Set during OotP, this is the untold story of Remus and Tonks: how they meet and their burgeoning friendship as the War continues to escalate around them.
Author's Note: It's my first fanfic, so I'd really appreciate any suggestions you have to improve. I hope you enjoy! If you're interested, I've put some notes in my profile about their ages, etc. It's by no means necessary to read though some might find it interesting.
Disclaimer: I'm just playing with my friends. I don't own any of them.
Chapter 1: Meeting and Re-Meeting
This was it, Remus was sure of it. He, Remus John Lupin, had officially lost his mind.
He had always been the sane one. In the Marauders, James had been the self-assured one ("Cocky, more like," Lily would correct him), and the athlete. He was the talented one, the first to master every spell and the best Quidditch player Hogwarts had seen in a long while. Sirius was the hotheaded one, the loose cannon. After a date, girls never knew if they wanted to snog him or smack him. And Peter, well Peter was the sniveling, lying backstabber, Remus knew now. But back then, Peter had just been an enigma, of sorts. A non-entity really, who seemed content to bask in James and Sirius' afterglow. Remus was the voice of reason. The logic. He had always been the one to chastise the others for their latest prank, while failing to hold back a grin. But he was that Remus no longer.
Lily Potter, the Lily Potter who had died close to fourteen years ago, was standing next to the staircase in 12 Grimmauld Place. Not only that, she was holding his favorite coffee mug. Or what remained of it at least: she held the handle in her right hand and the body in her left. He put down the box he was carrying and shook his head to try and remove this vision of Lily and regain his sanity. But there she stayed, now rummaging through the chest of drawers in the hall, muttering about Krinshack's Repair All Glue. With her long auburn hair and almond shaped eyes, Lily Potter lived, and she obviously didn't see Remus standing there, staring at her. Remus swallowed hard. How I long to hear her voice again, to hear her say, "All right there, Remus? Fancy some tea?" in that sweet lilting voice, just like she always did when she saw him.
"More Spello-tape? Who needs this much Spello-tape?" Lily said angrily, as she slammed the last drawer shut.
Well, it's not quite what I expected but…wait. That is most definitely not Lily's voice.
"Bollocks!" She yelled, as she noticed that the two pieces of the mug had fallen to the floor after she had slammed the drawer. It now lay in even smaller pieces at her feet.
Slightly unnerved by the uncanny resemblance but more than a little relieved that he still had full command of his own mind, Remus cleared his throat to announce his presence.
"Wotcher!" The woman spun around, wand raised to dueling height and at the ready in the blink of an eye. She stepped on the last pieces of the Quidditch World Cup mug at her feet in her haste. Unfazed, she locked her eyes onto Remus, almost daring him to move.
Remus put his hands up and smiled softly. Merlin, she's a quick draw. Wonder where she learned that. "I'm Remus Lupin. I'm moving in today at the request of Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore." He slowly put out his hand.
She looked down at his offered hand suspiciously and didn't take it. She instead took another good look at him. Remus could feel her sizing him up; felt her eyes linger over the threadbare spots on his trousers, the patches on his robes, the scars on his face. Remus instantly straightened his back and dropped his hand down to his side.
"Is that the truth?"
"Would you believe me if I said it was?"
"It seems, then, that we are at an impasse." Remus wished she would lower her wand.
"Molly introduced me to everyone in the house over an hour ago. She didn't mention you." Her eyes flashed dangerously. She clearly thought Remus was an intruder, despite what he had said.
"Well, I was packing the last of my things to bring over," Remus said, pointing to the box on the floor. "And I haven't seen Molly yet, since it was just yesterday I got back from…" Remus checked himself. This Lily-look alike hadn't even mentioned her name; she didn't need to know he had been holed up for his transformation. "Well, anyway. Molly probably just forgot."
"Back from wh-"
"Oi! Tonks! We found some…" Fred Weasley came bursting through the door at the end of the hall, holding a bottle of Krinshacks Repair All Glue, closely followed by his identical-to-the-freckle twin, George. "Professor Lupin!"
"Hello Fred, George. Good holiday so far?"
But Fred and George didn't answer. They were too preoccupied with the scene in front of them—the Lily clone, Tonks apparently, wand at the ready and pointed straight at the heart of their favorite former professor. They shared a look between them and began to chuckle. "You think he's a Death Eater or something, Tonks? Think they carry boxes of books and quills with them when they're on the prowl?"
At that, Tonks slowly lowered her wand, a slight blush creeping up her neck. She shrugged. "Guess I'm still a little jumpy, is all. Just learned yesterday that You-Know-Who is back. Sorry 'bout that. Name's Tonks." She stuck her hand out.
"Remus Lupin, like I said." He shook her hand, a petite thing that carried a firm grip.
Remus bent over to pick up his things. With a small smirk, he said, "I'll just finish unpacking now, if I'm free to go." Without waiting for an answer he stepped around Tonks and went upstairs. Once he reached the landing, he turned around. "Oh, and Tonks," he called, "Please do try to fix that cup. It's my favorite."
About an hour later, Remus was standing in front of the bookcase in his room, making sure his books were all in alphabetical order, by author. A soft knock at the door drew his attention away. "Come in."
"Ummm… Remus? I'm so sorry. I'm so incredibly sorry but I couldn't fix your coffee mug. I'm complete rubbish at household charms," Tonks said as she held all the remaining pieces out to him. "I'm so sorry."
"It's ok. It's just a cup. Don't worry about it. Really."
"Well, I wanted to apologize again for earlier, too. I don't know what came over me. I just wasn't prepared to see someone new in the house, I guess. I don't know."
Remus set down the pieces of the cup on his dresser. He cast a glance over to her and promptly looked away. Now that he knew she wasn't going to hex him, the uncanny resemblance to Lily hit him again, full force. His heart ached. He quickly reprimanded himself for being so silly as to have thought that she might still be alive. He had accepted their death long ago, was long practiced in ignoring the emptiness that sometimes pressed upon him like a weight on his chest. Why am I this bothered? Clearly, she's not Lily. I'm better off now than I was three years ago when I thought Sirius had betrayed us all. He's back now; half of the Marauders still remain. I'm not nearly as lonely as I have been.
"Remus? Is something the matter?" Genuine concern passed through her eyes and Remus couldn't bear to see it.
"No, no, of course not. Just a little distracted, that's all." Remus answered, too quickly for it to be the truth. An awkward silence followed.
"Well, I think I'll go help Molly with din-"
"Where did you learn to draw your wand so quickly?" Remus blurted out. What kind of question is that? Who asks such a ridiculous question?
Tonks looked at him for a moment before answering. "Well… I am an auror. Vigilance, dark arts, bad guys, you know. Kind of comes with the territory, I guess."
"You're an auror?" Didn't she just say that, Dim Wit? Remus didn't know why he kept asking such inane questions; he just knew he didn't want her to leave yet.
"Got a problem with that?" Tonks asked, eyes flashing. "Look, I know I'm young but I've worked just as hard as everyone else to get where I am."
Remus was taken aback by her sudden change of demeanor. She looked ready to hex him a dozen different ways to Sunday, again. Once more her unbelievable similarity to Lily rushed to the forefront of his mind. His heart wrenched as he remembered her giving that exact same look to James after he laughed at her when she said she'd be coming with them to the first meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. Remus also remembered how smug she had looked, sitting across the table from him as Albus discussed the latest news of the war.
"Of course it's not a problem. We need as many able-bodied and quick thinking members as we can possibly get," Remus tried to assuage her. "Aurors are always an asset."
"Like alliteration, do we?" With that and a little smile, Tonks left the room.
"Aww…. Come on, Tonks! Please? Just once?" Fred Weasley had fallen to new lows in the wheedling department. He'd spent the past fifteen minutes repeating the same phrases over and over to Tonks, apparently trying to get her to do something, but Remus was unsure of what exactly it was. He was concentrating on his mashed potatoes. Not only was he still recovering from his transformation, which always left him just slightly dragging, he had had a stressful day, what with almost being attacked upon entering the house. He was doing better than Sirius though—Remus still hadn't seen him yet today. Molly had told him that he had had a huge row with Albus about Harry. Harry was going mad in Privet Drive, constantly asking questions that Sirius wasn't allowed to answer, as per Dumbledore. Molly said Sirius had gone spare on Albus, demanding that he tell Harry everything. And Dumbledore, in his Dumbledore way, had brooked no argument on the matter. Sirius was now sulking in his room and had shown no signs of leaving.
Remus sighed, and looked around the table. Lastly, his eyes fell upon Tonks. She was silently shaking her head at Fred, red hair swinging softly, and clearly not budging on whatever he wanted from her. But then, she screwed her eyes up in concentration and suddenly, her nose started taking on a new form. It grew, elongated a bit, and then, sure enough… it started to hook. Her beautiful Lily face was now marred by a nose that instantly made her look as though she were sneering. Shocked, Remus let out a gasp.
Tonks looked up sharply. "Wotcher, Remus. What's the matter?"
"Your nose…it's…but…what happened?"
"I'm a metamorphmagus—didn't Sirius tell you?" Tonks asked, in disbelief.
No, Sirius hadn't told him. In fact, Sirius didn't even tell me you existed. Why would he have? Was he supposed to? Thoroughly confused, Remus replied with a short "No, he didn't." He then put his napkin down, stood up from the table, and exited the room for the library.
A moment later, she stood at the door to the library. "Remus?"
"Yes, Tonks?" Remus was weary. He didn't want to talk to Tonks. He didn't want to talk to anyone. He just wanted to be alone. But he wasn't going to be able to, from the look on her face.
"I feel like our meeting has been completely off from the first moment we saw each other. Can we start over?" When Remus looked at her she looked so earnest, so hopeful that he smiled.
"I'm Remus John Lupin, and I just moved in today. Sirius Black is my best friend, and I am now working full-time for the Order of the Phoenix. And you are?" He held out his hand for her to shake.
As she took his hand, she said, "Nymphadora Tonks, at your service. Please, just call me Tonks. I'm an auror and a new member of the Order."
"Nymphadora? Really?" He felt much better knowing her full name.
"That's the only time you get to use it. From here on out—it's Tonks. Seriously. I hate my name."
"Why do you hate it? I think it's rather… unique." Remus was going to say beautiful, but he could tell that she didn't want to hear it.
"Unique, eh? Yeah, well, when your mom is named Andromeda, let's just say the only way she can get revenge is to take it out on her unsuspecting, defenseless child." And then, Tonks giggled. It was a beautiful, melodic giggle that made her eyes sparkle. Remus was awestruck for a moment at the sound.
"Wait. Your mom is Andromeda? As in Andromeda Black?" Putting two and two together, Remus finally made sense of her questioning what Sirius had told him about her.
"Yes. Sirius is my first cousin, once removed. And it's Andromeda Tonks. She was disowned, not that she minded." She seemed to be steeling herself, as if Remus was going to make a disparaging comment about the Black family and associate her with the dark arts the family practiced.
"So, you're a metamorphmagus," Remus tried to start a new topic of conversation.
"Yes, and it's not a Dark Art, whatever you might be thinking about my Black family heritage," Tonks spat at him.
"Stop doing that," Remus heard the steely quality in his own voice.
"Doing what?" Tonks asked, still in defensive mode.
"Stop taking all of my innocent questions to mean that I'm somehow judging you for something. I know what it's like when people make assumptions on your character for things you can't control."
She stopped and looked hard at him, trying to determine if there was truth in his eyes. He didn't flinch under the stare, and tried to let his honesty shine through. After a moment, she relaxed a bit, and Lupin felt it was safe to re-ask his question. "So, you're a metamorphmagus."
"Yes." She had seemed to believe what he said, but she wasn't very forthcoming. Remus surged ahead anyway. He had to know.
"So… is this what you normally look like? I mean, without the Snape nose." He definitely didn't like the hooked monstrosity that was currently gracing her otherwise beautiful face.
"Oh, no. It's not. I just wanted to feel more like a Weasley around all of them, you know," Tonks fingered a long lock of hair as she said this. "So I came up with this approximation of what an older Ginny or a younger Molly might look like. What do you think?"
"Honestly?" Remus asked, and when he got a short nod and confused look from Tonks he finished, "You're the spitting image of Lily Potter. I'm surprised Sirius didn't say anything."
"Oh dear, that won't do, will it? Sirius hasn't seen me yet—I just got here today and he hasn't been out of his room… oh, what you must think of me." Tonks, looking quite distressed, screwed up her eyes once more. Soon, her long red hair started to shorten, and turn a curious shade of pink. Her eyes went from almond shaped to slightly more round, and her face took on a lovely pale heart shape.
"Better?" She asked with her eyes still closed.
"Is this the real you?" Remus couldn't help asking.
"No. I don't show anyone that." She said matter-of-factly, looking at him again, this time with eyes of a most shocking teal color. "You must hate me for making you talk with Lily all day. I really didn't know. I was only six when they died, and I've never really seen pictures…"
Remus cut her off. "It's ok. I thought you just naturally had a striking resemblance. Well, honestly, at first, I thought I had lost my mind," he smiled at the memory, "Besides personality-wise, you do remind me of her a little, and that's not a bad thing. And it's definitely not something I'd hate you over."
"Well, thanks, I guess. I'm just going to head back over to my flat now. See you at the meeting tomorrow?" She couldn't seem to get away from him fast enough. He didn't know how to ease her embarrassment at all.
"You don't have to go," Remus started.
"Yes, yes I do. Long day tomorrow, all that. You'll be at the meeting tomorrow?"
"Tonks," she cut him off abruptly.
"Sure, Tonks. See you tomorrow." He turned to one of the bookcases as she left the room. I wonder what she'll look like tomorrow, Remus caught himself thinking as we walked up the stairs to his room, book in hand.