November 23, 1995
I found a Time-Turner in a trunk in the attic.
I was supposed to be cleaning. Merlin knew Grimmauld Place could use it. I had straightened a few boxes and crates, but the temptation to search for 'buried treasure' was too hard to resist. Humming a sea shanty, I dug through a brassbound trunk and found what I first thought was an enormous hourglass.
It wasn't until I tripped on a box and tossed the bloody thing into the air that I learnt it was something much different. I didn't know how many times it 'turned,' but it felt like I was flying backwards at a dizzying speed.
Once the world stopped spinning, I sat up. The attic wasn't a dusty jumble anymore. In fact, it was almost disturbingly tidy.
When I heard a woman screech 'Kreacher,' I realised the 'hourglass' was a Time-Turner, and that I had to get out of there. Neither Walburga nor her devoted minion would hesitate to kill an intruder. Especially not a woman claiming to be the daughter of a Muggle loving blood-traitor.
I used a Shrinking Charm on the Time-Turner and stuck it in my pocket before opening an attic window and making my escape. A Defluere Charm helped me 'float down' to pavement below. I was too rattled to Apparate to the Central Floo Station, so I walked, stopping only once at a newsstand to discover the date. It seemed to jump out at me in big bold letters: November 23, 1976.
My heart jolted. Remus was still at Hogwarts! Maybe I could see him before I asked for help. I was sure Dumbledore would set things right faster than the bunch of quill levitators at the Ministry.
I Flooed to the Hog's Head tavern. As I expected, the surly barman didn't ask questions, although he barked that there was a one-drink minimum. I tossed him a Galleon and told him to keep the change, leaving him scowling and in dire need of a sense of humour.
Hogsmeade looked the same in the seventies as it did when I went to school. I returned the wave of a little girl flying her doll around on a miniature broomstick, but otherwise avoided contact with villagers.
I was glad the weather was cold but clear. Some years it would be snowing like mad in November, and I only had the old robes I had thrown on before cleaning to protect me from the chill. The gates to Hogwarts looked the same, however, as did the school itself. I skirted the grounds in order to sneak in unnoticed through a side entrance behind a girl with auburn hair.
"You! Hold up, there!"
I slipped inside, morphing my hair and features to match those of the girl I had tried to shadow.
A hand grasped my shoulder and spun me around. I faced a boy with hazel eyes and a Head Boy badge on his cloak. Behind his round glasses, the boy's eyes widened in shock. "Dorcas!"
"James! What's going on?" called another voice.
I turned toward the voice I knew. "Remus," I said, marvelling. He only had a few strands of grey in his hair, and his face was so boyishly handsome that I wanted to pinch his cheek and drag him off to a linen cupboard at the same time.
I grinned like a besotted fool while the boys talked. James explained that he had seen a stranger enter the school, but he must have been confused.
"Are you calling my girlfriend strange?" Remus said.
I flushed, but it wasn't with embarrassment, the way the boys obviously thought, trading smiling looks. It was with jealousy. I was daft to feel that way, but I couldn't help it.
"Dorcas, what's wrong?"
I put my hand on Remus' arm. "Could we go somewhere private and…talk?" I whispered so any differences in voice wouldn't be noticed.
He looked surprised. "Sure."
Remus' eyebrows rose when I took his hand. Were he and Dorcas not a demonstrative couple? I was happy if so, but I wasn't about to release my hold. I kept my fingers twined with his.
"Uh, where do you want to go?" he asked.
"The Room of Requirement."
He looked so cute with big, round eyes. "You know about that?"
He swallowed hard and led the way.
"Hey, where are you two sneaking off?" asked a familiar voice behind us.
It was Sirius. I tried not to gape. My cousin was almost sinfully good-looking, with a palpable aura of self-confidence. No wonder he always expected to be the centre of attention. He was incredibly popular, if the all the students calling greetings to him while they ascended or descended the main staircase was any indication. He acknowledged a few with careless waves or half-smiles.
Tinges of red appeared on Remus' cheekbones. "The Room of…you know."
"Yes!" Sirius held up a fist, laughing triumphantly. "Prongs owes me five Galleons now, and Wormtail ten, the doubting little rat. Thanks, Moony!" he said over his shoulder, bounding down the stairs.
"Don't mind him," said Remus. "He's…."
"Got diarrhoea of the mouth?"
He gave a startled bark of laughter. "Yes, that's a colourful way to put it."
I smiled and gently squeezed his hand. He had no idea how colourful I could be.
On the seventh floor, he went through the steps and turned the handle that appeared in the stone. Inside the Room of Requirement, he looked around curiously. "I concentrated on the room being whatever you'd want, but…what is this place?"
"My flat." I pointed to the red sofa. "I've snogged you there so many times, I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of it. There's too many fond memories."
He smiled nervously. "Dorcas?"
I morphed my features back to normal. "I'm not Dorcas Meadowes. I'm Nymphadora Tonks. Just Tonks to the rest of the world, but you can call me Nymphadora."
The seventeen-year-old Remus' voice gave me lovely shivers too. I pointed to a book on the coffee table. "That's what you're currently re-reading. Ars Amatoria. You got it for your mum one year as a Christmas present."
A faint line creased his brow. "No, I'm going to get it for her this year."
I jerked my head toward a bookshelf. "Those are also yours."
Remus avoided walking too close to me as he bent to scan the shelves. "These are texts I've only dreamt about owning some day."
"This is someday." I took off my robes and brought the Time-Turner out of my pocket, using a spell to restore it to its normal size. While he cautiously approached, I rattled off my story. At the end, he extended a trembling hand to touch numbers printed beneath the Weird Sister's logo.
"You're from 1993?"
"No. It will be 1995 when I get back to the future."
"And you're my…."
His head jerked back. "You're a werewolf?"
"No. I'm a Metamorphmagus in love with a werewolf."
Amber eyes roved over my pink hair, concert tee and denims. "Why? I'll be…old…and you're h—not."
I grinned. "I think you're hot."
His cheekbones were turning red again. "In the future?"
"In the present, too."
He looked shyly pleased. "Why did you bring me here and tell me all this?"
I slowly edged closer. "Because even though I'm sure Dumbledore will erase your memory, I wanted to tell you that one day I'm going to love you for everything you are, with all that I am." I reached up to take his face in my hands. Leaning toward him, I whispered, "With all of my heart and soul," I brushed his lips with mine. "And body."
I kissed him with the tenderness I felt for a wonderful boy who would become an amazing man. When his mouth firmed and pressed mine, I kissed him passionately, using my lips and tongue in ways that would make Dorcas Meadowes gasp in lady-like horror to see.
It took the sound of a throat clearing for me to realise we weren't alone anymore. Headmaster Dumbledore stood in the doorway, eyes twinkling behind half-moon glasses.
"Go directly to my office, Mr. Lupin. I shall join you after I see our…untimely visitor…home."
Remus told me, "I don't care what Charm he uses. I'll remember you somehow."
He was so young and earnest that tears sprang to my eyes. "I'll remember you too." I took his hand and pressed it against my heart. "Even if it's only here, where it truly counts."
Did Dumbledore think I was trying to take up where Remus and I left off? I didn't plan to—with an audience. If he had not shown up, though, I might have been tempted to show Remus what else we would do on that sofa in the future.
Mentally saying 'to hell with my audience,' I kissed Remus soundly on the lips. "Au Revior."
His smile was wolfishly sweet. "I will see you again, won't I?" He brought my hand to his lips with a slight hesitation that showed he had never done it before. "Au Revoir."
My heart melted. I whispered, "I love you," as he walked out of the room.
Remus' hearing was acute. He turned in the doorway and smiled.
I cried when he left, tears streaming down my face while I called myself an emotional idiot for bawling.
"There, there, dry your eyes, Miss Tonks. How many lovers get to experience a kiss across time?" Dumbledore offered me a handkerchief. "Or even a dream across time for that matter?" he said musingly. "My dreams seem to centre on present troubles…and warm socks."
I laughed a little. "Warm socks?"
"Thick, woollen socks." He winked. "One can never have enough socks."
I watched him chant a spell while pointing to the four corners of the room. After he tapped the Time-Turner with his wand, he said, "Hold tight to that and don't let go until I've closed the door. It will automatically turn itself when you remove your hands." With a mischievous smile, he said, "I shall go put on my calendar 'Tea with Tonks' November 23, 1995." Before he reached the door, he turned to ask, "Do you take lemon with your tea?"
"Good! So do I. I'll make a note to have lemon gelato as well." He smiled. "Lemon sherbet will be the password to my office that day."
"Sir!" I cried, when the panel started to shut. "How did you know my name, that I was here…everything?"
His answer rang with impish glee. "I have my ways."
I let go of the Time-Turner. Instead of falling, it began spinning, making my world spin with it.
When I sat up, the room was bare and the Time-Turner nowhere in sight. "Nineteen-ninety-five, I presume," I said, levering myself upright. I swayed on my feet and then steadied.
'Lemon sherbet' was indeed the password, and tea was arranged on Dumbledore's desk when I entered his office.
"Ah, Nymphadora, right on time." He waved me to a chair. "I forgot to ask if you take sugar or honey in your tea."
I plopped down with a giggle. "Today I think I'd better have both."
"Yes, sugar is good for shock." He handed me a crystal dish. "Have your gelato first."
My giggle this time sounded watery. "You remembered."
His blue eyes were kind. "One always remembers the things that matter." He tapped his chest with his fingers. "Even if it's only here, where it truly counts."
I had to blink rapidly in order not to turn my gelato salty. "Thank you, sir."
"Don't you think it's time you remembered to call me Albus?"
I returned his grin. "Past time."
I returned to Grimmauld Place to find the street dark and the windows of occupied houses glowing with light. When the door opened, Sirius said from the entry, "Skivved off, did you? Go reassure Moony you weren't kidnapped by faeries or gobbled up by ghouls. He's an old woman. He worries."
"Not you, huh?"
He engulfed me in a hug, and then pushed me toward the stairs. "Course not."
I found Remus in his room, writing in his journal. He smiled in relief when he saw me.
I said, "Did you write 'today my partner gave me more grey hair by skivving off without word?'"
He rose. "No. I wrote I don't blame Nymphadora for not wanting to waste her day cleaning, and I look forward to hearing where she went when she comes home."
I ate him up with my eyes, loving everything I saw. I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him tight. "You might not believe where I went," I said, "But never doubt how glad I am to be home."
A/N: Although the lyrics quoted in the summary might mislead readers into thinking Cyndi Lauper's song was the inspiration, originally, this was part of chapter 21 of Moonlight and Shadow. (which will post the day after this one) When I realised that dream Nymphadora wrote down in a log didn't just 'read like a story' as Remus said, but was a story, I cut it out of the chapter and let it stand on its own. For anyone who thinks 'aw, now we won't have a dream in the chapter', I will be waiting for you to say 'aw' in a happier tone…time after time. :D
Dedicated to 40/16 because it's her birthday, and she called the story 'a wonderful present.' Thank you for being a wonderful reader!