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Jinxed Hearts by Emcnary
Chapter 30 : Chapter 30
 
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After successfully avoiding any questions about Remus from Sirius on her way out of Headquarters—he was getting read to take care of his feathered friend when she was leaving—Tonks stepped through the Floo to Edith’s flat. She let her neighbor fuss over her after Tonks relayed that she’d yet to eat dinner, not complaining when Edith offered to warm up leftovers for both of them from the meal she’d made Mad-Eye the night before.

 

“I’m still shocked he lets you cook for him,” Tonks said around a bite of chicken and rice.

 

“All he needs is to be able to inspect my ingredients and watch me prepare the food,” Edith replied with a smile. “After a career like his, I can allow him those things.”

 

Tonks nodded in response, well aware of the depth of her mentor’s paranoia. She looked across the small two-person table Edith kept in her kitchen and smiled at the faraway look in the woman’s eyes. “How’s it going between you and Mad-Eye?”

 

“Quite well, I believe,” she replied with a grin. “Although, he can be hard to read.”

 

Tonks snorted. “He’s letting you cook for him. Believe me, it’s going well.”

 

Edith laughed lightly. “Good to know. Has he…” She shook her head slightly as if thinking better of asking her question.

 

Tonks thought wryly that new relationships were the same whether you were a seventh year or in your seventies; it was always hard to know exactly where you stood and what the other person was thinking.

 

“I haven’t seen him much in the last week with work and guarding our friend you helped me with,” Tonks said. “But I’ll do some undercover work for you to find out just what he thinks.”

 

“Don’t pester him over an old cow like me,” Edith said with a wink.

 

“It’ll be fun,” Tonks said with a shrug as she scraped the last bit of her dinner from her plate. “I haven’t had a chance to bother him properly for ages now that he’s not technically my mentor anymore.”

 

With a flick of her wand, Edith sent their dishes to the sink. “I almost forgot to ask how our friend is faring after you whisked him away last week.”

 

“From what Ab—” Tonks paused, realizing she shouldn’t give away too much. “He shouldn’t be with us too much longer. Reckon he’s going to be relocated.”

 

After standing from her seat, Edith filled the kettle and set it on her cooker before tapping it with her wand. She shooed Tonks into the sitting area, joining her a minute later with a tray full of tea things.

 

“I know all about your Order, young lady,” Edith said primly as she settled on the sofa and poured them both tea. “The first go-round, it didn’t have to be so secret since the Minister wasn’t such a ridiculous prat as the current one.”

 

Tonks busied herself with adding milk to her tea, knowing that she shouldn’t comment too much on the subject.

 

“And your Mr. Lupin?” Edit asked, deftly changing the subject. “If I’m not mistaken, it was the full moon last night. Did he...require your assistance?”

 

Taking a sip of her tea, Tonks smiled at the raised eyebrows and not-so-hidden meaning of her new friend’s words. “I think it’s all too new for him to let me help him much,” she said cautiously.

 

“Did you not see him today? I know you can’t travel by Floo from your flat to mine.”

 

Tonks laughed. Her neighbor’s nosy habits certainly weren’t fading as they got to know one another. “I may have come from my parents’ house, for all you know.”

 

Edith shook her head before taking a sip of her tea. “Oh, no, dear. One doesn’t have a smile on their face the way you did when they’ve come round from their parents’.” She placed her teacup in its saucer and sat back on the sofa. “Have you told him how you feel?”

 

Tonks crinkled her brow in confusion. “What?”

 

“You love him.”

 

Tonks gaped at Edith. If it was that obvious to someone she’d only recently met, how obvious was it to the rest of the world that she cared that deeply for Remus. She’d only that day been able to admit her true feelings to herself. Could she admit them outloud to Edith?

 

“I-I—”

 

“I was once young and in love,” she said in a dreamy voice. “I recognize it all over your face. It’s all right. I’ll keep your secret if you want it kept quiet.”

 

“I only admitted it to myself an hour ago,” Tonks said. “Let’s not scare Remus off just yet, shall we?”

 

Edith laughed as she refilled their tea. “All men are afraid of something, dear. Whether it’s commitment, or intimacy, or some other absurd thing. The men we’ve chosen simply happen to have larger things to worry about...such as allowing someone new in their life to be in their personal space.”

 

Tonks couldn’t help but laugh loudly at the older woman’s statement. “The first time I tried to hug Mad-Eye, he Stunned me.”

 

Laughingly, Edith said, “Yes, he told me. Luckily, I warned him before I attempted to kiss his cheek.”

 

The rest of the evening passed enjoyably as Tonks and Edith laughed and drank tea far later into the evening than she’d intended. Since she stayed to chat well past her bedtime, Tonks was thankful there wasn’t anyone waiting to complicate the remainder of her evening once she’d crossed the hall to her flat.

 

The following day, when she arrived at the Ministry, there was a memo waiting for Tonks in her cubicle to see Kingsley as soon as she arrived. She walked into his office and shut the door, warding it since his request likely had to do with Order business.

 

“Wotcher, lo—” Tonks caught herself from calling him love. Based on their last conversation, it was a habit she obviously needed to break. “What do you need, mate?”

 

Kingsley shook his head at Tonks, but gave a small smile. “Word is Williamson has a lead to follow today at the Poison Quill.”

 

Tonks froze inwardly, but tried to keep a neutral expression in front of Kingsley. Even within the Order, Dumbledore had asked her to keep her mission quiet.

 

“What’s the lead?” she asked.

 

“I think he followed Murphy there one night,” Kingsley said watching her carefully. “Didn’t go in at the time because he didn’t have a cover or a partner. I think he wants to ask the barman if he’s seen Murphy.” Kingsley fixed his gaze on Tonks. “He still in Order custody?”

 

Tonks nodded. “I’m not sure for how long. I think Dumbledore’s sending him off to the Continent.”

 

“A few dead ends and hopefully we can call it a cold case,” Kingsley said. “Let me know if you’ll need time this afternoon to help brief anyone else about your interviews.”

 

An hour later, Tonks found herself in the grubby pub staring across the bar at a disheveled Paul Quigley as her partner for the day, Henry Williamson, introduced them and stated their purpose. Not wanting to speak too much to Quigley—her Lancashire accent was good, but she didn’t use a charm to disguise her voice while assuming the identity of Piper—she was happy to let Henry take the lead in the interview.

 

“Have you seen this man recently?” Henry asked as he produced a picture of Murphy.

 

“He’s been lurking around a bit,” Quigley answered, clearly annoyed with their presence. “Why do you ask?”

 

“He’s missing, and we’re trying to locate him.”

 

Quigley huffed and shook his head. “If he’s missing, you’re unlikely to find him.”

 

“Why do you say that?”

 

“The company he’s been keeping is a rough crowd,” Quigley said as he slid Murphy’s picture across the bar.

 

Henry took the picture and placed it back in his robes and said, “I’m going to need some of the names of this crowd.”

 

“Well, that’s a problem for you because I’m not keen on ending up dead because I talked to a couple of Aurors,” Quigley said, his gaze flitting between Tonks and Henry.

 

Henry stared at Quigley for a moment. Tonks knew what was coming next; in any normal interview, it would be her next move as well.

 

“Then I’ll issue a citation for failure to cooperate with an Auror investigation,” Henry said.

 

“No matter,” Quigley said with a shrug. “Knockturn isn’t so picky as Diagon Alley. They’ll let me operate even with a citation.”

 

“Off the record, then,” Tonks piped up. She was pretty sure that even off the record Quigley was unlikely to give them the names of the Death Eaters they’d need to interview. She didn’t blame him, really. With the Ministry pretending like You-Know-Who wasn’t back and allowing the Death Eaters to act as regular citizens, why should he talk? To get himself killed when the Auror department wouldn’t even be allowed to pursue them properly?

 

Quigley scoffed. “The only thing I’m telling you, even off the record, is that I hired a girl a few weeks back to help when the rough crowd shows up.”

 

Bugger!

 

“She might be able to tell you something about the idiot who’s missing,” Quigley finished.

 

“You hired a girl to handle a crowd of ex-Death Eaters?” Henry asked, unable to hide the disgust in his voice.

 

Quigley crossed his arms over his chest and replied, “She knew the job when I hired her. Besides, the little I’ve seen, she handles herself just fine.”

 

Henry shook his head pulled a piece of parchment from his robes. “Write down her name and address.”

 

Quigley eyed the parchment for a moment with a look of confusion. He shook his head slightly and Tonks held her breath as she watched him carefully. The last thing she needed was for him to question anything about Piper Smyth and the reason why she worked in his pub. She had barely scratched the surface of what she could learn about the goings on at the Quill. Severus’ Confundus Charm needed to hold, and Piper needed to be able to return.

 

“Tell us how you contact her,” Tonks said, hoping her question would lead Quigley away from wondering why he didn’t know the woman’s address.

 

Quigley shook his head once more and looked up to Tonks. “I send her an owl when I need her and she shows up.”

 

“All right,” Henry said as he slid the parchment across to Quigley. “Send her an owl and tell her we want to speak with her this afternoon.”

 

Shit, shit, shit.

 

Tonks thought wildly for a moment of what to do. She obviously couldn’t conduct an interview of Piper with her colleague. Torn at the thought of Confunding her colleague, but not sure what other choice she had, Tonks stood from the barstool.

 

“May I use your loo before we go?”

 

Quigley waved his hand vaguely in the direction of the bathrooms. Tonks walked around the corner of the short corridor and drew her wand. Peeking back around, she was relieved that Henry was resting his elbows against the bar and wasn’t paying attention. She knew she would have to be quick to Condund them both. With a deep breath, she pointed her wand at Henry and murmured “Confundo”, planting the thought that Piper was hired after Murphy disappeared. Satisfied when she saw Henry shiver slightly once the spell took hold, Tonks pointed her wand at Quigley and repeated the incantation, planting the same idea. Guiltily stowing her wand back in her robes, Tonks gave a fleeing look down the hall to the concealed door—wishing she had time to try a few more passwords—before she approached the bar, standing next to her partner as she watched Quigley push the piece of parchment back toward Henry.

 

“S-So...this girl,” Henry said hesitantly as he stared at the empty parchment for a moment before placing it back in his robes. “She wouldn’t have had any contact with our missing person?”

 

“That’s right,” Quigley said gruffly.

 

Henry pushed away from the bar and turned to Tonks. “Reckon we can go if he’s not willing to talk.” He turned back to Quigley. “I’m still filing that citation. And you should think harder about who you let meet in your pub.”

 

“Easy as that, is it?” Quigley asked. Tonks thought he was quite done with their interview considering the angry tone of his voice. He placed both hands on the bar and stared at Henry. “These aren’t people you say no to, boy. Especially since your boss is ignoring everything right under his nose.”

 

Tonks stared at Quigley for a moment; his usually disheveled hair and bloodshot eyes looked even worse now she really looked at him. Had the “rough crowd” visited him further over the weekend and caused him trouble? After Avery threatened him Friday night, Tonks didn’t have a hard time believing he would show up later to prove his point.

 

“Thank you for your time,” Tonks said to break the staring match between the two men.

 

Once they had reached the alley next to the pub, Henry turned to Tonks. “I don’t like that bloke.”

 

“Nobody likes that bloke,” Tonks said.

 

To her relief, Henry chuckled and said, “Reckon you’re right about that. What I don’t understand is why he brought up that girl at all. I mean, I feel like I’ve lost the plot. Didn’t he say she might know something? Then all the sudden he hired her after Murphy scarpered.”

 

Tonks felt another pang of guilt at Confunding her colleague, thinking she’d be outraged if the same thing happened to her. So far in her work for the Order, the only conflict—aside from interrogating Sturgis—had really been getting enough sleep with guard duty and work the next day. She knew she was doing the right thing, but standing there, staring at Henry, she felt absolutely wretched.

 

Tonks swallowed thickly and said as casually as possible, “Quigley probably threw her name out there so you’d be less likely to issue the citation. He may shrug it off like it’s nothing, but he’s been in enough trouble with the Auror department the last few months I’m sure he doesn’t want a citation on top of it.”

 

“I forgot about you arresting that nasty blighter that was using potions on women,” Henry replied thoughtfully. He shook his head slightly. “I guess we can always go back and get her name later if we need to. Come on,” Henry said with a smile, jerking his head in the direction of the street. “Let’s grab lunch at the Leaky before our next interview. I’m sure you’re hungry since it’s been more than twenty minutes since you last ate.”

 

Tonks agreed to lunch, ignoring her colleague’s jibe about her appetite. Trying her best to eat her sandwich and crisps rather than letting her guilt ruin her appetite, she couldn’t help but wish—for the first time ever—that she’d been partnered with Dawlish for the day; Confunding him likely wouldn’t make her feel quite as bad.

 

After lunch they made a trip to Hertfordshire to pay a visit to the Muggle family members of Murphy’s fiancé. Dumbledore had obviously done a good job modifying the memories of Deidra’s family; they claimed they hadn’t seen Murphy or Deidra for months. Frustrated after leaving the home with no further leads, Henry wanted to return to the Ministry to file the citation he’d promised Quigley before completing reports for the day. Feeling similarly frustrated, Tonks skived off work early to go for a run to clear her head before she had to turn up at the Hog’s Head to watch over Murphy for the evening.

 

The Hog’s Head was predictably quiet when Tonks arrived after her run. Hoping the scenery would be soothing, she had decided to run through the outskirts of Hogsmeade and some of the surrounding woods rather than the crowded streets of London before entering the pub. She waved to Aberforth and chose table with a clear view of the door. Just as Tonks was settling in her seat, enlarging the parchment, quill, and files she’d shrunk to fit into the hidden key pocket of her running tights, Aberforth brought her a bowl of creamy tomato soup. Still feeling uneasy about her day, she was grateful that Aberforth had prepared soup that day rather than a heavy meal.

 

Enjoying the relative quiet—the only noises in the pub were the quiet conversations of the few patrons and the sounds of Aberforth cleaning up here and there—Tonks started on her report to Dumbledore on the events of the day, taking spoonfuls of her soup here and there. Once it was late enough for the the sun to have set, the pub cleared out, and Aberforth came to sit across from Tonks, peering into her bowl.

 

“Your food doesn’t usually stand a chance,” he said, the twitch of his mustache giving away his small grin.

 

“I’m not as hungry as usual,” Tonks said with a shrug.

 

“Even after completing your exhausting habit, as Pomona puts it?”

 

“You talk with Sprout much?” Tonks asked, surprised. Although the students obviously weren’t privy to exactly what the teachers got up to in their free time, she knew that Professor Sprout visited Madame Rosmerta with a few of the other teachers on occasion.

 

It was Aberforth’s turn for a noncommittal answer. “She wanders down this way here and there. When the crowds at the Broomsticks put her in a nark.”

 

Tonks quirked an eyebrow at Aberforth. “Or when she finds herself in need of different gossip?”

 

“Possibly,” Aberforth replied with a fleeting grin before his expression turned serious. “You want to talk about whatever’s keeping you from eatin’ your dinner?”

 

Tonks set down her quill and took a deep breath before scrubbing her hands over her face. She opened her eyes to find Aberforth peering at her with his piercing blue gaze, reminding her very much of his older brother at that moment.

 

“I had to Condund a colleague today,” she said miserably.

 

Aberforth continued to watch her, his eyes narrowing as he studied her face. “Did you think this job would be easy when you signed on?”

 

Tonks huffed irritably. “Of course I didn't. It’s just…” She closed her eyes and took another deep breath, searching for the right words. “He should be able to trust me. We trust each other with our lives, and I used a spell against him today.”

 

Looking at her thoughtfully, Aberforth leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “Did it hurt him?” he asked finally. “The spell you used? Did you do something that put him in danger?”

 

Tonks looked to the table and shook her head.

 

“Was it necessary?”

 

Tonks’ gaze flitted to Aberforth’s piercing stare before looking back to the table. She sighed and nodded at his question.

 

“Don’t second guess your choices, girl,” Aberforth said. “You’ll end up driving yourself mad.”

 

The bell above the door chimed, signaling the arrival of a late customer. Tonks gave Aberforth a small appreciative grin as he heaved himself up from the table and walked toward the bar. Although she still felt bad about the spell she’d used, Aberforth’s straightforward advice, something so similar to what Mad-Eye would say, helped ease a bit of her guilt.

 

Peering over to check who had entered the pub, she frowned as the man—who Tonks thought she possibly recognized, but wasn’t sure from where—took a few steps toward the bar and stopped to look around. Trained by Mad-Eye to always listen to her gut, she reached over to wrap her hand around her wand.

 

No sooner had her hand touched the smooth surface of her wand did the man abruptly fire a curse at Tonks. She jumped from her seat, knocking the chair back, and deflected the spell, sending it into a nearby table that shattered into hundreds of pieces that sent shards of wood flying through the air.

 

“Watch out!” Tonks yelled at Aberforth, who had turned with his wand drawn at the sound of the splintering table.

 

Tonks fired a Stunning Spell at the man, which she ducked when he deflected it back at her. From her position crouched below the table, she could see the man's feet. With a wave of her hand, Tonks moved the chairs out of the way and shouted, “Incarcerous!”, flicking her wand with the incantation to pull the man off his feet as the ropes bound his ankles. He fell silently to the floor with a heavy thud, telling Tonks that Aberforth had likely Stunned him.

 

Standing from her position behind the table, said breathlessly, “What the buggeration was that all about?” Her feet crunched over pieces of the ruined table as she approached the man lying unconscious on the floor, Aberforth now standing next to him with his wand still pointed at his chest. “Do you know this man?”

 

Aberforth looked up at her sharply. “He wasn’t supposed to show up tonight.”

 

“What the hell are you on about?” Tonks asked. “You knew he was going to come in and blast your pub to bits?”

 

“It was planned for tomorrow. When Albus would be on watch.” Aberforth waved his wand and conjured a Patronus, sending it on it’s way without a message. “You’re bleeding,” he said, gesturing to her face.

 

Tonks realized her cheek was burning like her hands did when she scraped them on pavement to catch herself from falling. “Never mind that,” she said as she touched her cheek and felt a small gash. “What’s going on?”

 

They both turned abruptly, wands raised when the fireplace roared to life, Dumbledore stepping through.

 

“Our enemies are keeping us on our toes tonight, are they?” Dumbledore asked as he stepped toward them.

 

“Honestly, sir—” Tonks stopped when Dumbledore held up his hand.

 

“I knew before I arrived that you would want an explanation, my dear,” Dumbledore began calmly as he walked over to stand over the man. “To keep favor with Voldemort, Severus must divulge information from time to time. He is, after all, believed to be a spy for the Death Eaters within the Order. It wouldn’t do for him to provide no information whatsoever. William Murphy will not be in our company much longer, so I instructed Severus to provide his location, knowing they would likely send someone of little consequence.”

 

Tonks stared at Dumbledore, thinking the more she learned about Severus’ position, the worse it sounded. Providing just enough information to be deemed useful while keeping back all of the Order’s most important secrets sounded less like spying and more like suicide.

 

“How could you be sure that they wouldn’t send Macnair or Malfoy or someone else he considers important,” Tonks asked.

 

“Even if he did send one of those ponces, I could handle them,” Aberforth grumbled. “Anyway, he wouldn’t send them because none of ‘em want the attention it would bring if they came into my pub and started a fight.”

 

Dumbledore’s mustache twitched. “Quite right on all accounts. Shall we discuss what needs done with our guest before or after tea?”

 

“Tea?” Tonks asked incredulously. “Is that your answer for everything?”

 

“I think you’ll find that tea is often the solution for many things,” Dumbledore replied.

 

The door abruptly opening and banging into the wall caused Tonks to whirl around again. Unfortunately, she stumbled over the legs of the man lying at her feet as she turned, falling against Aberforth, who—in a show of agility unexpected for a man his age—caught her under one arm and kept her from falling to the floor.

 

“Thanks,” Tonks said, looking up when she heard the door slam and saw Severus striding toward them. He flicked his wand at the door, casting a spell Tonks could only assume warded the entrance against any more visitors.

 

He stopped in front of Tonks and looked back and forth between her and the man lying on the floor while Dumbledore and Aberforth engaged in a brotherly argument over who was going to fix the table that had been blasted to bits. His intense gaze flitted to the wound on her cheek and he frowned.

 

“It’s only a scratch,” Tonks said, surprised when he brought his hand up to cup her cheek, running his thumb over the scratch while his deep voice muttered an incantation she recognized as a Healing Spell. “Thanks,” she whispered, shocked at the gentleness of his touch.

 

He seemed to be brought back to their surroundings as Aberforth and Dumbledore continued to argue behind them, quickly removing his hand and nodding curtly in his usual fashion. Tonks drew in a shaking breath, utterly gobsmacked at the brief exchange they’d just shared. Never would she have thought that Severus Snape, a man who was grumpier than even Mad-Eye, would have touched her so tenderly. She found it both insightful and unsettling.

 

Tonks was—thankfully, if she was honest—shaken from her thoughts when the bits of wood lying about the pub suddenly swirled around and reformed into the table that had been destroyed.

 

“Satisfied?” Dumbledore asked as he gave a final wave of his wand, setting the table back in its spot.

 

“It’ll do,” Aberforth said before muttering “show-off” under his breath.

 

“Ah, Severus,” Dumbledore said in his usual pleasant manner. “Can you identify this man?”

 

Severus stared at the man and frowned again, shaking his head. Tonks looked closely at the man she thought she’d recognized, quickly running through her recent cases in her head in an attempt to place him.  With a gasp, she suddenly recognized him as the Diagon Alley bookshops owner who’d seemed to be a reluctant guest at the Quill the week before.

 

“He’s…” Tonks hesitated, not sure of what to say with Aberforth in the room. At Dumbledore’s slight nod she continued. “I wrote of him in my report, sir. He was at the Quill Friday night.”

 

“The Quill?” Aberforth demanded, turning to his brother. “That’s what you have her up to? And people call me a mad old—”

 

“The mission was my idea, and I can handle it just fine,” Tonks interrupted testily. “This man was lead away by Walden Macnair early in the evening, after hardly saying a word. I assumed he’d show up at either St. Mungo’s or the Auror department with a complaint of memory loss.” She looked down at the man whose legs were still bound at the ankles and cocked her head to the side as she considered his appearance. “He doesn’t look much better than Sturgis did when I questioned him.”

 

“Yes, he has without a doubt been compelled to do this job,” Dumbledore said with a sigh. “Let us discuss our next steps.”

 

“I’m not having another long-term guest take up one of my rooms,” Aberforth harrumphed as he sat at the repaired table.

 

“No,” Dumbledore replied as she conjured tea. “I think it best if we modify this man’s memories so he believes he completed his task. We will relocate William and Deidra tomorrow.”

 

Tonks thought over Dumbledore’s words as she added milk to the tea he had poured. “Y-you want this man to think he killed Murphy?”

 

“If they’d wanted him killed, they would have sent someone else,” Severus said. “They just want him pushed out of hiding so they can do the job themselves.”

 

“What’ll they do about him?” Tonks asked, gesturing over Severus’ shoulder where their attacker still lied on the floor.

 

Severus shrugged. “They got what they wanted from him. With any luck, they’ll be thrilled that he completed his task and leave him be. I doubt he has any memory of attending a meeting at the Quill.”

 

Tonks thought for a moment while the men around her discussed moving Murphy to the Continent the next day. It wasn’t that she had a ton of sympathy for the man—he did, after all, show up to a potential Death Eater meeting—but he’d decided in the end it wasn’t for him; what he’d done that night was against his will. What if completing his task wasn’t enough for the Death Eaters?

 

“We should put a corroborating story in the Prophet tomorrow evening,” Tonks said, interrupting their discussion about recruiting Bill to escort their witness to his new location. “Aberforth gives a quick interview about being angry at the disturbance and the loss of a customer, mentioning how the man left in a hurry without paying his bill in full.”

 

All three men stared at her for a moment.

 

“You have a source at the Prophet?” Aberforth asked, breaking the silence.

 

Tonks nodded. “There’s a bloke who fancies himself an investigative reporter who’ll write little articles for us for a small fee. If one of you can owl it, I’ll write him a message before I go home asking him to meet me before work tomorrow.”

 

Aberforth Summoned a piece of parchment and a quill, allowing Tonks to pen a short note which she handed to Dumbledore when she was finished.

 

“Inform me at once if he is reluctant to go through with the plan you propose,” Dumbledore said.

 

“Will do, sir,” Tonks said around a wide yawn.

 

“We should let Tonks get home,” Aberforth said. “Reckon she’s had a long day.”

 

“I’ll escort you out,” Severus said as he stood.

 

“Afraid I’m going to stumble over our friend again?” Tonks asked with a grin.

 

Severus gave her his fleeting grin. “I have no doubt you will trip over the man, as his body is lying in the path to the door. It wouldn't do for you to harm him when we’re pretending he left in one piece.”

 

Once Tonks had said goodnight to the two older men—and successfully navigated her way to the door without, as she pointed out to Severus, tripping over their guest—she stepped out into the chilly night air. Still wearing her running clothes, she was grateful for the long-sleeved t-shirt she’d donned after her exercise as she shivered slightly. She turned to Severus to say goodnight before she Apparated and found him staring at her warily; he had the same look he always wore when he was uncertain whether or not to speak what was on his mind.

 

“All right?” Tonks asked. It was obvious he was struggling with whatever it was he wanted to say.

 

“I apologize for...I touched your cheek without asking permission and I apologize for being so forward,” he said formally.  

 

Due to the seriousness of Severus’ expression, Tonks stopped short of laughing, not wanting to embarrass or anger him. But she couldn’t help the wide smile that stretched across her face as she placed her hands on her hips. “You won’t apologize when you speak to me like a naughty firstie, but you apologize for healing that scratch?”

 

“I—” Severus huffed in annoyance as Tonks watched him amusedly. It was obvious he was struggling with what to say.  “Yes,” he said finally.

 

Tonks sighed theatrically. “You did warn me you weren’t an easy man to be friends with.”

 

“Indeed,” he replied tightly.

 

Tonks decided to take pity on Severus, who was obviously very uncomfortable. “Thank you for the Healing Spell, and thank you for finally apologizing for something.” She Apparated away with a wave goodbye before he could argue with her.





A/N: Anybody else love Aberforth and Edith? They are seriously so fun to write. If you haven't already, check out "Against All Odds", a one-shot about Andromeda and Ted Tonks:)

As always, not mine, but Jo's. Thanks, Jo, for letting us play:)


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