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The Unmarried Weasley by princesslily_36
Chapter 1 : The Unmarried Weasley
 
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The Hogwart’s Express

“...and if you need anything, ask Bill. Bill..? Bill... William Arthur Weasley!”

The sound of feet skidding behind him told Charlie that his beloved elder brother had made a landing. Molly Weasley was a quintessential mother - which also meant that with all the love, compassion and attention to detail came an age-old brand of mother’s wrath and passive aggression that instilled fear in all her seven children. Well, six, to be fair. His youngest sister, just on the cusp of three years, was the apple of his mother’s eye. Which, at the moment, his 13 year old brother was proving not to be, from the looks of his mother’s tirade.

A loud horn sounded, much to Bill’s visible relief. Charlie knew that sound all too well - the warning horn that beckoned all students. His mother abandoned her attention to Bill and scooped Charlie into a crushing hug.

“Mum!” he protested, his voice muffled against her coat.

“Oh, my baby, off to school already…”

“Now, now Molly… Charlie can take care of himself.”

Charlie took advantage of his mother’s loosening grip and slipped out, throwing a grateful look at his father. He dearly wished none of the other first years had seen that.

“Well, better be off, son,” said his father briskly giving his shoulder a squeeze.

Molly looked tearfully at him while absently fussing over his brother’s hair. “Write home, won’t you?”

“Of course, mum.”

A few last minute instructions were shouted out after him as he hurried after Bill, trying to pull his luggage along. Excitement bubbled deep in his stomach as he boarded the train. Bill had melted into the crowd and was nowhere to be found and Charlie was suddenly feeling quite lost. Students older and taller than him were striding along purposefully just as Bill himself had done minutes earlier, leaving him holding the luggage handle loosely and wondering which side to go. He staggered slightly backward as the train started with a jerk, and then -

CRASH!

Charlie found himself on the floor, cheek pressed against the sandy ground and something heavy on top of him.

"I am SO sorry!"

Human.That heavy thing with something poking into his back was human. Charlie scrambled to his feet, dusting himself and turned around to face his offender. Angry words died on his lips.

Pink hair?

The girl in front of him, a head shorter than him, apologizing profusely as she tried to straighten her luggage, had pink hair.

"... mum always says I need to look where I'm going. Are you alright?" Her big, round eyes peered at him concernedly.

"Er- yeah, yeah I'm good."

Her face visibly relaxed. "First year?" He nodded. "Me too!" She replied brightly, "I'm Tonks! You are?"

"Uh - Charlie Weasley. Just Tonks?"

A slight irritation crossed her features. "Just Tonks. I would rather people not call me anything else."

This girl was getting stranger by the second. He had to ask - "Er - how did you...?" He trailed off, gesturing vaguely at her hair.

Her face swiftly broke into a sheepish grin, as she glanced unconsciously behind her. "That... Mum made me swear I wouldn't do that at school, but I just couldn't help it, you know."
She suddenly screwed up her big eyes, and lips pursed as if she was making some sort of an effort. And right in front of his eyes, Tonks' hair turned brown.

"Whoa!" he exclaimed, unable to help himself.

She looked quite pleased with his reaction. "I'm a metamorphmagus," she declared. "Sometimes I like to give dear mum quite the scare. She hates it when I turn my hair pink, and I sometimes do that to annoy her. Dad gets a kick out of it, though."

He returned her mischievous smile with a friendly one of his own. He decided he liked her.

“Well, what else can you do?” he asked curiously.

“Only the hair as of now,” she replied dolefully. “I’ve been working on changing the shape of my nose, but all I can get it to do is this.”

She screwed up her face yet again, and her nose turned a bright red. He laughed out loud, but she didn’t seem to mind. She shrugged, and another jerk of the train caused her to knock down her luggage.

“Shall we find a compartment?” asked Charlie as he helped her straighten her trunk. She nodded, dragging it down the corridor.

“So which house do you think you’ll be?” she asked conversationally.

“My entire family’s been in Gryffindor,” he declared proudly. “You?”

“I haven’t really thought about it,” she mused.

“Anywhere but Slytherin, right? Who wants to be downright evil?” he chuckled. The air around her changed suddenly. He could feel her stiffen next to him, and her eyes flashed.

“My mum was in Slytherin,” she replied coldly. All of a sudden she was not the girl who had just laughed at herself a couple of minutes ago.

“Er - I meant… I didn’t…” he faltered, not knowing what exactly to say, but she walked ahead of him into the compartment they were about to enter. Charlie looked after her for a moment, wishing he had kept his mouth shut. She didn’t given him a second look as she eased into the conversation already taking place.

Just Tonks was one strange girl.




The Sorting

“Tonks, Nymphadora” McGonagall’s voice rang out loud. A couple of boys beside Charlie snickered. She glared at them as she walked past, and caught Charlie’s eye. When she saw that he wasn’t mocking her, she gave him a small smile. She didn’t seem to be bear a grudge, he thought with relief. She hurried towards the stool, knocking it down in her eagerness to sit on it. Professor McGonagall pursed her lips, raising her eyebrows disapprovingly as the stool landed with a loud crash, almost startling a tiny professor off his seat. But Tonks grinned apologetically, straightened the stool and sat down, beaming. Charlie had to admire her nerve. Maybe she would be a Gryffindor…

“HUFFLEPUFF!”

Charlie joined in the applause, laughing when she dared to change the color of her hair yellow, much to the surprise of the entire Great Hall. The applause from the badgers increased, a few whistles and exclamations smattered in between. She gave him a broad grin before running off to join her table.

Nymphadora Tonks was quite the character.




Second Year

Complete with earmuffs and gloves, the entire class was focused on watching Madame Pomfrey demonstrate the correct method of repotting a mandrake. Tonks caught Charlie’s eye over the pots of very innocent looking plants, and suddenly screwed up her face, much like the crying mandrake dangling from Sprout’s hands. Her nose suddenly turned into a pig snout, and Charlie let out a scream of laughter. Fortunately neither he, nor anyone else heard him. Tonks was grinning impishly at him, her nose back to normal.

Mitchell Caddock nudged him from behind, raising his eyebrows questioningly. Charlie grinned at his best friend, shrugging.

As the class progressed, Tonks seemed highly tickled by the crying Mandrakes, and at a point even tried to hold one like his mother used to hold a baby. It would have seemed quite thoughtful, if it hadn’t tried to bite off a chunk of her nose.
Even as she was being chided away to the Hospital Wing by a very exasperated Professor Sprout, Tonks managed to turn her ears to resemble that of a Mandrake.

Nymphadora Tonks sure was a lot of fun.




Third Year

“Say, Weasley,” started Drake, the Gryffindor team captain, as the team made its way to the field. “Isn’t that your friend from Hufflepuff? She their new seeker?”

Charlie shifted his broom from one hand to another, looking in the direction he was pointing. Tonks smiled brightly and waved at him. He raised his chin in acknowledgement, glancing at his teammates nervously. They’d take the mickey out of him if they saw him talking to someone from the opposing team, especially if it was a girl. Mitchell Caddock hadn’t let him forget that time he had caught him in the library with Tonks.

After the game -

“Hey, Charlie!”

“Hey, Tonks!” He grinned at her, feeling exceptionally cocky. He had caught the snitch less than fifteen minutes into the game, making it the shortest ever Quidditch match Hogwarts had seen in six years, according to Drake.

“Good game!” she congratulated heartily. Her shoulder length hair was yellow with black highlights - her team colours.

“You’re wearing the wrong colours,” he gloated, pointing to her hair.

She made a face at him. “We were two goals up on you before you caught the snitch, you know,” she replied grudgingly.

“Well, the better man won,” he puffed out his chest.

Person. Better person,” she stressed.

“So you admit it,” he chuckled, pleased that she had taken his bait.

“You’re one slimy git, Weasley,” she chided him laughingly. “That trick on the field was bordering on low.”

“What trick?” he asked innocently, knowing full well what she was referring to.

She wasn’t having any of that. She raised her eyebrows knowingly.

“Watch out for me at the next game, Weasley,” she hissed. Her tone was serious but her expressive eyes melted away any threat she hoped to put across. Charlie couldn’t help snickering, and a flicker of irritation crossed her eyes, before being replaced by a reluctant grin.

“See you around, Weasel.” She jogged away before he could swipe at her with his broom.

“Sure, Nymphadora,” he called out, laughing as she stuck her tongue out at him before turning around the bend.

As he made his way to the common room, Charlie couldn’t help remembering the way she had moved on the broom - uncharacteristically agile, without a trace of the clumsiness that usually provided for an explosion or two during classes.

Nymphadora Tonks was definitely unique.




Fourth Year

Charlie spotted Tonks with her friends outside Honeydukes. Him, Caddock and Kepner were discussing the latest Quidditch League updates, arguing over which team had the best chance at topping the table that year. The voices around him seemed to fade as they neared the Hufflepuff girls. Her hair had grown longer since the previous year, halfway down her back. It was her natural brown today.

“Charlie,” she exclaimed brightly when she spotted him. A warm feeling spread across his chest.

“Hey, Tonks,” he acknowledged.

“Weasley,” her friend Leslie addressed him, “I thought you were here with Griffiths?” She looked around, as if expecting to see Sarah Griffiths pop out from behind a tree or something.

Dennis Kepner gave him an exasperated look. Charlie knew exactly why. He and Sarah Griffiths had been flirting back and forth for a while now, and Dennis was the one who had egged him on to ask her out. Charlie had decided against it in the last minute, but not before all the rumors had already taken off.

“Well, Charlie here had other interests,” supplied Mitchell, rolling his eyes towards Tonks in a not-so-subtle manner. Charlie glared at Mitchell. He had already scoffed at Mitch’s theory that he fancied Tonks and hence didn’t want to go out with Griffiths. It was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. Him, fancy Tonks indeed! She was his closest friend, but that was all.

But somehow, standing there having Tonks look at him with her big brown eyes, her hair falling across her face, and her cheeks flushed from all the walking, it started to seem slightly less ridiculous. The warm feeling spread to his stomach as the groups parted ways, and she turned around to give him a small smile, unnoticed by the rest of them.

“I heard McCain asked her out,” said Mitch pointedly.

“What?” Charlie turned his eyes away from where Tonks was being approached by a few members of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.

“Samuel McCain, that Hufflepuff Keeper. I heard he asked your Tonks out.”

“She’s not my Tonks,” retorted Charlie, defensively. “And since when?”

“Word around is that they’ve been going out since the last match against Slytherin,” replied Dennis Kepner. “She didn’t tell you?”

She hadn’t. He had seen her during the Hufflepuff team practices at the Quidditch pitch a couple times after that match, and she hadn’t said a word. Now that he thought about it, she had not displayed her usual agility and been quite distracted during the Quaffle passes, letting easy ones fall through her fingers. He had just chalked it up to tiredness back then, but now he wasn’t so sure. He glanced back at Tonks, and sure enough she was laughing with McCain. Charlie’s stomach twisted unpleasantly as he saw McCain gazing at her with a sickening, sloppy expression that was a disgrace to blokes across the world. Tonks wouldn’t go out with that bloke, would she? But judging from her reactions, she wasn’t as repulsed by McCain as Charlie was. He decided that McCain was an idiot, and if Tonks liked him, she was one too.
Maybe it was time he asked Sarah Griffiths out.

Charlie tried really hard not to look at Tonks as they walked past the group on their way up to the castle. He could see her trying to catch his eye, but he didn’t feel like smiling at her right then. As he neared the common room, his mind wandered to his earlier meeting with Tonks. He couldn’t blame McCain.

Nymphadora Tonks had become, what some might call, pretty.

*~*

“This is easily the best spot in the whole castle,” whispered Tonks.

He just smiled in response, as the wind threw itself against him, threatening to push him off the ledge with it’s force. It was almost past midnight, and he and Tonks had climbed on to the roof outside the window of the Astronomy Tower.

It had been weeks since they had actually spent time with each other, but he would rather jump off that roof than admit to her that he missed her. Earlier, when she had slipped him a note in herbology asking him to meet her here, an unfamiliar thrill had run through him. Much like now when he saw her wrestling with her flying hair, losing the battle to the wind.

“Here,” he chuckled, gathering up her long tresses in his hand and holding it long enough for her to roll it up into a bun and stick her wand through it. She beamed at him triumphantly, causing him to laugh further.

“What?” she looked at him quizzically.

“N-Nothing,” he wheezed between laughs.

“Tell me,” she urged, pulling at his shirt, causing him to slightly lose his balance. He steadied himself, the movement causing him to shift slightly closer to her.

“Well,” he grinned devilishly at her, “just you, sitting there in your PJs, tiny face, big round eyes and wand sticking out of your head… you look like a cartoon!”

Tonks reached out and punched him playfully as he continued to snicker.

“You look like a… a…”

“A what?” he prompted, enjoying watching her fail at coming up with an appropriate insult.

“A flobberworm!” she finished with flourish.

He launched into laughter once again. “That… makes… no… sense…” he breathed, clutching his stomach, and wiping tears from his eyes.

“Go away,” she muttered reluctantly, trying to push him away. He draped one arm over her shoulder, pulling her closer into a one-armed hug.

“Hey,” he said, holding on tighter as she resisted sulkily. “I was joking.” His voice sounded hoarse from all the laughing.

“Yeah right.” She had stopped struggling though.

Even as she glared at him, the words came out of his mouth without as much as a second thought. “You’re really pretty, you know.”

He could see her expression change from annoyance to confusion, with a hint of trepidation - almost as if she could read his mind. Her face was so close. A true Gryffindor acts before thinking, and that’s just what Charlie did right then.

His heart hammered against his chest as his lips closed over hers. He brought his hand to her cheek as she leaned into him. Her skin felt exceptionally soft under his rough, calloused palms, and she sighed into his mouth when he stroked the back of her neck. The temperature had risen considerably, and he wasn’t feeling cold anymore. He snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her closer, when, all of a sudden, she drew back.

Her face was flushed, her lips slightly swollen, looking more kissable than ever. Charlie’s heart continued to race as he searched her eyes for answers.

“Tonks…” he whispered.

“This is wrong,” she breathed. “We’re friends.” Her voice sounded thick.

“What?”

“We can’t…” she broke off, extricating herself from his arms gently, and moving a few spaces away from him. All of a sudden, the warmth was sucked out and the temperature seemed to drop a good few degrees. She took a deep breath. “You’re with Griffiths, and I’m with McCain.”

Charlie would break up with Sarah right now if she said the word. He opened his mouth to say so, but she cut him off.

“Let’s just forget this happened.”

As he watched her back retreat down the Astronomy Tower, he chose to stay on the roof and reflect on what had just happened.

Nymphadora Tonks was an enigma.

*~*

It was becoming increasingly difficult spending time with her. Not that it was awkward, no. She made sure of that, pretending it never happened. Perhaps it was all for the better. Initially he was relieved at the prospect of not having to deal with the fact that he had in essence made a move, and she had rejected him. It was easier to pretend this way. Or so he had thought.

Time was supposed to heal, not impede. He was beginning to find that kissing Griffiths did not provide the excitement that kissing Tonks had. He was beginning to come to terms with the fact that Tonks was indeed extremely attractive, more so because she didn’t even realize it. She had broken up with McCain, or so the rumors said. That week, Charlie threw his heart and soul into the best game he had ever played. And Tonks was there right in front of the crowd cheering him on.

Things started to look up as their friendship was renewed with newfound vigor. But his stomach had started to do strange flip flops every time they made the slightest of physical contact. He just grinned and bore on, not daring to hope every time she threw an arm around him, or gave him a surreptitious wink before performing one of her metamorphmagus transformations. He cherished the times their eyes would meet across the classroom, or the quidditch pitch, or the Great Hall, and they each knew what the other was thinking.

It was friendship, he told himself over and over again. Best friends can read each other’s minds, have inside jokes and share secrets. That’s what they had been doing. Or was it?

He had also noticed that she wasn’t being as forthright with him as before. He didn’t know if it was true or he was being paranoid, but there were times when he felt she wasn’t disclosing everything. Like when the subject of relationships came up, she would be vague, and steer the conversation to something completely different. That suited Charlie well enough. He didn’t want to know that she fancied someone else.

Everything was working out perfectly fine, they were best friends again and Charlie was succeeding in pushing his thoughts down (It is just hormonal, normal teenage bloke thoughts , he justified)

Until one day, he was returning from a detention with Snape and accidentally witnessed something in a dark corner of the corridor.

Nymphadora Tonks was snogging another boy.




Fifth Year

“Charlie! Wait!”

He halted, hearing her feet falling in shorter, louder intervals. He waited until he knew she was right behind him before he turned around.

“What?” he raised his eyebrows questioningly.

She blinked. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” he muttered, averting his eyes.

“Don’t lie to me!” she said fiercely. Her eyes were flashing, and her hair had become an alarming shade of red.

“What do you want me to say?” he asked defensively.

“Why did you do that to Eddie?”

“I was just doing my job.” He couldn’t help grinning. Red hair suited her.

She was beginning to get annoyed, just like he knew she would. “Knocking people off the broom is a Beater’s job. Last time I checked you were Seeker.” She crossed her arms across her chest. Charlie tried not to focus on what that action did to her breasts.

“It’s Quidditch. Happens. He’ll survive,” he replied dismissively, meeting her gaze defiantly.

“It wasn’t a match. Just a friendly practice session, and that wasn’t warranted,” her eyes narrowed at him.

“Why do you care so much about dear Eddie?” shot back Charlie, unable to hold back any longer.

She glared at him. “You know why.”

“Oh, that’s right,” his voice dripped with sarcasm, and before he could think about it the next few words came blurting out of his mouth. “You’re shagging him, aren’t you. Tell me, Tonks, does dear Eddie fumble like that in bed as well?”

She didn’t even pause for a second before planting a resounding slap across his cheek. She turned on her heel and walked away from him. Her bright red hair gave the impression of sparks emitting from the top of her head.

“Tonks! Tonks!” he called after her, instantly regretting his words. But she continued to walk away. He jogged after her.

“Tonks,” he panted, halting her with his hand. “I -”

She turned to face him, and he noticed something in her face, something he had never seen before.

“I’m -”

“Save it, Weasley,” she cut in coolly. “And stay away from me.”

Her low, harsh tone rendered him speechless, and she took advantage of his silence to walk away, leaving him to kick the wall in his frustration.

Nymphadora Tonks had too much pride to forgive him for this.

*~*

It had been months since they had even looked each other in the eye. Charlie had wanted to apologize to her, but every time he saw her with that Edgar, holding hands or even simply talking, anger bubbled through his stomach and he wanted to hurt her. Her, not him. He couldn’t blame Edgar for wanting to be with Tonks, but he could sure as hell blame her for being with that loser. He didn’t dare confess these thoughts to Mitch or Dennis, because it wasn’t right, what he was feeling.

Unfortunately, he had long since come to terms with the fact that he fancied Tonks.

He hated that her gregarious character drew the fancy of so many blokes that it made him feel one of that crowd of idiots she kept turning down.

He hated that they weren’t even friends anymore, that he didn’t have any meetings at the library in the pretext of homework or a friendly Hogsmeade trip to look forward to.

He hated that she had cut her hair shorter, wore it golden brown for the most part, that it complemented her heart shaped face and her round eyes in ways that disturbed his sleep.

He hated that Dennis and Mitch kept setting him up with different girls in an attempt to get him to take his mind off of Tonks.

He hated that he kept snogging and even shagging other girls in the hope that he would forget about Tonks, and that momentarily, he did.

Most of all, he hated one thing -

Nymphadora Tonks thought the worst of him.




Sixth Year

It was quite late in the evening and Charlie was tending to Hagrid’s Hippogriffs. It was chilly outside, but he didn’t seem to mind. The outdoors calmed him down, and he definitely needed that after the week he had had. What girls and his friends couldn’t do, Magical Creatures and some fresh outdoors air certainly would.

“I thought I’d find you here.”

Charlie almost dropped the bucket of meat he was holding. That was the last voice he expected to hear addressing him directly for the first time in over a year.

“Heard you got Quidditch Captain.”

He shrugged, wondering what she was doing here.

“Congratulations.” She had her hands in her pockets and shifted her weight from one foot to another.

“Thanks.”

“And congratulations on-”

“What do you want?” he cut her off. He expected her to look hurt at the harshness in his voice, but she stood there, wearing a knowing expression, as if she had expected it. He had almost forgotten how well she knew him.

She sighed and hugged her arms as a gust of cold breeze came their way. “I want to be friends again,” she replied bluntly.
His eyebrows raised, and he was taken aback at her forthrightness. Then again, that was Tonks. Looking at her, bathed in the soft twilight, Charlie felt the rush of feelings from two years ago return to him.

“Why now?”

She shrugged, kicking at the ground in front of her. “Just because.”

“You never do anything just because,” he accused.

She met his gaze defiantly. “Maybe I do,” she replied forcefully, trying to tame the tendrils the wind kept snatching up. Charlie was forcefully reminded of another night - a night he had spent months trying to forget.

“Friends?” He raised his eyebrows. She nodded. “Just because?” he repeated, and she nodded once again. “You sought me out, at this hour, in this manner, to ask to be friends again?”

“Yeah…” she trailed off uncertainly.

Without another word, he turned his back to her and continued to feed the Hippogriffs. For a few moments, only the far away rustle of the leaves, and the low whistle of the wind circling them could be heard.

“What do you say?” she started tentatively.

He whipped around. “What do you want me to say?” She started slightly at the intensity in his voice. He hated that he couldn’t keep his emotion out of it, he hated that she brought it all to the surface. “That we can be friends?” She stared at him wordlessly. “I can’t. Not after everything.”

“After what?” she demanded. “If I remember right, you were out of line. And I have decided to let it go.”

“If I remember right,” he mocked her tone, “I apologized a year ago. And seeing as you are so good at forgetting things ever happened and moving on, I’m surprised it took you so long.”

“What are you talking about?” She seemed genuinely confused now. The fact that she didn’t even know what she was talking about only incensed him further.

“Oh Merlin, Tonks! Are you really that stupid?” he cried, running his hand through his hair in frustration. “I hope you still don’t have the dream of wanting to be an Auror. They don’t take the dumb ones at the academy you know.”

Her face grew redder. “I can’t believe I ever missed you, moron.”

“I thought girls were supposed to be perceptive,” he replied scornfully, turning his face away.

“You’re an idiot,” she exasperated. He smiled wryly to himself. Of course he was. He was an idiot to think she would ever realize. “I broke up with Eddie Gareth,” she added after a pause.

“Why would I care?” he tried to sound nonchalant despite the glimmer of joy that passed through him.

“He didn’t get me.”

“I don’t blame him,” he continued in the same tone.

“He thought I looked good as a blonde.”

“He should have gone for Frieda Zeller instead.”

“That’s what I said.”

Their eyes locked, and he saw a hint of smile tug at the corner of her lips.

“So what now? You broke up with Gareth and suddenly remembered I exist, yeah?”

“Something like that, maybe,” she replied not taking her eyes off him. There was something about her expression he wasn’t able to read - a mixture of mischief and determination. That slight thrust of her chin was a dead giveaway that she was onto something.

“I’m nobody’s second choice,” he replied haughtily.

“I didn’t say you were.”

“Or third.”

“What?” she frowned.

“I remember McCain.”

“You’re an idiot, Charlie Weasley!” She shook her head, and turned to leave.

“So, friends, huh?” He called after her, unable to stop the smile that cracked across his face.

She looked over her shoulder at him. “Something like that, yeah,” she shouted back, giving him the smallest of winks before continuing to walk away. Charlie couldn’t stop grinning as he watched the sway of her hips, knowing full well she was deliberately doing that for his benefit.

Nymphadora Tonks knew the art of persuasion.




Seventh Year

Blood pounding through his ears, Charlie fell back to the pillows, trying to catch his breath. He felt the bed dip slightly next to him, and turned around to see that Tonks was already sitting up. Propping himself up by his elbow, he reached out and tugged at the sheets she was holding to cover her chest.

“Leaving already?”

“Where did you throw my bra?” she asked, sweeping her hair away from her face.

“Nobody is going to disturb us you know, my dorm mates have gone home for Easter.” He pulled her towards him by the waist. “We have all day,” he murmured, pressing kisses to the side of her neck. “And night,” he whispered in her ear, causing her to shiver slightly.

“Stop distracting me, Charlie,” she protested, sighing as he moved his lips down her throat. “I really need to get that essay done for McGonagall.”

“Mhmmm?” His lips moved lower, and Tonks gave up protesting.

Many deliciously glorious moments later, Tonks pressed her forehead against his, her breaths coming out in pants to match his. He should have known she had a wild side. She pulled herself off him, a satiated smile on her face, reaching out for her clothes.

“So,” she started, pulling her shirt down her head. “I wanted to talk to you about something.” He faced her questioningly. “Have you… uhm… thought about, you know, what you want to do next?”

“Sure,” he grinned cockily, snaking an arm around her waist.

“Not that,” she slapped his hand away, standing up and turning to face him. “I meant after Hogwarts. Your career,” she explained.

“Probably travel the world on the back of a Hippogriff,” he winked playfully.

“Charles Weasley, I’m serious!” she snapped.

“It’s so hard to take you seriously when you’re not wearing any pants,” he chuckled.

“Urgh!” she exhaled in frustration. “I’m applying for Auror Academy. I don’t know if I’ll get in, my Transfiguration and Potions grades aren’t really up to the mark, to be honest. But if I do... ” she trailed off. Charlie looked into her eyes, wide with concern and worry.

“If I do get in, it’ll mean less time for us, but at least we’ll both be in England for the most part. I mean, your Quidditch Training Camp is in London isn’t it…”

“Tonks…” he cut her off quietly. “I’m not going to Quidditch Camp.”

Her hands stilled midway of buttoning her pants. He sighed, knowing he had to have the conversation he had been putting off for the past few months.

“What?”

“I’m not going to Quidditch Camp,” he repeated. “I’ve… er… Professor Kettleburn asked me to apply for a Fellowship. To study Dragons.”

She stared at him.

“It’s really competitive,” he rushed, “and Kettleburn doesn’t even know if I’ll get in. I mean, there are loads of applicants who live near Romania, they would obviously be considered -”

“Romania?”

He grew silent.

She seemed to be struggling to find the right words. “When… were you going to tell me about this?”

“I don’t know if I will get in,” he implored. “It’s the same with your Auror Academy.”

“No it’s not,” anger was starting to line her voice. “I’m not moving to Romania.”

“Neither am I. Not yet, at least!”

“But you do plan to. Didn’t you think you should have mentioned it, oh I don’t know, before you applied?” she said, ignoring his words.

“Tonks… I didn’t think-”

“Of course you didn’t think! Here I am, like a fool, thinking we were in a committed relationship, while all along, to you, I have been nothing but a choice.” Her eyes were beginning to well up.

“That’s not fair-”

“Don’t you talk to me about fair!” Tears were streaming down her face as she stomped out of his dormitory, her long pink hair fading into bright red as they always did when she got angry.

Charlie dropped his head into his hands. This was the lowest he had ever felt. In all the years he had known Tonks, he had never seen her cry. And today he had been the reason for her tears. They had never talked about the future, and he had just assumed that, given her playful nature, she just enjoyed having fun. He never thought of the possibility that -

Nymphadora Tonks wanted a future with him.




Last Day

Leaving Hogwarts wasn’t something students thought of as reality, until it became one. He was feeling unusually nostalgic as he took in his dorm for the last time, the Great Hall, the classrooms the corridors… His classmates were busy exchanging addresses and taking pictures, the girls hugging each other tearfully, and boys behaving extra boisterous… almost as if savoring the last few days of boyhood before they emerged as men into the world.

He walked purposefully to the lakeside where she was waiting for him... just like he had asked her to. They hadn’t wanted to spend the last few months together fighting. It was her idea, and he had gladly taken it. Topic of the future was off the table until the last day, but it hadn’t been off his mind.

She threw her arms around his neck when he approached her, and kissed her like she had never been kissed before. Tears filled her eyes when she drew back. He knew why, but he wasn’t feeling it. He had reason to be excited instead.

“This is it,” she was saying. “I got in, Charlie, the Auror Academy…”

“Listen, about that-” he started eagerly.

“No, let me finish, please,” she cut in. He remained silent, waiting for her to finish. Because what he had to say, had to be said at the end. “I was wrong to expect you to decide your career based on me. I should have known you better, hell, I knew you better. You will never be happy with a regular life - you like change, excitement. You always dreamed about travelling the world. You deserve that Fellowship, and you should take it.”

“Yeah, about that-”

“We could never last. At the end of the day, you crave change, and I crave stability. We had fun, a lot of fun, and I could never forget you. But I would never be happy if I knew I was going to tie you down.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“I don’t want to part ways on a sad note,” her voice was beginning to break, but her eyes remained clear and resolute. “This isn’t the end of a relationship, but the reunion of a great friendship.”

“Friendship?”

“Yeah,” she gave a small smile and took a step back from him. She stuck out her hand. “Goodbye, Charlie.”

He looked down at the hand she offered, and clasped it within his, almost mechanically. “Goodbye, Tonks,” he replied in a voice he couldn’t even recognize as his.

She walked away from him, for the last time. He slipped his hand into his pocket, his fingers coming in contact with cold metal. He pulled out an engagement ring. It was a few months too late.

Nymphadora Tonks didn’t want a future with him anymore.




6 Years Later

Thunder resounded outside, as rain pelted against his windows. A loud knock rapped on his door. Charlie set down his glass of scotch and went to answer it.

“Tonks!” He exclaimed, staring at the slopping wet figure at his doorstep. She had put on a few years, her hair was much shorter than he remembered, and her once-expressive eyes seemed sunken, heavily lined with dark circles that made her look older than she was. She looked like a haunted version of the lively girl he had once hoped to marry.

“Are you going to invite me in, or what?” she demanded, her teeth chattering in the cold, her brown hair wet and sticking to her head.. He couldn’t help smirking at how little her attitude had changed over the years. He closed the door behind her and turned to see her drying herself off with her wand. She walked purposefully to the counter, not bothering to side step the clothes strewn over the floor.

“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting visitors,” he said pointedly.

She picked up his open bottle of scotch and took a sip. “No, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have shown up without warning,” she replied fairly. There was something odd about her speech.

“Are you drunk?” He raised an eyebrow.

She raised her chin defiantly at him. “So what if I am?”

He grinned. “I should have known. Drunk Tonks is unusually coordinated.”

He expected her to crack a smile at least, but her face remained grim as she took another huge gulp of his scotch.

“That’s enough now,” he hastened to wrench the bottle away from her. She pouted a little, and then resigned, jumping up to sit on top of the dining table, upsetting the plate of unfinished food he had left there earlier. “What brings you here?”

“Voldemort’s back,” she announced, crossing her legs on the table.

“That was a year ago.” He replied, placing the plate away from harm’s way.

“Dumbledore wants you back in England with the rest of the Order.” Her eyes were staring unseeingly at his kitchen cabinet.

“You could have sent a letter.” He crossed his arms and leaned against the counter.

“Are you coming back?” she demanded.

“Maybe.”

She sighed and looked at him properly for the first time since she arrived, and he noticed with a start that she looked troubled. “I’m in love, Charlie,” she whispered.

“What?”

“I’m in love,” she repeated.

The words went through his heart like a knife. “Who’s the lucky bloke?” He was unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

“Remus… Lupin.” The words seemed to be torn out of her mouth, and he couldn't read the expression on her face.

“I’m happy for you,” he replied stoically.

“I just… wanted you to know… before you…”

He couldn’t bear to look at her. “Came back?”

She nodded, her eyes reflecting the pain he was currently feeling.

“I don’t think I will.”

“But why?” She sounded genuinely surprised.

He looked her square in the eye. “You know why,” he replied, irritated.

Heavy silence. “I didn’t know you were going to propose that day,” she whispered, sounding sincerely apologetic.

“I was young and stupid,” he retorted dismissively. He didn’t want to talk about any of that.

“Mitch told me only much later.”

“Would it have changed anything?”

“I… don’t know…” she slurred, closing her eyes. The next few moments passed in silence, save for the pitter patter of the raindrops against the glass panes.

Something struck him at the next clap of thunder. “Why are you drunk?”

“I’m in love,” she repeated.

“You already said that,” he tried not to sound exasperated. Her eyes suddenly filled with tears.

And then, without further prompting, she told him everything. How Lupin was a werewolf, and how her cousin Sirius Black had told her how Lupin felt about her, how she had spent months trying to get Lupin to admit, how when she finally did it he had pulled away from her, how she was scared for his safety, how he had told her he loved her and then disappeared underground for six months without contact, how he was refusing to admit his true feelings.

“... and I just can’t seem to function, you know. I live every day in fear of hearing the news of his death. This is all just too much to take!”

Charlie had remained silent throughout. A twinge of jealousy gnawed at his stomach, but he was not a teenager anymore. He could no longer afford to find satisfaction knocking her boyfriends off their brooms, or throwing an ‘accidental’ hex or two their way. He had never seen her so passionate about anything, or anyone before. One look at her stricken face decided it for him. For once in his life, he had to do the right thing by her. He clasped his hand over hers.

“Nymphadora Tonks,” he started, smiling when she winced at the use of her much hated first name. “When the occasion calls for it, you can be pragmatic like a Ravenclaw, brave like a Gryffindor, determined like a Slytherin…”

She opened her mouth to interrupt but he spoke over her. “...but your best and most wonderful quality is that you can hope like a Hufflepuff. You always remain positive, even at the worst of times. That’s what ties all your other qualities together. You need to summon your inner badger, and keep going at it. No bloke is going to be able to say no to you for long. And I’m not just talking about that hot body of yours,” he added with a wink.

She broke into a watery smile and hugged him. “Thank you,” she whispered in his ear.

He swallowed, squeezing his eyes shut, trying not to inhale the scent of her wet hair pressed against his cheek. “What are friends for?”

She pulled back, jumped off the table, almost toppling it over in the process (‘I’m sorry, really’). and turned on the spot, apparating out with a crack. He stared at the place she had stood just moments before.

Nymphadora Tonks could never love him the way she did Remus Lupin.




Author's Note:

Hello there my lovely readers!

Thank you for sticking with me through that really long one-shot. Despite the prompt, I couldn't bear to stray away from canon, and Remus/Tonks are my Second OTP. I could never break or tarnish that! I'd love to know what you all think of this story.

A BIG shout out to the sweet Kenny (StarFeather) for his invaluable feedback and comments that helped shape this fic.

To the wonderful Nhaz whose insights are ever so amazing, and added a whole new dimension to this tale.

Loads of hugs to the very lovely Bianca (victoria_anne) for her encouragement, beta skills and giving me feedback even while I was writing it. I couldn't have done this without you B!

Also, this story is written as a gift to the wonderful, amazing, sweet, lovely, kind, beautiful Gina (Unwritten Curse) during the Staff Appreciation Week because she's one of the lovely staffers who works so hard to make this site the wonderful place we enjoy today. Also, she's one of my dearest friends on the forums, the strongest person I know and a Gryffindor through and through! This one's for you, dear!

Leave a review, folks!
~Ysh




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