Understanding Remus by InFabula
Disclaimer: these wonderful characters belong to JK: I
just borrowed them for a bit.
Chapter Two: Because
A short list of what I find
attractive in a person:
1) Someone who stands out from the crowd
The Order had assembled
at Grimmauld Place and we were waiting for Dumbledore to call the meeting to
order. He did not seem in a great hurry
to do so. Instead he was watching with a
benevolent eye as acquaintances were renewed and made.
A young witch with a
heart-shaped face and a shock of violet hair bounced up to Sirius and myself.
Sirius announced, smiling. “My second
“It’s just Tonks,” she
said glaring at Sirius and thrusting out a hand for me to shake.
“Remus Lupin,” I
replied. “And just Remus will be fine.”
“Mum said Sirius was
aggravating and I can see what she means.”
“Yes, he can be
extremely annoying,” I smiled.
I became aware that I
was still holding her hand and dropped it hurriedly.
She looked at me a little
“Are you all right?”
Without waiting for an
answer, she ran a hand through her hair and went on:
“Do you know
something? When I was little, I used to
love the cherries in tinned fruit salad.
Mum and Dad used to save theirs for me.
When Uncle Ernie came round to tea, he’s push the cherries to the side
of his plate and when he’d eaten everything else, and just when I thought he
was going to give them to me, he’d eat them.”
She looked accusingly at
“Mum said it was just
the sort of thing you’d do.”
stuff,” Sirius protested.
“Jolly cruel, when
you’re five,” Tonks retorted as Sirius darted off to greet Emmeline.
“It sounds like
something Sirius would do,” I agreed.
“When he was younger, anyway. I
think he’s improved somewhat since then.”
She fixed me with a
penetrating gaze. “Did you know Sirius
at school then?”
I nodded and something
changed in her manner. She seemed to
withdraw from me even though she hadn’t moved an inch.
She glanced round at the
rest of the Order.
“They’re all over him
now. Makes you wonder where they were
fourteen years ago.”
The words were pointed
and I felt obliged to say something.
“Tonks, you have to
understand that we all thought Sirius was the Secret Keeper for James and Lily
Potter. Every one of us. Even Dumbledore. We had no idea Sirius had switched the role
to Peter. Peter’s supposed murder just
added to what we thought.”
She did not look as if
she believed me.
“I lost Lily, James,
Sirius and Peter that night,” I said quietly.
“The worst of it was, I didn’t understand why. I couldn’t reconcile the idea of Sirius as a
traitor with what I knew of him. In the
end, I had to accept it. We all
did. There seemed no other answer.”
“But there was,” she
said in a low, fierce voice.
I caught Tonks by the
arm. “Don’t you think I wish we’d found
out the truth back then? Don’t you think
I wish I could give Sirius those years back?
Of course I do. Those years were
so empty and painful for me. I can‘t
begin to imagine what Sirius went through.
All I know is that now he‘s back, I don‘t intend to see his life taken
away from him again. Not if I can help
I’d said more and spoken
more passionately about how I felt than I had to anyone even Sirius. Something in Tonks’s eyes made me want to
Whether it was the
manner or what I actually said that did the job, I don’t know. The cool look faded away and was replaced a
warmth and friendliness that pleased me.
I still had my hand on
her arm and she reached up and squeezed it.
“I’m glad he has you.”
2) Someone who accepts me completely and without
It was mayhem at Grimmauld Place. The Weasleys had arrived and Mrs Black was
protesting at the top of her painted lungs.
I had retreated to the kitchen to prepare a pot of tea
but before I had chance to do so, Fred and George barrelled through the door
and came to an abrupt halt in front of me.
Lupin!” said one of
them whom I was almost certain was George.
“Ron told us-”
“But he gets
“And we were
just wondering…is it true?”
They stood looking at me, eyes wide.
I felt my face tighten. It certainly wasn’t the first time I had had to
explain my situation to someone who had known me but not known about me. I was also aware that curiosity was a key
characteristic in any teenage boy let alone the twins for whom it was second
nature. It was the unhealthy fascination
with which they were regarding me which was disappointing: I had thought them
“Yes, it’s true,” I acknowledged with a tight
smile. “I am a werewolf.”
They blinked in unison.
“Oh, that,” George said. “We know that.
about the Marauder’s Map. Is it true you’re Moony?”
It was my turn to blink.
“Yes,” I managed, my face relaxing into a
genuine smile. “Yes, I’m Moony.”
“Wow,” said Fred. “Just…“
George finished and I realised it was not with prurience they had been
looking at me but awe.
Before they could say anything else, Molly’s voice
rang out. “Fred! George!
I need you here and I need you now!”
Rolling their eyes and muttering curses under their
breath they disappeared.
“I didn’t know that.”
Tucked up in a corner, her cloak around her sat Tonks.
“Keeping out of Molly’s way,“ she said by way of
explanation. “I didn’t know you were a
werewolf,” she continued and all the awkwardness which had just left me came
“Does that make a difference?” I asked, part of me
surprised to find that I desperately didn’t want it to.
makes you more interesting,” She
smiled. She hesitated then said softly:
“It’s not easy being different, is it?”
Anything but pity! I opened my
mouth to mutter the usual platitudes when she stood up, her hair rippling
through various styles and colours - red curls, black spikes, peacock blue ringlets,
silver bob - before returning to the violet cut which framed her face.
“You’re a Metamorphagus,” I said stupidly.
She grinned. “I
“Does it make a difference?” She arched an eyebrow at me. “I was born one. Gave me a headstart when it came to Auror
“I can imagine.”
“I did think about other careers. I told my dad I wanted to be a Muggle air
stewardess. He told me my worst
qualities were my nimbleness and athleticism and that my first and probably
last planeload of passengers would leave at the double for the nearest dry
“Employment prospects for werewolves are somewhat
“I can imagine,”
Molly’s voice pierced the air.
“She needs you there,” Tonks said helpfully, “and she
needs you now.”
3) Someone with
the same likes and dislikes
The Order were gathering. Sirius, Tonks and I were standing together
chatting about nothing very much. I was
just thinking how comfortable it all felt when we were interrupted.
haven’t seen you since Hogwarts.” It was
Snape. “A pleasure,” he said extending
his hand, his tone belying his words.
Tonks shook it briefly. I did not need to look to know that Sirius
was scowling over my shoulder.
“The Order brings strange bedfellows together,” Snape
went on, “An Auror, a convict and a werewolf…”
“Sounds like the start to a joke, doesn’t it?” Tonks said cheerfully.
Snape ignored her.
“In the course of your normal duties, Nymphadora, I suppose you would be
hunting these two down...” He looked at
Sirius. “Imprisoning them in Azkaban…”
His gaze locked on to me. “Or executing
I felt Sirius start forward but before I could say
anything, Tonks jumped in:
“You’re quite right.
There’s no picking or choosing who you work with in the Order. It’s like teachers. You just get landed with them. Even if they’re the most vicious, snide,
nasty-minded individuals you could ever hope to meet.”
Snape’s mouth drew itself into a very thin line.
“But for the record,” Tonks went on, “ I’m proud to be
working with Sirius and Remus.” She
emphasised our names; the implication was that there were others she was less
happy to have as colleagues.
“I see,” Snape said shortly and left us.
Tonks looked round at the two of us.
“Sorry but he was my least favourite person at
school,” she said with fervour, “and that includes Polly Choat who told
everyone I was made out of bewitched plasticine.”
“There’s no need to apologise,” I assured her.
Sirius was grinning widely. “He was never top of our Christmas card list
4) Someone who
cares about the same things I do
Startled, I turned round in my chair.
In the doorway of the little first floor study stood
Tonks, mug in one hand and cup and saucer in the other.
She entered the room and carefully put the cup and
saucer down on the desk in front of me.
you a cuppa,” she said
unnecessarily. “Molly thinks you’re working too hard. I do, too,” she added, plonking herself down on the floor
I turned my chair to face her, rubbing the bridge of
my nose as I did so. I could indeed do
with a break, I decided; the ancient texts made you work hard before they gave
up their secrets. I looked down at the
tea: almost all of it was inside the cup.
“There’s ginger nuts,” Tonks declared, delving into the
pockets of her robes. She produced five
and a half biscuits and kneeling up, pushed three of them across the desk at
I studied the biscuits which had a light dusting of
fluff and was about to decline them when I caught sight of the look in Tonks’s eyes. This was nothing to do with tea and biscuits:
she wanted to talk.
“Sirius,” I guessed
picking up a biscuit and she nodded.
“He hates it here you
know. No one else seems to understand or
care but I can see how miserable he is.
You must have noticed.”
“Yes. It’s prison once more,” I agreed, dipping the ginger nut into the tea
and munching thoughtfully.
“Dumbledore won’t listen. He just won’t let Sirius out.”
“I know. I’ve tried to persuade him.”
She looked up at me with
a worried frown. “What can we do?”
“Well,“ I said slowly,
“it isn’t the answer but it may help in the short-term if I move in here. At least then he’ll have some company.”
Tonks’s face lit
up. “That would be terrific! I mean there are always people in and out of
here but it’s night-time when he’s on his own…”
I reached for another
biscuit. “I’ll ask Sirius if he minds-”
“He won’t!” she beamed.
I smiled back and a
little conspiracy was born between us.
5) Someone who
makes me smile
Tonks had joined us at tea time and a new member of the Order, Fleur
Delacoeur, had also arrived at Bill’s invitation having expressed a desire to experience
an “Eenglish” Christmas. Molly and the
children were in bed and the two late visitors were sitting with Bill, Sirius
and myself in the sitting room.
The fire was lit and the five of us were working our
way through a case of Firewhisky.
“My father ‘s taste in wine and whisky was always
good,” Sirius said, opening another bottle and topping up all the glasses. “The one thing about him that was.”
I sipped the rich liquid and felt it coat my throat
with warm velvet. It was without doubt
the most expensive and most exquisite alcohol I had tasted.
“Zis ees jus’ wonderful,” said Fleur, eyes
bright. She was sat on the old
dragonhide sofa next to Bill. They had
started off the evening at opposite ends of it but a few glasses of Firewhisky
later, Fleur was snuggling into Bill’s side and Bill in turn had his arm
loosely round her shoulder. I smiled
inwardly and wondered if Molly and Arthur were aware of this entente cordiale.
Sirius sat in the armchair in the centre of the room,
dispensing drinks in his role as genial host.
Tonks was perched on the wide arm of my chair, closest to the fire. Every now and then, she would reach down and
put another log on the fire or wield a poker to revive it. She hadn’t said much all evening but I
supposed that like myself, she was happy to sit and listen to the others.
“To the ancient and most noble cellar of the House of
Black,” Sirius proposed.
“I’ll drink to that,” I quickly seconded and we all
After that, the toasts flew thick and fast: the silly
- “To life, liberty and the pursuit of You-Know-Who” (Sirius), the flirtatious
- “To Anglo-French relations” (Bill), the sincere if uninspired - “To ze makers
of zis wonderful whiskee” (Fleur), the serious - “To those we care about” (me)
- and the cryptic “To those who don’t
know we care” (Tonks).
“Where ees zat ‘orrible leetle elf Bill tol’ me
about?” Fleur asked suddenly.
“Yes, where is Kreacher?” Bill asked.
“I thought the air was distinctly sweeter.”
“I expect he’s sulking somewhere.
Suits me. If he were here now,
we’d just see his sullen face and have to listen to him moaning.”
“Mistress would not like this,” said a voice.
We all turned.
Tonks had slipped off her chair to attend to the fire and as we watched,
her features transformed into those of the unhelpful house elf.
“Mistress would not let the precious bottles be
drunk! She would not permit it to
disappear down such undeserving throats!”
We all laughed and Tonks launched into an impromptu
monologue. She became Mrs Black,
bewailing the arrival of filth and half-breeds and foreigners in her house; she
was Emmeline, pretending to scold Sirius and calling him “a wicked boy”; she
was Molly, summoning Sirius and myself to help with imaginary doxies; and then
Professor McGonagall, advising Bill on his career choices.
Tonks was a clever mimic. She had people’s mannerisms and vocabulary
down pat. I found myself breathless with
laughter as “Minerva” urged Bill to consider Blast Ended Skrewt Wrangling as a
“I have known many students who have turned their
hands to this line of work and who have found great fulfilment,” she said. “Of course, they have also found they have
slightly fewer fingers on their hands than when they started.”
Amid the general laughter, Fleur suddenly let out an
“I am so sorry!” she apologised. “Oh, do go on, Tonks, you are ‘ilarious!”
But Tonks had become Tonks once more.
“You’re right,” she said, straightening up. “It is late.
And it‘s been a long day.”
“Time for bed, I think,” said Sirius, draining his
glass. “Tonks - you know your room. Bill, Fleur, I’ll just show you the guest rooms.”
As the three disappeared through the door, Tonks bent
down over the fire. I couldn‘t see her
face properly, just the edge, licked by firelight.
“Are you all right, Tonks?” I asked. “Only you’ve been quiet all evening.”
She didn‘t answer for a moment then when she did speak
it was barely a whisper.
“It‘s the attack on Arthur.”
I leaned forward in my chair, puzzled. “What about it?”
There was a pause and then:
“I’m just so glad it wasn’t-”
came back into the room. “Tonks! Are you ready to hit the sack? Or do you want me to crack open another
I sat there in silence looking stupidly at Tonks. What had she been going to say? Did she want to talk further? I didn’t know what to do.
Tonks turned to face us.
“I’m really tired, Sirius. I’m going to head on up. Goodnight, both of you.”
And she left without another word.
6) Someone who
feels they can confide in me
New Year’s Day was miserable. Rain sheeted down through London hitting the
pavements in hard needles. I scurried
into Grimmauld Place, clutching the bag of provisions.
Sirius was in the hall.
“Took your time,” he said. “How did you get on?”
“Took me forever to find a shop that was open,” I
explained. I peered into the bag. “Meat pie, pork chops, sausages,
vegetables. And, er…”
Sirius pounced on the hesitation.
“You can stay.
I’m off to see to Buckbeak. Tonks
is down there by the way,” he said,
jerking his thumb in the direction of the kitchen.
“Turned up just after you’d left. Doesn’t seem herself, actually. Mind you, this weather’s enough to get
He headed up the stairs and I headed to the
kitchen. Tonks was sitting at the table,
mug of tea in hand.
“Wotcher, Remus,” she said. Her voice lacked its usual bounce.
“I thought you were with your parents for New Year.”
“Mum and Dad have gone off to see Dad’s folks in
Spain. It is OK to be here, isn’t it?”
she asked suddenly.
“Of course.” I
looked in the bag. “Meat pie will go
three ways. Just don’t eat too many
profiteroles. They’re Sirius’s
“I promise,” she smiled. “Can I help?”
I hesitated momentarily. Tonks’s enthusiasm and willingness sometimes
outstripped the actual help. On the
other hand, it seemed unlikely she could go far wrong peeling carrots.
We stood side by side preparing the vegetables. I debated whether or not to break the
silence; it was comfortable but I felt there were things unsaid between us.
In the end I settled for:
“Are you OK?”
Tonks concentrated on the carrot in front of her.
“Only at Christmastime, it seemed as if you wanted to
talk about something…” I tailed off aware that of the many ways I could have
broached the subject of that Christmas half-conversation, I had chosen by far
There was a silence which seemed to last for
minutes. Just when I thought I was going
to have to break it, Tonks let out a heavy sigh.
“I’m just being stupid,” she said, giving the carrot a
savage chop. “I know what the Order’s
about. I knew when I joined. It’s just that up until Arthur was attacked,
I hadn’t really thought about the danger.
Not to me, I don’t mean me,” she added hastily. “To those around me. What happened to Arthur brought it all home.”
I picked up another potato and started peeling it as I
thought about how to answer this.
“James had a Great-Aunt Violet. She had Seer blood.”
Tonks looked up, startled at this non-sequitur.
“James told me about a funny turn she had just after
his wedding. She started talking about
death and treachery amongst the Order.
She was quite right as it happened,” I gave a half-smile.
“James started worrying about what would happen if he
died or Lily was killed or anything happened to Sirius, Peter or me.”
Tonks had put down her knife and was looking at me
“He spoke to Sirius about how he felt. So now I’m going to repeat to you what Sirius
I put down my knife and faced her.
“We know what we’re doing is right, don’t we?”
She nodded mutely.
“So if we
fall,” I went on, “it will be for something we believe
in. And whoever’s left will look after each
other. It’s as simple as that. It isn’t any use worrying about
what might happen. We need to take each
day as it comes.”
She looked as if she was considering this advice.
“But what if no one’s left?” she said eventually. “You didn’t have anyone.”
“No, no, that’s true,” I smiled at her damn
logic. “Well, perhaps I bear witness to
the fact that you can survive. Even when
everything and everyone you care about it gone.”
She nodded slowly.
“You’re right,” she said. “Live each day for what it is. Make sure those you care about know it. Don’t be frightened of losing them.”
She gave me a stare and I felt as if she were waiting
for me to say something.
“Exactly,” I agreed. “Now let’s get on with this veg.”
She gave a small sigh and a smile and turned back to
the chopping board.
7) Someone who can surprise me
It was March. Spring had reached even Grimmauld Place. Tired trees had pushed forth green leaves,
straggly daffodils were in bloom and even wispy honeysuckle that had looked a lost
cause two months ago had come back to life.
As I closed the door to
number 12, I was immediately covered in silvery dust accompanied by a noisy
cheer and a chorus of “Happy Birthday”, marred only by Mrs Black’s shrieks of
Tonks and Sirius stood
“Happy birthday, Moony!”
Sirius said, enveloping me in a bear hug.
“Wotcher, Remus!” Tonks planted an emphatic kiss on my
cheek. “Did you think we’d forget?”
“It’s all very
unexpected,” I confessed, thinking to myself that that included the kiss.
“It’s all right, it’s
only me and Tonks,” Sirius said hurriedly, anticipating my next question. “We just thought we’d surprise you.”
“Close your eyes,” Tonks
I did so and the pair of
them led me giggling down the stairs to the basement kitchen.
“You can look now,” said
I stared open-mouthed at
the table, laden with sausage rolls, cheese and pineapple on sticks, crisps,
sandwiches - all manner of party food.
In the middle, was a cake. It had
been decorated with the words “HAPPY BIRTHDA” and six candles.
“Sirius made it,” Tonks
“Thanks for the
“It was all Tonks’s
“What happened to the
“Ran out of room,”
Sirius admitted. “Figured you’d probably
work it out.”
“I was going to put on a
candle for every year,” Tonks said solemnly, “but Sirius said it would present
a fire hazard.”
“Thank you, child.” I rolled my eyes. “You’ll be old too someday, you know.”
“I’ll never catch you
up,” she replied smartly and ducked out of the way of the mock-cuff I aimed at
“Didn’t your parents
bring you up to respect your elders and betters?” I scolded. “Irreverent ragamuffin!”
“Cards and presents,”
she said placatingly and held up a package and an envelope. Sirius did the same.
I opened the cards
first. They were both handmade. Sirius had drawn a cartoon of himself saying:
“I like you for what you are”. Inside it
read: “Older than me”.
“Not by much,” I
Tonks’s card was a neat
sketch of me flying on a broomstick. She
had captured me very well, worn robes, grey hairs and all. She had charmed it so that the figure was
moving through the air, wind blowing its robes and ruffling its hair.
“I didn’t know you could
draw,” I said, staring down at the card.
“Well, Sirius was making
his card so I thought I should. Presents
now,” she demanded.
I opened hers
first. It was a smart, new quill, most
welcome as I had broken the nib on my
old one a few days earlier.
“Thanks,” I said,
“Mine next,” said Sirius
and he pushed a parcel into my hand.
It was an old photograph
of Sirius, James and myself inside a mahogany frame.
“Third year. Hallowe’en weekend trip to Hogsmeade,” he
said and I nodded.
“Peter was recovering
from some illness-”
“- Hetherington’s cough
“- that’s why he’s not
there…” I tailed off as I looked at the faces from a time and a place so long
“Found it upstairs in my
old room. They destroyed my things when
I moved out but this was stuck at the back of a bookcase. I wanted you to have it as a reminder
of…well, of everything.”
Of hope, love,
“Thanks,” I said simply.
Tonks peered down at the
three boys who promptly stuck their tongues out at her. She retaliated in kind then said:
“Was I even born when
this was taken?”
Sirius and I exchanged
glances then he picked up a nearby sausage roll and I armed myself with a
“We will have you know,
Nymphadora Tonks, that neither of us are as ancient as you believe,” I said
“Furthermore, unless you
wish to engage in all out food warfare, with two champions of the art, you will
kindly refrain from further remarks highlighting the age difference between
us,” Sirius added sternly.
“All right, all right,”
Tonks giggled. “I spent too long
buttering bread to see it all over the floor.
Although-” she grimaced as I bit into the sandwich I was holding.
“Although what?” I
asked, mouth half-full.
“You might want to skip
the cheese ones. I dropped the loaf on
the floor when I was making them,” she confessed. “Some of them may be a bit…gritty.”
8) Someone I can talk to
It was about six weeks
after my birthday. I sat at my desk
ostensibly trying to fathom a problematic text.
In reality, I had stared at the same page for some time without registering
the letters and symbols.
Sighing, I reached down
to find a reference book in the heaps around my feet and found Tonks, knees
drawn up under her chin sitting against the wall.
“Hello,” I said,
surprised. “I didn’t hear you come
in. How long have you been there?”
“A while. I was going to say something but you looked
like you were concentrating and I didn’t want to interrupt.”
She nodded at the quill
in my hand.
“Is it OK?”
“It’s the one I would
have chosen for myself.”
She looked pleased. She hesitated then said:
“I wasn’t sure if you
were working on that stuff or not. You
seemed to be a million miles away, really.”
I smiled. I reached forward and picked up the photo
Sirius had given me for my birthday. The
three boys in it were busy pulling faces.
“Actually, I was
thinking about Hogwarts. Sirius and I
spoke to Harry yesterday.”
And I told her about
what Harry had seen in Snape’s Pensieve.
“Serves Snape right!”
she snorted. “What a horrible git! Even when Lily was trying to help him!”
“Yes,” I said
sadly. “Yes, he could be obnoxious
Tonks looked at me.
“Severus Snape did
nothing to help himself at school. He
spouted ignorant rubbish about Hogwarts being for purebloods. He was malevolent and spiteful and he had a
running grudge with Sirius, James, Peter and myself.”
“Doesn’t sound like he
changed much when he got older,” said Tonks with feeling.
particular incident was one which upset me greatly. Because I was the Prefect, you see. I should have stepped in, I should have
stopped James and Sirius before they started, before the whole incident escalated. But I didn’t.
I knew I should have done. I
should have said something, I should have stopped the attack which was not
provoked. But I didn’t. I sat, frozen on the grass, pretending to
read a book, as if as long as I didn’t look up, the confrontation wasn’t going
I looked down at the
photo, at another me, another time.
“When Lily stood up to
James and Sirius that day, I was ashamed. Ashamed because she was saying what I
knew I should be saying.”
“Then why didn’t
you?” Tonks asked gently. “What were you so worried about?”
I was silent. How could I explain what it was like? What I had been like?
“I didn’t want to lose
their friendship,” I said eventually.
“It meant everything to me.
Before I came to Hogwarts, I was on my own. Always.
I didn’t want to go back there.”
“But if they were your
“Sirius and James could
make life awkward. There were times when
the atmosphere in our dorm was distinctly chilly. If I’d defended Snape…”
“You thought they would
never speak to you again.”
“I can’t explain to
anyone who hasn’t experienced it but the sheer joy of belonging, of having
friends where you’ve never had them before…it’s intoxicating. You don’t want to lose that feeling. I didn’t
want to lose that feeling.”
“If they could be so
difficult, weren’t you worried they’d tell everyone you were a werewolf?”
“To begin with. They didn’t really think things through. And they had no idea of the impact of their
actions on others. They could have ended
my time at Hogwarts with one word.”
I gave a sigh.
“If you don’t want to
tell me it’s fine,” she said quickly.
“No, no, it’s OK, it’s
just old history. There was a prank that
went wrong. Sirius sent Snape to find me
one full moon. He just meant to scare
him. He didn’t think any further than
giving Snape the fright of his life and he thought he would turn back long
before he reached me.”
“What!” Tonks looked as if she could hardly believe
“Luckily, James had the
sense to imagine the consequences if Snape actually did find me. He went after Snape and saved him. After that, both James and Sirius
changed. They started to think more
about how their actions affected other people.
I stopped worrying.”
Tonks sat in silence,
digesting the story.
“Do me a favour,” I
said, “and don’t mention it to Sirius.
Even after all these years, he still feels guilty. He still thinks Snape deserved to meet a
werewolf just not a werewolf he knows and cares about. He learnt his lesson.”
“If Snape had been
bitten,” Tonks asked slowly, “what would have happened to you?”
execution,” I said lightly.
“But it wouldn’t have
been your fault!” she said with
indignation. “That’s so unfair!”
“Welcome to the world of the werewolf.
‘Fair’ never comes into it.”
I sat the photo back on
“Sirius would lay down
his life for his friends. He would back
then and he would now. So would I. So would James and believe it or not, there
was a time when I would have said that of Peter too. I just wished I’d had the courage to test
that friendship once in a while by speaking out.”
Tonks kneeled up and
took my hand.
“It’s in the past,
Remus. You’ve just told me that Sirius
learned from poor choices he made and that he doesn’t need reminding. Listen to your own advice. Stop picking at the memory like it’s some
sort of scab. You were a young boy then,
you’re a man now. More importantly, you
know yourself. It’s not to say you won’t
act this way again - you’re only human after all - but let this go.”
Our faces were very
close and all of a sudden, the room seemed very hot. I could feel my cheeks flushing. The heat was almost tangible. All I could focus on was her face and I
suddenly found myself thinking about the kiss on the cheek she’d given me on my
birthday. I was conscious of her lips,
slightly parted, inviting and I started wondering what it would be like to kiss
those lips, to press my mouth to hers, to gather her to me…
With an immense effort,
I sat back in my chair, putting distance between us. Tonks sat back on her heels.
“You’re very wise,” I
said hoarsely with a weak smile.
She blinked a couple of
times. Had she felt what I’d felt? Then she pulled her face into familiar
“Who needs Dumbledore?”
9) Someone with bravery and compassion in equal
Dumbledore had called a meeting. Kingsley and Moody had already arrived and
were sitting in the kitchen which by virtue of the fact that Mrs Black had
rarely set foot in it, was by far the cheeriest room at Grimmauld Place.
A thump in the hall accompanied by a stream of
eloquent foulness from Mrs Black suggested the arrival of Tonks.
“I’ll go,” I volunteered.
The umbrella stand was rolling on its side at the foot
of the stairs. Tonks was trying in vain
to tug the black curtains across the portrait.
Spawn of a Mudblood!”
“Let me help,” I said, grabbing one side.
Struggling, we managed to haul the curtains together.
“I swear Kreacher puts something on that curtain pole
to stop them closing,” Tonks panted.
“He’s certainly the one that opens them up,” I agreed,
breathing heavily. “We’d just leave her
covered up all the time otherwise.”
It was the first time I’d seen her since the
almost-kiss. I’d convinced myself that
I’d imagined it all. What on earth was I
thinking? The last thing a young girl
like Tonks needed was a poor, old werewolf.
Standing with her in the hall, however, I was
surprised to find a lingering trace of electricity between us. I’d never noticed before how marvellously
intense her eyes were. She would never
need Veritaserum: it would be impossible to lie to those eyes.
“What are you thinking, Remus?” she asked.
I opened and shut my mouth a couple of times and then
was saved by an exclamation from the kitchen.
We headed down the steps: standing in front of the
kitchen sink, wreathed in silvery-green flames, was Snape.
Tonks could not suppress a gasp; Kingsley looked taken
aback; Moody, whom nothing fazed,
inclined his head by way of acknowledgement; Sirius and I merely exchanged
glances: Snape had been performing this particular means of apparition since
his seventh year at Hogwarts.
“It’s not convenient for me to use the
normal channels of communication,” the image of
Snape began, ignoring the usual pleasantries as was his wont. “So I decided projection was probably the quickest and
Certain that he had our attention, he went on: “Professor Umbridge appears to have
overstepped the mark somewhat. She’s taken it upon herself to
interrogate Potter, Granger and some of the other children-”
Sirius broke in sharply. “What was she-?”
“As I was
saying,” Snape cut
across him, his eyes daring Sirius to interrupt him again. “She was interrogating Potter and the others in her
office and asked me to prepare some Veritaserum-”
“You didn’t give her any, did you?”
Tonks could not help herself.
Snape snapped. “She found Potter using her fire to
communicate with someone. Did he speak
to you, Black?”
Sirius shook his head.
“I haven’t spoken to Harry for a while.”
Snape put a wealth of meaning into the word and I laid
a hand on Sirius’s arm,
sensing his temper rising.
Snape looked a little disappointed that the bait had
not been taken but continued:
“Well, he was
probably trying to reach here. He seems
convinced that you are in trouble. As I
was leaving, he shouted out ‘He’s got Padfoot at the place where it’s hidden’.
I recognised your ridiculous nickname and took it to mean he believes
you're being held at the Ministry of Magic.
I cast a quick Searching Spell and of course you were still here in
“Voldemort,” Moody said instantly. “He’s realised
the connection and he’s using it
to his advantage.”
“He’s setting a trap for Harry,” Kingsley agreed. “They want him to go to the Ministry-”
“And they’ll be waiting for him,” breathed Tonks.
“I never thought
that Dolores Umbridge would be Harry’s saviour,” I said, “but while he’s with her, he’s safe-”
of you!” Sirius growled. He was staring intently at Snape. “What haven’t you told us?”
His face unreadable, Snape shrugged.
that Potter and Granger led Professor Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest. The other children escaped. None of them have been seen since. I plan to search the Forest but if they‘re not there…”
He left the thought dangling.
There was a moment’s silence as the others digested this then I said
“If Harry’s free…”
“…he’ll head to the Ministry,” Sirius finished, jumping to his
feet. “We need to get there fast!”
The others rose also.
“I think it
unwise that you all charge in recklessly,” said Snape smoothly.
you, Black. If the others arrive at the
Ministry in your company it may raise some awkward questions.“
“He has got a
Dumbledore know?” Moody suddenly asked.
“I believe he’s expected at any moment with you,” Snape remarked. “Someone should stay behind to explain what has
happened. Given your…lack of front-line experience,
Black, you would probably be the best candidate.”
“He’s right, Sirius,” Tonks ventured. “The last thing we want is for you to be captured and
taken to Azkaban again.”
“Or worse,” Kingsley said softly.
Moody. “Tell Dumbledore.”
Sirius glanced at the other three and then finally at
me. An observant onlooker might have
caught the briefest raised eyebrow from Sirius and the faintest frown in
response from me. I looked away, seeing
the implacable resolve in Sirius’s eyes and knowing that the battle was already lost.
chance,” Sirius announced grimly, fiery purpose cascading
through him for the first time in months.
tell Dumbledore everything he needs to know.
Harry is all that matters.”
I nodded, lending Sirius my support. “So let’s find him.”
Snape cleared his throat. “I still think-”
and play in the Forest, Snape,” Sirius said
for any Dark Creatures,” I added.
Snape pursed his lips and vanished.
Tonks looked like she wanted to protest but quickly
realised the futility of doing so: a conclusion both Moody and Kingsley had
already reached - the one through familiarity and the other through judgement
Sirius wasted no time in summoning an oddly gleeful
Kreacher and instructing him to tell Dumbledore what had happened.
We exited the house and stood on the edge of Grimmauld
“Let’s Apparate to the
entrance of the Department of Mysteries,” Kingsley suggested. “That’s where Harry will be headed.”
“Agreed,” Moody said.
“We’re wasting time,”
The three of them
disappeared. As I prepared to follow
suit, I felt a tug on my sleeve.
“Be careful,” Tonks said
fiercely. “You and Sirius - if you get
caught - Snape’s right - one of you should wait for Dumbledore - suppose the
Ministry find you there - find Sirius there - they’ll act first and ask
questions later -”
“Tonks!” I said loudly to stem the machine-gun flow of
words. “Firstly, nothing on this earth
is going to keep Sirius or myself away if Harry is in danger and secondly, it’s
OK to be frightened.”
Her eyes went wide with
“I’m not afraid!” she denied hotly.
“Oh, not for yourself,”
I said hurriedly. “You’re frightened the
same way I am. Because this is it. And people we care about are involved.”
She exhaled and nodded.
I smiled, leaned forward
and kissed her chastely on the forehead.
“Be careful yourself,
And we Apparated.
10) Someone I can’t imagine life without
The flurry of
battle…Kingsley duelling two Death Eaters…no sign of Tonks or Moody…Sirius and
Bellatrix up on the dais…Lucius Malfoy threatening Harry and Neville…
“Harry, round up the
others and GO!”
werewolf! Let’s see what you’re made of,
gasps…Dumbledore’s arrival…Death Eaters defeated…Sirius ducking a shot from
Bellatrix…”You’ll have to do better than that”…
And then she did. Her shot caught him smack on the chest and he
fell backward in one long, slow, balletic movement and disappeared through the
Suddenly, Harry was
charging past me. I grabbed him and held
him fast as he struggled, calling Sirius’s name.
“He’s gone,” I
managed. “He’s d-”
“NO!” Harry’s desperate
As he sprinted from the
room in furious pursuit of Bellatrix, I watched him go as if I were on
autopilot; there but not there.
While the climax to the
battle raged elsewhere, I remember walking up to the veil and staring at it.
“He’s gone,” said
Kingsley at my shoulder, echoing my own words to Harry.
“I know,” I whispered.
“One less blood traitor
to worry about,” Malfoy called out from where he sat, held in thrall by
I ignored him. I forced the anger back down inside me. I
would deal with the grief, denial, rage and all other emotions later. I would not give Malfoy and the others
satisfaction. Right now, I was going to-
“NO!” The word was ripped from me. I could see Moody bending over a motionless
figure that I knew with stomach-churning certainty had to be Tonks and the
world stopped for me again.
“How are they, Madame
“Remus, dear, I’ve told
you before, please call me Poppy.”
“I know, I - how are
I was sitting on the
edge of a bed at Hogwarts’ sanatorium.
Dumbledore had insisted we come to be checked over.
“Kingsley’s fine as are
you,” Poppy said briskly, drawing back the curtains around my cubicle.
Kingsley sat on the next
bed, a look of resignation writ large across his face.
“Moody? How‘s he doing?” he asked.
“I am absolutely in the
prime of life,” growled a familiar voice from the cubicle opposite me.
Poppy tutted and shook
her head and then drew back the curtains to reveal Moody, standing upright, his
magical eye swivelling irritably in its socket.
“Alastor Moody, I told
you to sit on the bed,” Poppy said reprovingly.
“I do not care what you
feel, you will do as you’re told,” Poppy said, gently but firmly pushing him
back on the bed. “Your wounds may be
superficial but you’re still staying here overnight for observation. You’ve had a nasty time of it and I want you
to have some rest. Now, lie down.”
Grumbling, Moody did as
he was told.
I only had eyes for the
fourth bed, still screened from view.
“Tonks,” I said in a low
voice. “What’s the matter with her?”
“She’s been hit with a
Solidifying Curse. It’s working its way
from the outside in. She needs medical
attention that I can’t offer. She needs
to go to St Mungo’s.”
“I’ll take her,”
Kingsley and I offered in unison.
“It only needs one of
Kingsley and I looked at
“If you’re happy to take
her,” he said slowly, “I should get back to the Ministry to file a report.”
“Fine,” I said
Kingsley stood up and
took his leave. Moody watched his exit
longingly. He looked as if the last
thing he wanted to do was spend a night under observation.
Poppy pulled back the
curtains around Tonks’s bed. Heart in
mouth, I looked down at the motionless, pale figure.
Poppy conjured up a
stretcher and levitated Tonks on to it.
“I’ll send an owl to her
parents. You’ll need to take her down to the gates before you Apparate.”
“This contains all the
details the Healers will need.” She
handed me a piece of parchment. “Look
after her, Remus. I’m rather fond of Nymphadora.”
The walk down to the
gates was one of the longest of my life.
The stretcher bobbed along beside me, Tonks’s pink hair laying limply
around her face. She might have been
sleeping; only her ragged breathing gave away the fact that all was not well.
Inside, the emotions
were bubbling through me. I kept pushing
away the knowledge that I would never see Sirius again; once I let that loose,
I knew I would lose control.
The feelings I had
regarding Tonks were not much safer. I
focused on the one thought: not Tonks, not this time.
The Healer at St Mungo’s
had disappeared with Tonks and Poppy’s parchment. I was standing uselessly in the corridor
waiting for his return.
“You must be Remus
I span round to find a
petite, brown-haired witch standing there.
With her frank and open eyes and the determined set to her mouth, she
could be only one person: Andromeda Tonks.
“Nymphadora has told us
a lot about you,” she went on. “This is
my husband, Ted.”
A sturdy-looking man
about my height, reached past his wife to shake my hand; his grip was
I could hear myself
babbling words of regret as if Tonks were already dead.
Andromeda smiled and
shushed me gently.
“It’s all right,
Remus. We’ll take it from here. Go and get some rest. I think you need it.”
“Come back and see
Nymphadora in the morning,” Ted offered.
“She’ll be glad to see a friend.”
The Healer appeared at my shoulder.
parents? This way, please.”
He escorted them on to
the ward and I was left staring stupidly after them.