Tonks, Pt. II
Tonks sighed as she sat down in the dining room of the house she and Ludwig had purchased after the defeat of Voldemort. Based off of both of their actions that led to the Dark Lord's downfall, they had both been compensated to a 'healthy degree.' Ludwig even more so due to his Order of Merlin, which carried a 500 galleon a month stipend from the Ministry. The young couple had decided to purchase a moderately sized house so they could continue to save their money so that one day they could afford a larger domain.
Looking at the wall opposite from her, Tonks looked at her wedding pictures. That was one of the happiest days of her life, and she knew that it was for Ludwig as well. She had never seen him so much at peace than she had on that day. Unfortunately, that also included the past year.
Just because Voldemort had fallen didn't mean that the Waechter's life got any more less hectic. In fact, it only seemed to become more so. The past few weeks of Ludwig being Tonks' 'guard dog' had been a blessing because it was the most continuous amount of time the couple had spent together since their honeymoon. It was also one of the few times in the past few months that she had seen him actually, truly, happy.
Now with the entire Ministry in upheaval due to the apparent corruption on the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, it seemed like life would only become more difficult for the two. She was already working longer hours herself because the entire MLES was put on an indefinite suspension of activities, and who knew what the Department of Mysteries was doing.
Tonks shook her head as she watched the real Damien waltz into the room. The German Shepard had indeed been a gift from Ludwig on her birthday in order to keep her company when he was out of the house. The fact that his animagus form was one that closely resembled the dog did help.
Tonks' sighed as she finished the glass of wine she had poured herself, waiting for her husband to come home. That was another thing that was starting to worry her. She had a sneaking suspicion that Ludwig had been covering the stresses in his life by drinking. She couldn't even remember the last time she hadn't seen Ludwig go more than a day without imbibing an excessive amount of alcohol.
She loved Ludwig with all of her heart, but she couldn't bear that he was in distress, and was hiding it from her, with alcoholism of all things. The fact that Ludwig was troubled made her heart break, as he was the strongest person that she had ever known! She shook her head, and noticed that Damien's ears had perked up.
"Oh, what's the matter now?" Tonks asked with a slight laugh, as the dog barked. Suddenly, Tonks heard the front door open.
"Dora, I'm home," came the voice of Ludwig, and Tonks could swear that she heard a muttered, "finally."
"Luddie!" Tonks said, going to meet him. When she saw him though, he looked simply awful. Tonks gasped, and exclaimed, "Oh my God! What happened to you?"
"Got into a fight with a bunch of people that didn't want to," Ludwig said, pecking Tonks on the lips, before taking his tattered outer robe off, and giving it a tired look.
"What were you doing?" Tonks asked, taking her husband's arm, and leading him to the sofa.
"To tell you the truth I really can't remember," Ludwig responded, placing one of his hands over his eyes, "I'm just so burnt out that I can't tell which way is up anymore."
"Oh, Luddie," Tonks said with a sigh, running her hand through his long untamed black hair, "You really should think about taking some time off."
"And say what 'Dora?" Ludwig responded with a snap, "'I'm sorry I can't take the stress of my job, can you take some pity on me and give me a few weeks off?' As if they'd let me."
"Ludwig," Tonks exclaimed, slightly exasperated, "You have said countless times, you are their best agent. I'm sure if you told them the toll the job was placing on you, they'd let you have a few weeks off!"
Ludwig lowered his hand off of his face, and turned his head to look at Tonks, who noticed the gash on his face that stuck out sharply against his green eyes. His face also seemed to be littered with many older scars, including a jagged one that was above his eye, and seemed to continue down onto his cheek. Seeing her husband's true face caused Tonks to jump lightly in shock. It truly confirmed for her just how worn out Ludwig was, as he didn't even have the energy to hold an Metamorphmagus transformation.
"Oh, honey," Tonks sighed, caressing her husband's cheek, "You can't keep going on like this. Even superheroes need a break every so often."
"I love you," Ludwig responded, looking at his wife in adoration.
"Me too," Tonks responded, kissing her husband on his forehead, "Now budge up! You need to take a shower then we are going to have a fantastic dinner!"
Tonks looked at her desk in exasperation. It had been two weeks since she had demanded that Luddie ask for time off, and she hadn't seen her husband since that night. In the meantime, more and more corruption was discovered in the offices of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. The scandal kept on growing, for that was far from the end of it.
Tonks looked at the folder in front of her and couldn't believe what she was reading. Somehow, for some reason, just about every lead that they had on the case was leading to people that were directly implicated in dealings with Voldemort. Even worse, in addition to these ties, there was just this nagging feeling that the Yellow Brick Road went even farther from there, although the path did seem to end with just that. Ties.
Suddenly Tonks heard a knock on her door, and looked up just in time to see a man in black robes with a Ministry crest on his breast enter.
"Yes?" Tonks asked, the man seemed oddly familiar.
"You're the wife of Special Agent Third Class Ludwig Waechter, correct?" when Tonks nodded in the affirmative with a building sense of dread coming over her the (now obvious) Unspeakable continued, "I'm an Agent with the Department of Mysteries, your presence is requested immediately in Level Nine concerning your husband."
"What's going on?" Tonks asked, immediately standing up, grabbing her outer robe and ensuring her wand was attached to her arm. The Unspeakable shook his head.
"Not here," he responded, taking a hold of her arm suddenly. Before Tonks could reply she felt a hook on her navel as a port key took a hold of her. Instantly she found herself in a hospital ward that she remembered being in a few years ago.
"What's going on?" Tonks demanded from the Unspeakable once again, this time in a slightly worried voice.
"Follow me please," the Unspeakable said, causing Tonks to sigh in exasperation. Just what in the nine layers of Hell was going on? The Unspeakable led her till they were outside a door that had another Unspeakable posted at it with what looked like a staff in his hand. The Unspeakable leading Tonks turned and started to speak to her again, "Before we go any further, let me assure you that he is going to make a full recovery."
Tonks' heart almost came to a full and complete stop.
"Follow me," the Unspeakable said, opening the door to the room, and stood aside for Tonks to enter. When she did, she almost collapsed on the spot.
Ludwig was laying in the bed in a sort of suspended animation, obviously the victim of a massive magical attack.
"As you can tell Mrs. Waechter your husband is hurt," the Unspeakable said, before adding on quite unnecessarily, "Bad."
"I can tell," Tonks said under her breath.
"As you know, your husband is a Metamorphmagus," the Unspeakable continued, pulling a piece of paper out of a file that had appeared in his hands, "And he has reverted to his natural form due to his injuries."
The Unspeakable handed the paper to Tonks, and on it she saw Ludwig's legal picture that he had to have registered with the Ministry because he was a Metamorphmagus. It showed Ludwig with blonde hair and a slightly tanned complexion. Looking over at her husband who was laying on the bed she saw that indeed he matched the picture.
Tonks, with tears forming in her eyes, asked, "What happened?"
"Without going into specifics, he was following a lead on an investigation that we were working on," the Unspeakable replied, "And this is how we found him earlier this morning. You have been granted access to the Department of Mysteries medical center while your husband is here. Just use this port key to come directly to this room."
He handed Tonks a tattered book, before excusing himself. Tonks sighed, and sat down in the chair that was next to the bed. What the hell happened? Even Ludwig would never get himself into something like this! Sure, he had been the victim of many close calls throughout the years, but he always managed to think of something before he got in to deep…and ended up like this.
'Wait a second,' Tonks thought to herself, looking at the photo of Ludwig that the Unspeakable had handed to her. Yes, blonde hair…but her husband's hair wasn't naturally blonde…but that meant…
"I hate you Luddie," Tonks said with an amused, but slightly angered, laugh. She stood up quite briskly, taking one last look at the man that was lying in bed, once again reveling in the mysteries that always seemed to surround themselves around her husband.
Never the less, she was going to kill that man the next time she saw him.
"The Beginning of the End"
Three days later, she was visited by Ludwig's adoptive father, Patrick. She smiled tightly when he entered, for she had this sneaking suspicion that he knew something about where her husband was, and just exactly what was going on.
"Wotcher Patrick," Tonks said, leading the man into the kitchen.
"Evening," Patrick responded, looking around the kitchen, "You seem to be managing well…considering."
"Yeah, well," Tonks responded, tightening her grip on the bottle of wine she was taking out of the cupboard, trying to remember exactly how Ludwig said it was supposed to be used, "I have a job to do myself, can't mope around all the time."
"But Tonks, he's your husband!" Patrick responded, seeming perplexed by Tonks' attitude.
"Why are you here Patrick?" Tonks replied, opening the wine bottle with her wand.
"I just wanted to see why you haven't been back to see your husband," Patrick responded, looking slightly angry.
"Oh cut the crap Patrick," Tonks responded, pouring some of the wine into the glass, holding it almost up to her lips, "I know for a fact that isn't your son, my husband in that ward."
"What are you talking about-" Patrick started to say before Tonks threw the wine at Patrick, "What was that for!"
"A gift from Ludwig," Tonks replied, walking over to Patrick and pushing him down onto a chair, "If you remember correctly he has a talent for coming up with different kinds of truth potions, and ways to implement them?"
Patrick nodded, a look of horror spreading across his face. Tonks continued, "Well, this one just happens to be one that works by seeping it's way into your skin. Handy isn't it?"
The look of horror only grew larger, before Patrick's body jolted and he was suddenly quite relaxed in the chair.
"Now," Tonks said, looking down at her father in law, "Where is Ludwig?"
"Right behind you," Patrick responded. Tonks spun around and came face to face with her darling husband.
"LUDWIG!" Tonks screamed, "You have no idea how…you…you…you have no idea how glad I am you're okay!"
Tonks dissolved against her husband's chest, crying her eyes out, "Do you have any idea how horrible it was to see that body in that ward?"
"I know Dora, I know," Ludwig responded, kissing the top of his wife's pink hair. Tonks heard him sigh, "But unfortunately, I'm afraid I can't stay."
"Why?" Tonks asked, looking up at her husband, who had a remorseful look on his tanned face.
"Things are getting bad Dora," Ludwig responded, "So bad, I had to petty much fake my death."
Tonks and Ludwig went into their living room, leaving a slightly sedated Patrick in the kitchen.
"When I went into the Department seventeen days ago, we had a huge lead on the source of the corruption," Ludwig said as he took a seat across from Tonks, "So I automatically volunteered to go, thinking as soon as I got back enough would have been accomplished to request some time off."
Here he sighed, Tonks could tell he was frustrated.
"Unfortunately, the mission went to shit," Ludwig went on, "Turns out, the corruption had spread itself even into the Department of Mysteries, and I was an amazingly marked man. I was able to escape from the set up, but not before I had my right leg broken and gotten knocked in the head. You know the problems that I have with those injuries, so as you may guess I was in a bad way when I escaped. Fortunately my boss was able to find out about the set up right after I left, so he was able to find me."
"It was then that it was decided that I needed to disappear from the underworld scene, as my tactics were to well known, and I had a target placed on my head the size of Dumbledore's beard."
Tonks laughed despite herself, she was starting to connect some dots in her head as he husband went on.
"So a double of my body was made, and deposited into a river bank, where it was discovered four days ago," Ludwig said, rubbing his hand in irritation above his eyebrows, "In the meantime I've been laying low in a safe house only known to me recovering from my injuries, and allowing the world to believe that I was in serious condition at the Level Nine Ward."
Ludwig sighed again, "I'm sorry for having to put you threw that, but it was necessary. The underworld MUST believe that I am dead for this investigation to continue. Otherwise, more and more dead ends and traps are going to open themselves up."
"But why?" Tonks asked, not liking that her husband had to go into hiding.
"I'm sorry, but even though you're my wife I can't tell you that," Ludwig responded, looking frustrated, "However, my bosses felt sorry for me, so they've decided to cut me a break, and are extended an offer to you."
"What is it?" Tonks asked, suddenly feeling that she really did not want to know.
"How do feel about living in Germany?"
Life was suddenly about to become even more hectic.
A/n: "Megalomania" by Muse and "The Beginning of the End" by H.I.M. for this chapter. "Interlude" by My Chemical Romance for the last chapter. I would recommend paying attention to these 'sub-titles' for the chapters. Just saying…
Hope you enjoyed this chapter, for I know I did. Thanks for all the reviews for the last chapter. Now, please, if you would, review this one!
Thanks once again!