Note- It's probably fairly obvious that this takes place during Book Five, but I'll say it here just in case: this takes place during Book Five!
Disclaimer- All characters and settings belong to JK Rowling.
He didn't really expect her to find her there, as she was about as fond of that room as he was- that is, not very. But when he opens the door, his eyes immediately catch on her bubble-gum colored hair; it stands out like a bright beacon in the drab, stuffy chamber. She has a habit of standing out, he remembers. Even when he had known her as a child, always changing colors to bother his mother.
"Wotcher," she mutters without looking up. "Mad-Eye hates me, I think."
Sirius snorts. "You know he doesn't."
She, too, snorts (it must run in the family), and flashes a hefty sheaf of papers in his direction. She's grinning, though, and her eyes are bright blue. He closes the door, shutting out the sounds of Molly and Hermione attempting dinner downstairs.
"That looks to be a load of fun," he says. "What's it for?"
"Work." She shakes her head, rolling her eyes in a way that makes her look six again. He laughs. He used to have a very attractive laugh (in fact, he used to be very attractive in general), but now it has gone all hoarse and dry, unused; he reminds himself that such things will take time to return, should they ever do so.
"Can I help?"
She giggles and looks up once more. "Unless you want to help me write up a report on the-"
"I think I'll pass!" he says brightly.
"Typical!" She mock-scoffs. "Sirius Black, the chronically lazy."
He throws his arms up in the air, as Muggles do when they've been nailed by the law. "You've figured me out, Dora! You've got me!"
She nods studiously, suppressing a silly grin. "That's why I'm an Auror. Tonks the Auror."
He sinks into a mildewed chair and stretches his legs. They're silent for a while, and he listens to the scratching of his cousin's quill against parchment.
"Bloody hell," she says, checking her watch. "I've been working on this for ages and I'm only halfway through." She contemplates her lack of efficiency. "You know, it's Thursday. That's got to be it. I could never get the hang of those."
He raises an eyebrow at her.
"Oh, that's a tired pun."
"I like it."
"Yes, I would," she agrees firmly. "It is really quite brilliant, now that I think about it."
"Oh, I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"Think, I mean. It's entirely too thought-consuming."
She wrinklesup her face and cocks her head sideways. "Are you making fun of me, dear cousin?"
He raises his chin and points his nose in the air. "Of course not, darling Dora."
"Well, you are certainly making fun now. Sod off, you oversized lout."
She sighs in a very adult way, a way that says I am a busy woman and I am completely fed up with a number of things at this moment, including you. She puts the papers in a drawer and slides the pot of ink to the right. Sirius watches, slightly incredulous, as she disappears under the desk. He hears the wrenching of floorboards (not that he cares if a few of them are broken- he hates the place already) and the clink of glass.
She appears with two bottles of Butterbeer. Bloody old Butterbeer, from the looks of it.
"Catch," she says.
"Dora, you're not very good at throwing-"
"Shut it, you" she says airily, and proceeds to toss him a bottle. He catches it, but only after throwing himself to the left as it sailed through the air toward the Black family tree.
"You know," she says, "I think you ought to have let the bottle go."
"I am not cleaning Butterbeer off this tapestry. There is no way."
"Who said you'd clean it off? Personally, I'd like to rub a cigarette butt all over it and take a-"
"Dora!" he says, surprised and alarmed. "Do you smoke?"
"No, but that doesn't mean I can't do it anyway. God, Sirius, when did you become my father?"
"Dunno." Her anger reminds him that she's still young. Probably too young, but she's a Black; youth never lasts long in the House of Black, he knows.
"I feel sorry for poor Harry, if this is how overprotective you are…"
"Sod off. How can I take you seriously when your hair's bright pink?"
With a defiant look, she changes her hair. It's long and straight and certainly not pink now, and her eyes are dark. She looks like her mother and her aunts. "How's this?" There is uncharacteristic anger in her voice."It's obviously not good enough for them," she says, thrusting a finger in the direction of the tapestry and taking a swig of Butterbeer.
"Take a deep breath, Dora."
She's still angry, but she does as he says."You're the only one who still calls me that, apart from Mum and Dad."
He shrugs. "I missed the whole transition into "Tonks", though, didn't I?"
"Yeah. That's okay. The family still calls me Nymphadora."
"Yeah. Are you ever going to take it down?"
"The tree? No. It's not my house."
"Erm, yes it is, Sirius." There's a slight grin on her face, now, and he feels more at ease.
"Nah, Kreacher runs the show. He'd probably kill me or something."
Tonks laughs. "You think?"
"He's a strange one. A deranged House-Elf. Only the Blacks could make one of those."
"Not all of us."
Sirius sighs. An I'm lonely here, why do you all have to come here and cheer me up and then leave sigh. Tonks wants to get up and hug him, but she suddenly feels very heavy in the desk chair that once belonged to Sirius' father.
So instead she repeats, "Not all of us."
"Yeah," he admits. "But not many of us."
"But still. It's not all of us. We're not all like that."
"We're a bloody confused lot. But we're alright."
"Yeah," she says. "We're alright."
Thanks for reading!