so much to Arabella for beta-ing
II—A Dream Come True
he did not offer her a seat. He merely sat down himself and continued to stare
disapprovingly at her. Tonks stared back, trying to
hide her uneasiness.
Finally Snape opened his mouth.
“What a pity,
Miss Tonks, that despite all your training you had
not the common sense to disguise yourself before coming here.”
Tonks stiffened. Somehow this man made her feel as if she
was and always would be merely an overgrown schoolgirl, rather than an adult witch
and trained Auror.
this last fact gave her confidence: I
could just kill him in a duel if I
was unnecessary,” she replied coolly, trying to imitate her mother’s haughty
tone. “I’m officially here to pick up rare
ingredients for some Healing Potions I need to make, and you just happen to be
the only person who has these ingredients in the quantities I need. It’s all
very above-board, and Ministry-approved.” A pert note crept into her voice. She
didn’t trouble to keep it out; she knew from experience that it annoyed Snape greatly.
Professor merely sneered and said,
“I see. Well, I suppose you are wondering why
you are here.”
thought did cross my mind, yes,” said Tonks.
Snape glowered at her before continuing.
situation is this, Miss Tonks. I need a method of
communicating with Professor Dumbledore—“
too lazy to crawl out of your little hole and walk up to his office?” Tonks blurted the sentence out without thinking, only to
regret it immediately.
favoring her with an unnerving glare, Snape spoke.
“This is no
time for your habitual inanities, Miss Tonks. If I
did not know that the Order was desperate enough to be grateful for the
assistance, however inept, of anybody, even juvenile delinquents such as
yourself, I would recommend that Dumbledore remove you from his
Tonks kept her mouth shut.
“As I was
attempting to explain, walking up to Professor Dumbledore’s office immediately
after I return from my missions would be rather transparent to anyone spying
for either the Dark Lord or the Ministry. Overly frequent or oddly timed visits
to his office would attract attention. And it is imperative that my role be
kept absolutely secret.”
what role would that be, Professor?”
of ‘absolutely secret’ do you find incomprehensible, Miss Tonks?”
Receiving no answer, Snape smirked and continued.
“Therefore, I must have some means of carrying messages to the Headmaster. Owls
are too easily intercepted. The same objection applies to the Floo Network. So this is where you come in, Miss Tonks.”
Tonks gave him a
Snape sighed and condescended to explain.
to your unique…talents,” he sneered,
contriving to make the word sound like an insult, “you can carry messages back
and forth, between Dumbledore and myself, and no one
would know that you had done it even once. If any other member of the Order
were observed running back and forth between the Headmaster and me, it would be
rather conspicuous, but your powers as a Metamorphmagus
make it possible for you to do so undetected.”
Tonks was not quite sure she believed her ears.
let me get this straight, Professor,”
she said with an extremely Snape-ish inflection,
“You’re going to use me as a messenger
girl?” I don’t believe this. I’m an Auror, dammit!
Snape appeared to consider her question. A slow smile
spread over his face.
it does rather look like that, doesn’t it?”
Smug bastard, thought Tonks. She managed to stay composed.
then,” she sighed, “when do I come back?”
will contact you.”
“How?” she asked, worried that the Ministry or the Death Eaters
might intercept their communications.
will leave that to me, Miss Tonks.” He rose. “Good
Tonks gladly left, walking swiftly through the dank dungeon
corridors and leaving the school.
All that Auror training,
just to rot in the useless Ministry and be Snape’s
understood the situation and Dumbledore’s rationale, of course. All the same,
it was hardly what she had hoped for when she had dreamed of becoming an Auror as a child.
* * *
The visions and fantasies of little
Dora Tonks had always been grandiose and glamorous.
The daughter of Andromeda Tonks could hardly settle for
being mediocre, after all. Tonks had achieved near-perfect marks at Hogwarts, despite
her clumsiness and mischievousness and general inability to comport herself the
way her teachers had wanted her to. Professor Snape
had tried to exclude Tonks from his N.E.W.T.-level
class, despite her grade of ‘O’ on the Potions O.W.L., but Dumbledore had not
allowed it. And so the girl who had always won when she played “Aurors and Death Eaters” with other wizarding
children had qualified for Auror training. She had
passed, mostly with flying colors, except in those areas of training where
clumsiness was a serious liability. “She’s brilliant when she doesn’t trip over
her own feet,” one of her instructors had written on a progress report.
Her mother had agreed, often
commenting on Tonks’s clumsiness with exasperation.
“Dora,” she would say, “can’t you at
least try to walk like a lady?”
would respond with cheerful indifference. Her mother had a very clear picture
in her head of what a lady should be, and this picture was the diametric
opposite of Tonks. Mother and daughter clashed
frequently on this point.
had made a comment about “taking the mickey” out of
someone who had annoyed her.
Andromeda had taken issue with her
daughter’s use of the slang phrase.
“Really, Dora, must you use that
expression? It’s horribly common.”
Tonks had found herself lashing back
before she could think about it.
“Oh, it’s common, is it?” she had said, affecting a posh accent. “Well, then,
by all means, I must avoid it, since it’s obviously a fate worse than death to
be common.” She had paused to glare
at her mother, and muttered, “You can take the girl out of the snooty pureblood
She hadn’t muttered softly enough.
Andromeda Tonks had blanched and left the room as
quickly as dignity would allow, and fifteen-year-old Nymphadora
had known instantaneously that she had gone too far.
Later that day, Ted Tonks had come up to his daughter’s room.
he had said quietly—Dad never shouted—and his manner had been such that she had
not dared protest the use of her full name. “Your
mother has had a very difficult life because of the family she was born into.
You do understand that, don’t you?”
Tonks had squirmed and kept silent.
“You must never twit her about her background again. Understood?” Again there
had been a silence. “Understood?”
had said miserably. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry. Just
don’t do it again.”
She never did.
And now the girl who had often spoken before
she thought was an Auror and a member of the Order of
the Phoenix, ostensibly engaged in work of some significance. Even if it hardly seemed significant at the moment.
Don’t start thinking like that, girl. It’ll only get you morbid, and then
you’ll end up like dear old Snapey back at Hogwarts. The thought made her laugh. Which was
a good thing, these days.