The Sugar Quill
Author: jncarlin  Story: A Tale of Two Tonkses  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Timeturner, Bill, McGonagall, Bathe, Action/Adventure

A/N: Much thanks to my beta reader, Logical Quirk, for informing me that Stunners are, in fact, red. J This was originally composed for the Metamorfic_moon Lover's Moon fic jumble of February 2007 on LiveJournal. It won awards for Best Plot, and runner up for Best Humour. And for future reference I will note that this was written before the release of Deathly Hallows.

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Tonkses, or How Tonks Learned to Hate Time Travel

 

 

Tonks burst out of the Headmistress’s office and into the hall. She had no time to lose.

 

She barreled through the corridors and down several flights of stairs, running at top speed past the occasional astonished student. She couldn’t blame them for staring—after all, it wasn’t every day that they could catch sight of the Hogwarts Auror in Residence sprinting through the corridors with her lacy red bra plainly visible through the wet fabric of her skimpy white tee shirt. She barreled through the Great Hall, turned down a narrow corridor, and (much to her relief) Remus and Bill were there, right outside the staff room just as she had told herself they would be.

 

Remus froze in astonishment. “Nymphadora! Are you all right?”

 

“Don’t call me Nymphadora! And yes—I’m fine! But we’ve got to go! There’s no time! Come on!” She urged them to follow her with an exaggerated wave of her arm, and then turned to start jogging back down the hall. She was glad to hear them falling in behind her.

 

“What happened?” asked Bill. “I thought you were patrolling the grounds with Minerva?”

 

“We still are patrolling the grounds,” she replied as she headed into the Entrance Hall. “And even as we speak a gang of Death Eaters is breaking through the security barriers around the grounds and if we don’t get out there soon to stop them, they’ll ambush us and Minerva and I will both be killed!”

 

 As she started to open the massive front entrance, Tonks felt Remus’s strong hand gripping her arm. He pulled her around to face him. “Now slow down for a minute! Would you please explain exactly what’s going on?”

 

Bill halted just next to them and added, “This had better not be one of your kinky games, either. I want nothing to do with them.”

 

Tonks and Remus turned in unison to glare at him.

 

“How many times do I have to tell you that the time you walked in on us was the one and only time we’ve ever tried role-playing?” said Tonks with a scowl.

 

“And after that miserable failure I doubt we’ll be repeating the experience. Ever,” said Remus.

 

“Then what’s with the get-up?” Bill indicated her translucently damp shirt.

 

Remus held up a hand. “As much as I would like to know why you’re running around like that—in public—would you first tell us how you know about the Death Eaters?”

 

“I know because they’ve already ambushed me! And if you and I hadn’t been there to save me, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now!”

 

Remus stared at her blankly. It was rare for him to be dumbstruck, but apparently she had succeeded.

 

She scowled. There was only one way to convince them. She grabbed the long silver chain at her neck and waved the pendant in front of them—her clinging tee shirt seemed to have distracted them from its significance.

 

The light began to dawn in Remus’s eyes. “A Timeturner!” he said.

 

“Yes, a bloody Timeturner! I told myself where to find it in Minerva’s office so that I could round you lot up in time to save me and Minerva from the Death Eaters. I won’t have you wasting that precious time on arguments. Now, let’s go!”

 

Tonks turned and pulled open the entry-door. Remus and Bill fell in behind her as she raced out of the castle and toward the greenhouses.

 

As they ran, Bill said, “This is bloody confusing. So you’re Tonks from the future, and another Tonks from your own future told you to come and get us to go save Tonks from the present?”

 

“I think that sums it up,” she replied.

 

“I hate time travel,” said Remus.

 

“When have you ever time traveled?” asked Bill.

 

“It’s a long story. And I doubt we have time to get into it now.”

 

“You’re right about that, but now that you’ve mentioned it I fully intend to get the story out of you sometime, you know,” said Tonks.

 

“I should have known better than to bring it up.”

 

“Yes, you should have—but it’s too late now.” Tonks led them across the long lawn between the green houses and the Whomping Willow. “We need to get to the forest. The Death Eaters are breaking through the anti-broom security spells and will be flying in sometime in the next ten minutes. They’ll be ambushing Minerva and me on the lakeshore by the vegetable patch. We need to position ourselves in the forest nearby, so that we can ambush our ambushers. Come on!”

 

She picked up speed, and led them into the edge of the forest.

 

“You seem awfully confident about this whole thing,” said Bill.

 

“Of course I am.” Tonks gestured for them to duck behind some shrubs with her. “I know we win.”

 

“That’s always helpful,” he replied. Tonks peered over the shrubs to check that the coast was clear, and then darted from the shrubs to the tree-line, taking cover just inside the forest.

 

As Bill and Remus joined her, Remus said, “Not to quibble, but if the Death Eaters aren’t yet on the school grounds, then why are we hiding?”

 

“Because, we don’t want me and Minerva to see us.”

 

Remus brushed his fringe out of his eyes as they slunk through the trees. “No offense, but wouldn’t our ambush on the Death Eaters be more effective if we warned Minerva and…er…you…in advance?”

 

Tonks stopped short, and turned to stare at him. “I don’t know. It never occurred to me. This was just the way the other me did it, so I figured this was how it had to happen.”

 

“That’s not necessarily true. While some theorize that time travel to the past initiates an unavoidable causality chain, other schools of thought hold that each incident of time travel creates a new alternate timeline in which events can be purposefully altered. I prefer the second theory, which—if true—means that you could learn from your alter-ego’s mistakes and improve upon her tactics.”

 

Bill looked back and forth between Remus and Tonks with a bewildered expression on his face. “Well?” he asked.

 

“Oh bloody dragon’s balls! I don’t know! You think we should just go out there and tell me what’s going on?” she said, pointing toward the lake.

 

“Tell her,” said Remus. “If the alternate timelines theory is true, then you and the Tonks on the lakeshore are two separate and distinct individuals, so referring to her as me is incorrect.”

 

“Fine,” replied Tonks with a scowl. “Do you think we should tell her what’s going on?!”

 

Bill shook his head. “I hate time travel.”

 

Remus was opening his mouth to answer when Tonks glanced at the sky. “We’re too late. They’re already in. Hurry—follow me!”

 

Tonks surged forward through the trees, coming to the edge of the forest just in time to see the other Tonks and Minerva springing into defensive postures as four robed and masked Death Eaters on brooms swooped down at them from the sky.

 

“Blast them!” she cried, aiming her wand at one of the Death Eaters and sending a Stunner in his direction.

 

She wasn’t surprised that, at this distance, she missed her swiftly moving target. However, her blast was enough to distract the gang of flying attackers so that Minerva and the other Tonks—still clad in her red Auror’s robes—could spring into action. Minerva easily deflected the first curse hurled at her with a Shield Charm, and the other Tonks dodged the first curse thrown at her and returned fire with a broom-shattering Redactor Curse. One of the Death Eaters fell to the ground with a loud thud.

 

The Tonks in the forest smiled to herself. “Good for me!”

 

Bill darted out of the cover of the forest and hit another broom with a Hurling Hex. The broom began to buck wildly, forcing the plump wizard astride it to cling on tightly for dear life.

 

The final two attackers rose quickly to higher altitude in an attempt to evade further curses. Remus ran from the cover of the forest and began shooting spell after spell at them.

 

Minerva blasted the Death Eater on the bucking broom with a Full-Body Bind, and he stiffened and toppled to the earth.

 

“Ooo,” said Bill. “That had to hurt.”

 

“Tonks!” called the tee shirt clad Tonks.

 

“What the bloody hell is going on?!” replied the robe wearing Tonks from her perch atop a large stone on the lakeshore.

 

“Call for back-up while we polish off these intruders!”

 

Robe wearing Tonks nodded sharply, and tee shirt clad Tonks sighed in relief. Thank goodness she had the wits to attend to the most important things first.

 

Tonks fingered the Timeturner around her neck, and watched as Minerva bound the two disabled Death Eaters with magical cords, while Remus and Bill continued to shoot spells up at the Death Eaters still circling above them. Everything seemed to be under control—and yet something didn’t seem right.

 

She looked over the scene once again. Two Death Eaters on the ground, and two in the sky. But last time—hadn’t there been five of them? “Shit!”

 

The last Death Eater swooped in at high speed, hitting Bill in the back with a Stunner and then zooming past the robed Tonks, kicking her violently in the shoulder and sending her tumbling from the stone and into the lake with a splash. The other Tonks flinched and rolled her own bruised shoulder, remembering her own soggy tumble into the lake.

 

The other two broom-riders seized the opportunity to dive sharply downward, pelting the defenders with curses. Tonks cast a Shield Charm just in time to divert a curse aimed at her, and noticed Remus and Minerva doing the same. Bill lay unmoving on the ground.

 

Tonks cast another Shield Charm, and watched as her robed counterpart burst from the water to return fire. One of the Death Eaters screamed and fell to the ground as his broom exploded into flames.

 

“Huh. I forgot that I did that.” Tonks smiled to herself.

 

Her pleasure was short lived, however, as she immediately had to cast another Shield Charm. The two Death Eaters still on brooms swooped and darted close to the ground, firing spells at such a rapid pace that all Minerva and the two Tonkses could do was defend themselves. Out of the corner of her eye, tee shirt clad Tonks noticed that the Death Eater who had fallen from the flaming broom was now back in action. He and Remus were dueling one on one.

 

Things were not going as smoothly as she would have liked. She didn’t even know if the other Tonks had had time to call for back-up. She had to do something—and fast.

 

In between deflecting the curses being hurtled at her, she looked around, seeking some way to tip the tables. And there it was, just above her: the bucking broom, still dancing wildly in the air.

 

“Minerva! Cover me!”

 

The old witch nodded. Tonks shot a violent blast of thick black smoke at the wizards above them, obscuring their vision. Minerva sprang into action, shooting Stunning Spells as fast as lightning bolts at the smoke shrouded Death Eaters. The robed Tonks joined the action, hitting one of the Death Eaters with a Blasting spell that nearly knocked him off of his broom.

 

In the meantime, the tee shirt wearing Tonks hit the bucking broom with an anti-hex to calm its antics, and summoned it to her. She grasped the smooth wooden handle in one hand, holding her wand at the ready in her other, and launched into the air.

 

She shot straight up as high and fast as she could, before breaking sharply and turning downward. It was perfect—the Death Eaters were too busy fighting off the assault from below to notice her. She tucked the Timeturner into her shirt for safe-keeping, and prepared to attack.

 

She dove in a fierce rush, blasting one of the remaining Death Eaters off of his broom with a powerful Stunner. She pulled up from her dive no more than five feet above the ground and swept toward the wizard dueling with Remus. She pulled back her leg and kicked with all her might, striking the man square in the head, sending him sprawling.

 

“Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?” she shouted in triumph, circling around.

 

“Tonks! He’s getting away!” called Remus, pointing at the final Death Eater fleeing across the lake.

 

“I’m on it!” She urged the broom back into high speed as she set out after the escaping wizard.

 

She skimmed a few feet above the water, the cool air rushing past her, chilling her in her damp clothing. She gripped her wand tightly, determined not to let the cold affect her aim.

 

She urged her broom steadily faster, and grinned in determination as she began to close her distance from the fleeing man. Soon, she was within spell-casting range.

 

Tonks shot a Stunner toward her opponent, but the burst of red light missed its target as the wizard swerved his broom to the right and upward, directly into the sun.

 

Tonks squinted her eyes against the blinding light. The Death Eater clearly wasn’t too smart; the flying into the sun trick worked great in Quidditch when trying to hide the Snitch from an opponent, but it didn’t work at all to hide the shadow of the wizard in front of her. And a shadow was all she needed to aim her Stunning Spells.

 

She began to fire the red bolts of light from her wand in rapid succession. It didn’t take long for one of them to hit her target.

 

She swerved her broom to get out of the way as the now-unconscious wizard tumbled toward her. She made a sharp turn downward, and pointed her wand at the rapidly plummeting body. Levicorpus!

 

The man’s descent halted abruptly as he flipped upside-down to wave back and forth from his suspended ankle. His black robes fell down over his face to expose a pair of pale, hairy legs and some tatty white boxer shorts adorned with a pattern of little green snakes curled up into heart-shapes.

 

Tonks snorted in laughter as she pulled her broom up alongside her captive. “These damn conservative pure-bloods really need to take a cue from the Muggles and start wearing trousers under their robes. Really—no one’s going to be afraid of a man in those shorts.” She continued to point her wand to control the levitation, and pulled the man along with her as she flew back to where Minerva, Remus and the other Tonks were securing the rest of the captives.

 

“Wonderful flying, love,” said the other Tonks, who had shed her sopping Auror’s robes and now stood in her dripping trousers and tee shirt, with her violet hair plastered wetly to her head. Tonks suppressed a frown as she saw more clearly than ever that violet really did make her look horribly peaky. With a little scrunch of her face she quickly morphed her own hair back to her favorite pink, resolving to give up on violet permanently. “I didn’t realize I had that kind of flying in me, anymore,” the violet Tonks continued.

 

“I didn’t either,” replied pink Tonks, coming to a soft landing beside her counterpart, “until I saw the other me do it. After that I didn’t doubt myself for an instant.”

 

“Brilliant!”

 

“It is, isn’t it?” She released her captive to the ground with a thump, and quickly bound him with magical cords.

 

“I’ve called in back-up. They’ll be here any minute,” said violet Tonks.

 

“Wonderful.” She looked over to where Bill now sat on a stump, rubbing his head. “Are you all right, mate?”

 

He nodded. “Hell of a headache, but I’ll survive.”

 

Remus stood nearby, looking bemusedly back and forth between the two Tonkses. “I’m delighted that you both fared so well,” he said, “but I have no idea which of you I’m supposed to kiss.”

 

Bill spoke up. “You’re living every man’s fantasy Remus—you could have both of them at once!”

 

Both Tonkses turned on him with a scowl, and simultaneously said, “Shut it, Weasley, or you’ll have more than a headache to worry about!”

 

They looked at each other, smiling in surprise, and burst into laughter.

 

Minerva approached them with a slight smile on her face. “You did very fine work, ladies, but I think it’s time for an explanation of what exactly is going on?” She gave pink Tonks a pointed look, and raised one eyebrow at her.

 

“Yes, of course. When I was her,” she pointed at violet Tonks, “I was on patrol with you,” she pointed at Minerva, “and the Death Eaters attacked us and another Tonks came to save us, along with these two,” she waved her hand at Bill and Remus. “After the battle she told me where to find a Timeturner in your office, and said that if I didn’t go back one turn and bring Remus and Bill here to help us, that we would both be killed. So I ran to your office, found the Timeturner, and came to do my job. It’s as simple as that.”

 

“But,” asked violet Tonks, “if you and Minerva got killed the first time around, then how did Minerva ever tell you about the Timeturner in her office and send you back in the first place?”

 

Pink Tonks shook her head. “I’ve no bloody idea. Damn. I feel like I’ve had this conversation before.”

 

“That’s probably because you have,” said Minerva gently.

 

“Oh.”

 

Remus stepped toward pink Tonks. “This would seem to support the unavoidable causality chain theory that I told you about. Which is a pity, because I really preferred the alternate timelines theory.

 

“Me, too,” replied pink Tonks. “But don’t give up on it yet. Let’s put it to the test, shall we?” She pulled the Timeturner out of her shirt and off over her head.

 

“Here you go,” she handed it to violet Tonks. “Now forget this whole one-turn rubbish. Give it two good turns right now. You’ll find Minerva and me on the far side of the lake patrolling along the fence-line. Just send for back-up straight away, and you can both relax while the other Aurors help you round up the Death Eaters as soon as they appear. That should be a hell of a lot easier than going through all this again. Then you can tell that Tonks to do the same.”

 

“Great idea!” said violet Tonks, slipping the chain over her head. “Thanks!”

 

“Wait,” said Remus, holding out his hand. “I’m not so sure about this. It sounds as if you’ll be sending the Timeturner through an unending time loop from which it can never escape.”

 

Both Tonkses looked at Remus incredulously. “So?” they said together.

 

“So—we have no idea what kind of effect that might have on the time-space continuum! It could be disastrous!”

 

“Or, if the alternate timelines theory holds true,” said Minerva, “then nothing bad at all will happen and you’ll just spare your counterparts a difficult battle.”

 

Violet Tonks nodded. “I like that.” She held up the Timeturner and prepared to turn it.

 

“Wait!” shouted Remus.

 

“Bye!” she said, giving the Timeturner a flip. She disappeared.

 

Remus winced and hunched over, looking as if he was expecting an anvil to fall from the sky.

 

Tonks rolled her eyes. “Really, love, you need to stop reading all those science fiction novels.”

 

Remus straightened up. “Do you realize that our whole timeline could have blinked out of existence?!”

 

“But it didn’t. We’re still all here. We won. Be happy. As soon as the back-up gets here you can take me home and give me a bath, and I’ll help you forget all about it.”

 

Bill stood up, eyeing her still-damp clothes. “You look like you’ve already had a bath.”

 

She glared at him. “A splash in the lake doesn’t count.”

 

“But what if the other Tonks makes a mistake? All of the other timelines could fall into chaos and disaster!” said Remus earnestly.

 

“So what?” replied Tonks. “As long as our own timeline is turning out well, why should we care about the others?”

 

“Because it’s the ethical thing to do!”

 

“Damn it.” She looked down and rubbed her head. “You’re giving me a headache. I hate time travel.”

 

“We all do, dear,” said Minerva, patting Tonks on the shoulder. “I think it’s time you stop your worrying, Remus. There’s nothing we can do about it now, after all. Just accept that things in the here and now have worked out for the best, and let go of the rest.”

 

Remus nodded and shuffled his feet. “I suppose you’re right.”

 

“Of course I am. Now, it seems your reinforcements have finally arrived.” Minerva pointed at the group of three red-robed Aurors running toward them from the front gates.

 

“Finally.” Tonks sighed. She was starting to feel quite exhausted. Remus came up beside her, and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She gratefully slumped against him. He kissed her forehead.

 

“You were wonderful, today,” he murmured.

 

“Thanks. I’m just glad we all made it out safe and sound.”

 

“Me, too.” He pulled her even closer. “I’m not ready to say goodbye to you quite yet.”

 

“Good. Me neither.”

 

The Aurors, with Williamson at their head, skidded to a halt in front of the pile of five unconscious and bound Death Eaters.

 

“Well done!” said Williamson.

 

“Thanks,” said Tonks, stepping away from Remus.

 

“How in the world did they get through Hogwarts security in the first place?”

 

“I assure you, Mr. Williamson, that I will be spending a great deal of time over the next few days finding the answer to that question,” said Minerva. “And I will do my best to ensure that it never happens again.”

 

“Can you lot take over from here?” asked Tonks wearily. “I’ve just been through the same battle twice in two hours and I’m knackered.”

 

“We really need your report to process the prisoners properly,” said Williamson.

 

“Oh, balderdash,” said Minerva. “I’ll fill you in on what you need to know for today. Auror Tonks can file her official report tomorrow.”

 

“I…suppose so,” replied Williamson.

 

“Excellent. Now you two run along home and take that bath of yours.”

 

“Thank you, Minerva,” said Tonks, smiling gratefully and leaning back into Remus’s arms.

 

“You’re very welcome. And thank you, for going through such a brave and daring fight two times in a row.”

 

“All in a day’s work,” Tonks replied.

 

“Not usually, I hope,” added Remus.

 

“Oh, God no!” she said in horror. Remus chuckled.

 

“What’s all this talk of two times in a row?” asked Williamson.

 

“I’ll fill you in, Mr. Williamson,” said Minerva. “Now let Auror Tonks go home.”

 

Williamson nodded, but watched Tonks warily as she walked with Remus back to the front gates.

 

“I can’t wait for that bath,” she said.

 

“Neither can I,” he agreed.

 

“Just promise me one thing?”

 

“Anything.”

 

“No more talk of time travel?”

 

“I promise. No more talk of time travel.”

 

“At least until I’m ready to get that story out of you.”

 

“Damn. I was hoping you’d forget.”

 

“Not likely.”

 

“Then I’ll just have to come up with a way to make your bath so distracting that you don’t think of it.”

 

She smiled. “That sounds promising.”

 

As they walked out of the gates hand in hand, making their way happily toward their cottage in the village, Tonks couldn’t help but think that this was one moment she wouldn’t mind living over and over—especially if she could do it without ever having to travel through time again.

 

The End.

 

 

 

A/N: Thanks so much for reading! If you review, you might just get lucky enough to have a frolic with two versions of your favorite HP character. ;)

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