Here it is, the end. Probably not as big and wild as some of you may have wanted, but I felt it appropriate. Let me know if it's too awful, but I'm going to be away all summer, and I don't know if I can fix it. 'Sides, I like this ending personally.
Anyway, thanks so much for everyone who was reviewed with their great comments and help!
"MAD MASSACRER MURDERS MINISTER", Arthur Weasley read aloud, noticeably avoiding any drama the headline might demand. His face was set; Tonks wasn't sure if he were trying to keep himself from crying or laughing. "Poor Black... dies... yet he still manages more fame than the rest of us combined. Except you, of course, Harry."
Harry smiled weakly across the table. The Burrow kitchen, a far cry from Grimmauld Palce, where no one seemed to want to be lately, Tonks had observed. Not since the rumor had ran rampant. With Ginny and the twins going over time, and Order members who knew next to nothing about Sirius, she was afraid to see what version was the latest. Sirius being summoned back from the dead in a seance gone wrong and taking over the body of a chipmunk. A rabid chipmunk that could somehow kill Fudge.
Harry didn't seem to mind, though. The smile there wasn't horribly pained. Ooh, but how nice it would be to be all callused and hardened like that. And already have gone through the experience of being considered insane. Yes. That would be useful. Tonks actually had to attempt to be considered insane. And even then they all thought she was just being cute. Or stupid. And there was a large difference between cute and stupid.
"The alliteration is clever, I admit," Dumbledore said, rising heavily from his chair. Great. Even he could sound happy. Like the mourning period had been over a month ago. "I just wish... I had something earlier."
Which it was. With a silent sigh Tonks lowered her face into her hands.
"Arthur!" Molly snapped, yanking the newspaper away from her husband with force even dark magic couldn't provide. Even then her eyes, too kind, were sneaking over to Tonks and Harry. "I don't think that's appropriate material for the dinner table."
Ron made some snide comment about other tidbits his mother liked to bring up.
Tonks actually laughed.
Molly stared in horror.
"I'm fine," Tonks continued, snatching the paper herself. "I'm fine. And no, Arthur, I do not require Muggle therapy. My dad told me all about that. All about it."
"I was threatened to be sent to one once, by the Dursleys," Harry said.
Another awkward silence. Dinner had been full of them. Very full. Of course, half of those had been happily ruined by a rude sound from George or Fred or another comment about therapy.
Therapy. She did not need therapy. Just because she and Harry had happened to have been there the entire time... knew what really happened...
She really needed Muggle Excedrin right then. The picture was much too large for the paper, almost pushing at the margins and the article itself. An article that had managed to once again write her in as Nymphoria–they couldn't even get the name she hated right! But who cared. Not with that picture. Fudge lying there. Dead. No longer Sirius.
What a relief it had never been Sirius. And yet even of that she was no longer sure. And it had all happened just one day before. One far too interesting day where more energy had been drained out in adrenalin than any Quidditch game they could throw at her. It just wasn't healthy. Finding out the Minister's wife is out to get him. Finding out the Minister might be a relative, second cousin once removed or whatever Sirius had been, she no longer cared. The family black sheep was the only title that had ever mattered, anyway. Too much of those sorts of thoughts rushing back. All the good times she had had with the Minister/Sirius. She couldn't even think of him as Cornelius anymore. Eww.
Then the worst part of all. Rushing in there for the cat fight of the century and all the girl drama Tonks had never received during her school years.
And now, once again, no more Sirius.
Molly had hidden the sleeping potion much too well.
"So..." Bill said almost under his breath. "Who's going to be taking up Mrs. DeChant's position in the Department of Magical Transportation, Dad?"
"I think that's the Department Mrs. Fudge should have worked in," Ron said, chucking a string bean at Harry.
Snickers from most of the table, including, to Tonks' amazement, Dumbledore, while Arthur blushed and Molly looked on in confusion.
"Mum," Ginny said softly. "It was supposed to be dirty. And I wasn't laughing."
Molly stared. "It was?"
Ginny sighed and shook her head at George. "Told you she could be clueless."
"I'm very clueless. And I demand to know what raunchy jokes my children are saying right in front of me!"
"You'll get it later, Mum," Bill said, hiding back a grin.
Harry chucked the string bean back at Ron.
Amazing how people could laugh at this sort of stuff. Harry's gaze caught hers. He wasn't laughing. Tonks suddenly had a desire to spring dramatically to her feet, grab a carrot from the vegetable bowl, and demand that everyone once again go into mourning for Sirius Black.
Of course, they hadn't been there. And Dumbledore had already said too much. If she heard one more drop of that old coot's guilt...
Sirius, she thought. Why is our family so screwed up?
"What about the Minister?" Molly asked, eyes daring Ron to make another dirty joke. "Poor Cornelius Fudge. He wasn't such a horrible man, not really. Just... oh, I hate to say mean things about people! I mean, shouldn't people really know who was responsible for it?"
"They do, Molly," Dumbledore replied, taking the carrot Tonks had fantasized over and biting into it. "Voldemort and the Death Eaters were responsible. We don't need a specific name. Why, I'm sure it's been debated that Mrs. DeChant and Mrs. Fudge were involved with the murder themselves! No one liked the latter young lady, anyway. Not even her brother. Why, I just spoke with him this morning in fact. Told me only family honor kept him from being too suspicious. Still claims he didn't know she was a Death Eater, though. Except he slipped on that once, too." He shook his head. "The fools we let into this Order."
"The sad part," Arthur said. "Is that aside from the fact it was a Ministry attack, no one seems to care that Fudge is dead. Even sadder that it makes people so much more supportive of the Order. Now we just have to wait for everyone to argue over who will be the next Minister."
"Harry," Ginny suggested. "That'd break a record. Youngest Minister of Magic ever."
Without a word, Harry pushed away from the table and left the room.
"Oh, dear," Molly breathed.
"I guess I'm just used to Sirius Black being..." Bill couldn't finish his sentence. "This is going to get some getting used to."
Dumbledore shook his head. "It'll be like it's always been."
The gravy was pretty thick. With one horrid dash of her finger, Tonks smeared a moustache around the sickening body of Fudge, then proceeded to follow Harry.
"Nice likeness!" Fred called as she stomped out. That was followed by an berating from his mother. And the exit would have been more dramatic if Fred's words hadn't sent her crashing into the doorframe. Tonks rubbed her nose, threw the finger, and was gone.
Harry. She had to find Harry. He was the only one who knew what was going on. And... Sirius had been his godfather. Sad to say those two were closer than she had ever been with Sirius. Yet what had it been about him? Just the strange bond of two normal people in a line of dark art psychopaths? Strange how the world worked out like that.
"Harry?" she called, making her way to the front door and nearly tripping over a chicken. "Harry?"
He was by the gate, staring off at a Muggle jet flying overhead, completely unaware of the magical little house a mile beneath it.
She collapsed next to him. "You stole my dramatic exit."
He shrugged. "Sorry."
"Still thinking about Sirius?" she asked. Maybe not the best thing to bring up. "I still think he likes it. Go out in glory. And it just might make everyone else mad."
He sighed and glared at her. "In case you didn't know, this means that there could be other Death Eaters in the Ministry."
"There always have been. You can't possibly think the war is going to be over that easy."
Another shrug. "I guess I just miss him. Which is odd. I'm missing him like I was missing him right after... you know."
Bonding. Tonks had never been good at this sort of thing.
"I just can't help but think that if he worked so hard to come back, well, he'd do it again. Then again, I'll probably wake up all over again and think it was all a crazy dream."
"I really hate that possibility."
He nodded. "No one else gets it."
That was true. "Well said, Harry. All they get is the lovely tabloid image of Mrs. Tawnya Fudge as a villainous temptress."
Harry actually laughed.
"You think it funny to mock my imprisoned sister that way?"
Harry went three shades of red.
A man stood at the gate, all but snarling.
Sirius, Tonks thought automatically. She hadn't said it aloud, had she? But it wasn't Sirius. Though it did look sort of like him. Except for the hair. Red. The same color as Mrs. Fudge's, only not so hideously curly. The face, though, was almost similar. Except more snide. And a broader jaw. Maybe a few years younger than Sirius, yet dressed in... practically rags?
He must have appropriately taken her gaping as an insult. "If you discovered your sister to be in one of Vold– You-Know-Who's deeper circles, you wouldn't give the closet much attention, either." Dramatic sigh, lousy attempt to calm himself. Yet it somehow worked. "Hello," he said in a much kinder voice. "Felix Brousten. Albus Dumbledore wanted to meet me here. I've decided to join the Order of the Phoenix, and I'm sure you two are in it." Without waiting for Harry to collect himself he had the poor kid's hand in his shaking grip.
Psycho, Tonks thought.
"Sorry," Brousten said, stepping back. "But my sister.. Yeah, you must understand that. I was Tawnya Fudge's husb– brother."
Tonks wondered if it were rude to have both her and Harry staring.
"Dreadful news to hear about that Sirius Black doing what he did," Brousten continued. "Never liked him. Though I always thought he was innocent. Was positive of it."
Sirius, Tonks thought. Why did they always have to bring up Sirius?
But Harry was already on his feet, eyes twisting in bewilderment. And... Harry was a confusing kid to read at times. "Dumbledore's inside..."
If they had all stopped being rude. If Dumbledore had stopped pouring out the guilt Tonks was sure he had collected.
But for some reason she wasn't sure of, she had to invite this moron in. So brassy... if she had been in a better mood, he would have been likeable.
"So, Tonks," Brousten said. "I understand you were there at the time."
"How did you know my name?" For a moment she didn't understand, she panicked.
"Oh." Blush. "Of course."
She really wished Harry would stop staring at the guy. He was supposed to be sad. Like everyone else should be.
"I still can't believe we had to erase his memory, though," James said. "I mean... it's Sirius! Isn't that just... unethical?"
"So is a premature killing," Lily replied, drawing closer to the Burrow.
"Felix Brousten was a little-known auror from a middle-class family who happened to run into a knife," James defended. "I mean, there wasn't even anyone in the room at the time. He just didn't know how to carve a chicken."
"Honey, I meant Sirius."
"At least the real Brousten's spirit isn't complaining." James examined the back of the new body's head. "If Sirius could remember, he'd like that body. Looks almost like his old one, except for the hair."
Lily nodded. "Cute, huh? Nothing wrong with redheads. Though I don't think it matters. And there is nothing immoral about erasing someone's memory. He'll find his own way to help the Order now. Now that because of you and Sirius their definitely going to need all the help they can get."
James sighed. "I just can't believe we erased his memory!" He turned away. "Some best friend I am."
"You're fine." Lily watched as her son, Tonks, and the new body containing Sirius Black approached the Burrow. Sirius/Brousten stopped once, seeming to examine a chicken. Then he turned and winked directly at Lily.
She winked back. Hopefully he was smart enough to keep his mouth shut this time. Well, that plan beginning in a few days, maybe. Give him time to get settled in, out of the limelight.
Maybe he should campaign for Minister. No, too much mess.
The door closed behind them.
Lily was enjoying watching James' suffer. Yeah, it probably was unethical to erase a memory. Felix Brousten was good and dead. He deserved his own memories. And so did Sirius. Only Sirius could protect her son like a good godfather should.
But for now, it was all about entertainment. She'd tell James later that she had "forgotten" the rules.
Alternate Endings that I didn't Do:
Lily and James luckily find Sirius' body and give it back.
They actually erase Sirius' memory.
Sirius goes back to being dead and Remus runs off with Tonks (yay)
Sirius goes back to being dead, and everyone is sad.