. “Expectro Patronum,” I cried out and tried to shield the wolf from Remus. Despite the seriousness of the situation I couldn’t help but blush even more. I whispered the message to it before it scampered off into the darkness and sneaked one quick look at Remus and his mouth had changed into an o shape. I guess he didn’t know about it changing form then.
“Let’s go,” Bill declared, taking leadership. He began running up the next set of stairs with us following in pursuit. I recognised this place. It was the Astronomy Tower.
Once we climbed the stairs we began running down the corridor before being quickly greeted by cacophony of sound. Beams of light were being shot from every angle, reflecting off each wall. People pushed past one another in a quick pursuit up a narrow set of stairs. Each one making it up the staircase was dressed in black and grey. The Death Eaters.
I saw Neville run ahead of me but slip and fall, a sickly crack echoed around. Ginny rushed over to him and began muttering healing spells at his head while he cried out about not needing anything. I couldn’t even stop to see if he needed them. I just needed to protect them.
Rowle, one of the few who didn’t make it up the stairs, eyed me. He quickly raised his wand before shooting a jet of red light at me. I whipped a shield charm, causing it to reflect his latest hex back at him but he managed to dodge it. We continue to fire spells at one another, switching roles of defensive and attacker. I didn’t know what the others were doing, only focused on this sole battle. I had to win it. For me. For Sirius. For everyone who had died.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone stampede down the stairs, a large blob of a man. I faintly recalled his name, Gibbon, some relatively unknown Death Eater. His eyes rolled around the room, darting from here to there like the spells being cast.
Hurrying over to the stairs to see if I could get pass, a stream of green light soared past me and onto the next thing lying in its path. Gibbon. He fell like a domino down the remaining stairs, coming to a halt near a pile of rubble. I let out a scream, so loud it shocked me. Even if death had become a common occurrence, the shock of it never faded for me.
Returning to my senses seconds later, I turned around and saw Rowle standing there looking half-victorious, half-pitying. I shot a spell which caused the head to feel as if it had frozen over, but he couldn’t deflect it this time. Instead, he gripped onto his skull and began screaming. He ran down the stairs and off down the corridor. I knew the effects of it would soon wear off but it would do for now. It was a small punishment for taken Gibbon’s life. Even if he was a Death Eater, it still felt wrong for him just to be gone like that.
I let out a little cheer and began shooting spells at anything which looked like a Death Eater. But my eyes landed on something, something worse. By the set of stairs I saw a body. A body with cuts, bruises, blood and all manner of other things. Noting the colour of the hair, I opened my mouth and felt as if my tonsils will be ripped out by the noise.
This time, I didn’t think this scream would ever end.
“BILL!” I cried at the sight of the mauled body. This couldn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to happen. First Sirius and now Bill. He couldn’t leave me, I wouldn’t let him. I jabbed my wand into his wounds, hoping to seal them. The skin fused back together for a few seconds before tearing apart. It was unfixable. Tears streamed down my face, and I attempted to rub them out of the way. I needed to save him. I didn’t even know which spells I was casting now, only that they healing ones and may help him. I needed him to live.
“Tonks, you can’t help him now. We need you. We can’t do anything without you. He will be seen to.” I felt Remus pull on my hand and drag me away from him but I didn’t want to go. I knew he was right, but I didn’t want to go. I looked away for one moment and saw Neville being thrown into the air and then the ground. Ginny was fighting off a Death Eater twice her size and Ron was shooting spells out wherever. He was right, they did need me.
“Bye, Bill,” I whispered, having one final look at his torn face. With that stuck in my mind I ran back into the crowds of people and joined Ginny in fighting the masked man off. She gave me a little grin before flinging a Bat Bogey Hex at him. I continued to shoot whatever came into my mind first, but this proved to be a bad idea. The Death Eater seemed to be angered with the idea of playing nice and began firing his wand at anything which could move. Fragments of the wall fell off soon turned into crumbs when they fell onto the floor. Spells bounded off these fragments, inching past us.
Running for cover proved to be hard in this case, so I attempted to help protect Ginny. I hoped that Remus would be able to look after the others. I didn’t even know how they were and whether Neville’s head was bleeding or not. This was horrible.
I was on the brink of giving up when someone arrived, someone I could yell at for help. “Snape, Snape you’ve got to help. We’re doing dreadfully. Neville’s bleeding, Bill’s mauled all over and we can’t do this!” I deflected another spell while waiting for his reply. I was so close to giving up, all my energy gone.
He gave me a curt nod before hurrying over to the stairs and jumping up them. How did he do that? Neville couldn’t get past. I couldn’t let my confusion take over for long as I saw a spell edge near to Bill. Even if he might be dead I wouldn’t let that slim chance of him being alive get any slimmer. I deflected them again and again. I finally managed to set up an entire body shield charm which should hopefully give him some protection when the ceiling collapsed.
“For fuck’s sake,” I cried and could feel the tears stream down even faster. As soon as I felt as if it was finally going right something else had to come along and make it worse. We couldn’t do this anymore. There were too few of us. We needed someone special. Someone like Dumbledore.
A stampede of feet echoed against the rubble and I saw Snape, down already, running past me with that Malfoy boy. Shit it must be bad if he couldn’t them off. I mean, he was Snape famed for his dark and twisted magic. I let them past, jumping into the fighting again. Suddenly, Harry appeared out of nowhere yelling something at the pair of them. I barely even had time to register his presence until he charged off after them, and I was forced to deflect yet another stunning spell.
There were even more Death Eaters now. The Carrows and other ones I didn’t have time to pick out. Too many.
The fighting continued for a few moments more before I heard Snape cry something out. Crap. He had given himself and the Malfoy boy away. The Death Eaters, hearing what he said, charged after them. The only thing I could hope for was that the three of them managed to get away.
I kept my position for a moment longer. I didn’t know what to expect. They had been charging in and out all of the time so why would it be different now?
“Tonks, we have to get Bill to the Hospital Wing. He’s still alive.” I turned and saw Remus standing close to him. His lip was bleeding, a bruise was beginning to protrude on it but he still managed a faint smile. Thank Merlin he was alive.
I could hear loud sobbing noises and saw Ginny crying into Ron’s shoulder with Neville standing by them, his blood-covered hand clamped against his hand. We had survived this far now we just needed to make Bill would too.
Author's Note: Two more to go now! ♥ I hoped you liked this chapter as it a lot happened in it and it would mean a lot to me if you told me your thoughts! How was the battle scene by the way? I hoped the action was alright. :)
If you want to learn more about Andromeda and Ted and have a few cameos from Tonks, check out my new short story collection, Broken Crown, as it would mean an awful lot to me to know what you think!
If you want to be lovely you can leave me a review as that would mean an awful lot! ♡
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