Chapter 1 : The Lucky Girl
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Her mother’s words echoed in her mind as Tonks walked down the street away from her house. It was mid-morning and the sun was still pleasant, though she knew it would be beating down on everyone in the city that afternoon. A few people passed her, taking walks or stopping to look at the trinkets for sale in the side streets and shop windows, but overall it was fairly quiet. Tonks was glad; she had chosen to walk because she needed to think.
“I’m ready for this, aren’t I?” she murmured, not realizing that she spoke aloud. She had waited six months after her training and test before the Department of Magical Law Enforcement sent her an owl. Just when she was starting to look around for less exciting ways to make money, the letter had come, full of polite apologies for not having any openings until now and asking her to report to the Ministry on a particular Tuesday. It was odd, as she had expected to show up first thing on a Monday morning and endure a staff meeting like every other Ministry employee. Her father said it was likely a diversion, a way of ensuring that the Aurors were not all arriving at once where they could be ambushed.
It was when her father began talking this way that her mother’s face lost its hint of a smile. As a child, she had wondered why they didn’t talk often. Now she understood it better.
Tonks brushed her mousy brown bangs out of her eyes, her hazel eyes fixing determinedly on the cobblestones in the street before her. Andromeda had shared some pointers as well, mostly that she remain inconspicuous and professional by trying to maintain calm. Bright streaks tended to appear in her hair and sparkles in her eyes when she got too emotional. Tonks had sat in front of the mirror for nearly forty-five minutes that morning, willing her stomach to stop its anxious tumbling so that the purple lowlights in her hair would vanish. Tonks sort of liked that side of herself, though. This buttoned-down normalcy was stifling. She would give anything to smile and have someone to make a joke to at the moment.
Her old mentor’s wisdom seemed to ring in her ears. Constant vigilance, Nymphadora!
Tonks rounded the corner and stepped into the main street of London. A couple more miles of walking, and then she would be at the intersection that led to Diagon Alley. The Ministry wasn’t too far away. With her recollection of Moody’s voice came a chance to reflect on her training, the three years she had spent just out of Hogwarts trying to acquire new practical skills. Her natural abilities and skill in Transfiguration served her well in some aspects, but her lack of patience held her back when it came to keeping a low profile. She had made an effort to tone down her sense of shock when the letter announcing her scores arrived, though her parents had held quite a jubilant celebration. Though she’d managed only Exceeds Expectations on her exams—she spent a little too much time relaxing on the grounds and trading jokes with her best friend Charlie to get Outstanding marks—she clearly had adequate street smarts.
“See, you’ll be fine,” she said, imagining it in Charlie’s voice. A woman next to her looked at her oddly, and Tonks bustled out of the way, putting distance between her and the shops.
Last she’d heard, Charlie had shipped himself off to Romania to learn how to train dragons. He had always talked about the possibility of teaching them to jump through fiery hoops, like in one of his father’s books about Muggle circuses, and dwelled on the irony of it all. She missed him a lot now that there was no one around to go on adventures with her. She smiled wryly to herself, wondering if Molly Weasley stayed up worrying about her son.
A man on the street bumped into her. “Sorry,” she said immediately, moving past him. Her bright tone was lost on the angry gentleman, though, and she tried to ignore his haughty look. Sighing, Tonks wondered if it might be worth it to Apparate the rest of the way.
She turned into the next alley, offering a compassionate smile to the homeless man laying by the entrance as she stepped over him. Then, once he was out of sight, she disappeared.
Tonks stared around her at the beautiful main lobby of the Ministry of Magic, with its mahogany paneling and glossy marble floors. A gorgeous mosaic depicting all the different skills represented at the Ministry was laid into the stone beneath her boots. Unfortunately, none of its beautiful facets helped her remember which floor she was supposed to be on. She’d been to the Ministry a few times before, mostly for routine administrative matters, but she had not remembered just how many doors, stairs and lifts there were to pick from.
If she didn’t make a decision soon, the businessmen and administrative assistants who kept bumping into her in their hurry to get to their respective offices would start to get annoyed. Tonks turned around, spotting an empty bench close to the front door. She walked over and sat down on it, figuring there was nothing to do now but wait for someone she could ask.
I’m going to look so stupid, having to ask someone where to go. I’m supposed to be an Auror! She sighed, resting her elbows on her knees and brushing her hair out of her eyes. Maybe it was just the mid-morning sun, no longer pleasant as it streamed through the windows directly at her, but she was developing a headache. Maybe I just got lucky. That luck is about to run out, though. My time as an Auror will be over as soon as they see how I really am.
Suddenly, someone joined her on the bench. Tonks looked up and saw a young girl in a pretty yellow dress. She was about to compliment the girl on her color selection when she noticed that the little girl’s eyes were red with tears and her hair seemed mussed, as if she had undergone a bit of stress since her mother carefully styled it that morning.
“Arielle, stay here until I finish registering your brother with the Department of Magical Transportation,” a blonde woman said, offering Tonks a smile as she instructed the little girl. Then, taking an Apparition License Application from her purse, she walked away.
Tonks looked over at the little girl, and the smile she had given the girl’s mother faded away as her heart broke for the sad expression on the girl’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Arielle looked over at her. “I didn’t get my letter.”
Tonks frowned. “What letter?”
“You know,” the little girl continued. “It’s my birthday. I’m eleven today, finally.”
“Oh,” Tonks realized aloud. “I’m sure you’ll get it. The day’s still young.”
“I don’t think it’s coming. My mum got cross with me yesterday because I didn’t finish my breakfast. Maybe she told them not to send it. Maybe they found out about the cabinet.”
“What about the cabinet?” Tonks asked, amused.
“When I was nine, we moved into a new house, and I wanted to help with moving but I was too small to lift anything. I tried to pick up my mum’s cabinet and move it up the stairs into her and Dad’s room, and it just flew up the stairs on its own. I broke some of the decorations off the edges, though, on the way up. Dad yelled at me about it during dinner.”
Tonks smiled, satisfied. “So you’ve performed magic before, then.”
“Yeah, accidentally.” Arielle smirked, though. “Brian thought it was funny. He’s my brother.”
“Oh, that’s nothing,” Tonks countered. “My first time doing magic was when I was ten. I accidentally lit my mum’s drapes on fire. It scared the cat so badly that she went flying through an open window. She was only shaken up, though, and it was only the first floor.”
Arielle giggled. “And you still got your letter?”
“Yes I did, right on time.” Tonks smiled brightly at her. You know, I did. Even though I made some mistakes, somebody thought I had potential. And they let me graduate and everything.
“Arielle, are you ready to go?” Both of them looked up to see Arielle’s mother standing there. “Come on, we need to get back home. Daddy and I have a surprise for you at lunch.”
Arielle’s eyes lit up. “Yes,” she said happily, glancing back over at Tonks. “Oh, by the way, I like your hair.”
Tonks looked at her, confused, as the girl and her mother left. She fished the compact mirror her mother had forced upon her out of her pocket, seeing that a bright pink streak had appeared in her hair. Must be all the stress, she thought, trying to hurry up and fix it.
Just then, Alastor Moody entered the building, though he fortunately did not spot Tonks sitting on the bench. As she watched, he entered a nearby lift, asking for the fifth floor.
Tonks grinned, forgetting all about her cosmetic mishap as she stood up. She joined a crowd of people getting into the elevator, crowding in behind Moody carefully. By all accounts, he hadn’t even noticed her enter. She was still smiling when the voice in the elevator announced that they’d reached the fifth floor.
Perhaps my stealth skills are improving after all.
Hello there! Hope you enjoyed this little one-shot! There were several times during 2013 that I could really sympathize with what Tonks was feeling, and I decided to get my feelings out the best way I know how—through writing. It was fun to explore a new character, and I’d love to hear any feedback you have on the story in a review.
Happy New Year, everyone, and thanks for reading! :)
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