"I do not understand this. Again, its bad boy syndrome isn't it? It's very depressing...Girls, stop going for the bad guy. Go for a nice man in the first place. It took me 35 years to learn that, but I am giving you that nugget free, right now, at the beginning of your love lives…" J.K. Rowling
Chapter One- Head over Heels
"Tonks!" Kingsley hissed in exasperation. The metallic lids began rolling around on the empty street, creating a loud noise that echoed into the dark shadows all around them. Nymphadora Tonks sat there in a crumpled heap surrounded by the overturned rubbish that had fallen on her when she tripped over the dustbins.
"I'm sorry!" she wailed. "I didn't even see them!"
Kingsley extended a helping hand and Tonks took it gratefully.
"You have a banana peel on your head." Kingsley said in his deep voice. Tonks shook her head like a wet dog, sending bits of trash that were stuck to her all over Kingsley.
Kingsley calmly cleaned himself up with his wand and then tapped Tonks with it, getting rid of the rest of the trash. "You don't want to go in there getting off on the wrong foot, do you?"
"No. Thanks for getting all that scum off me."
"I meant the hair." Kingsley said looking pointedly at her neon orange ringlets that exploded from her head.
"What's wrong with it?" Tonks asked stubbornly.
Kingsley sighed. "You know what Mad-Eye is going to say about that, and I'm sure some of the older members might find it a bit…juvenile."
"Juvenile." Tonks repeated. "Well I can't help it that they find my personal style and modern fashion juvenile. If they get their knickers in a twist about it, well then I'll think about changing it to something more appropriate."
"Like neon green?" Kingsley asked.
"Exactly." said Tonks. "And as for my wardrobe…" she spun around slowly on the spot displaying her heavily ripped and patched jeans, her colorful shirt that had a large picture of Kirley McCormick on it and her rather cheap, sparkly jewelry. "If they think that's juvenile as well, I think their all a bit shallow to judge a book by its cover."
"Tonks, you don't need a cover-your personality is screaming all by itself with that outfit."
"Oh you are funny." She said sarcastically.
He smiled, a rare thing for Kingsley, "Come'on then. Let's go."
She was joining the Order. A fine and noble cause…and this was going to be her first meeting. She had never heard of Dumbledore's Order until she had been approached by Kinglsey, a recent member himself, at work.
It had been at the office party. She was rather smashed from the all the champagne she had had and somehow managed to bump into him. Their conversation had jumped suddenly from Muggle sky diving to Death Eaters. Tonks assumed she was responsible for that. It had been bothering her for some time how ridiculous the Ministry had been acting right after Dumbledore himself had announced Voldemort's return. Somehow, very stupidly on her part- she began angrily ranting about it to Kingsley for sometime before she started talking about vegetarian burritos.
And here she was. Kingsley as he later informed her had been watching her closely for the weeks that followed the office party and after carefully dropping meaningful conversations about the Ministry and Voldemort, eventually discovered her true feelings about the Ministry still ran the same course as they did when she was sober. He had talked to the Order about her and spoken to Dumbledore and when she herself had expressed a sincere interest, they had agreed she could join.
Merlin's beard, if she botched things up she would never forgive herself. This is what she really wanted to be doing- actually fighting evil and doing something worthwhile in this new and dangerous time. Right in the line of action- that's where she wanted to be, right where the fighting was at its thickest and most-
She tripped on an uneven bit on the footpath and stumbled into an overhead streetlamp.
"Tonks! Are you alright?"
Tonks tried to laugh and thought it came off sounding stupid. "I think I'm just a bit nervous. I always get more clumsy than usual when I'm nervous."
"You'll do fine. It's just a meeting."
"Yeah. Meeting. Great. Sure." she said swallowing nervously.
"Nearly there." said Kingsley as they rounded the street corner.
Kingsley had them walking there that night, he said it would be good to do so instead of apparating so that Tonks really knew where it was if something went wrong and she had to get there some other way.
It was very late. In fact, they had barely passed anybody on the dark London streets on coming over. There was a long row of fine houses that had obviously once seen better days. Tonks looked up at them counting the numbers as they passed.
Eventually Kingsley slowed down and stopped on the sidepath looking anxiously around and inclined with a nod to the house they'd be going into.
Tonks though she knew it was magically protected, saw the house right away. Dumbledore was the secret keeper of the headquarters and had already told her the location when he met to talk to her…
The Order of the Phoenix…Number twelve Grimmauld Place…
Tonks stared at it in disbelief for a moment, she had expected something….
The old, shabby house with its grimy windows and unkempt appearance looked like an utter wreck. Perhaps it was prejudice from working with the Ministry for so long, but it looked like a dismal place to hold a headquarters. If they asked her for any ideas of what do, she was going to recommend starting up a new fund for a cleaner command center.
Tonks followed Kingsley up to the black painted front door where a silver door knocker in the shape of a snake hung. It looked downright creepy.
Kinglsey opened the front door with his wand. Tonks heard locks turning from within side the house and the door creaked open. Kingsley silently motioned for her to quickly head inside. She walked in and stared…
The inside unbelievably was worse on the inside than the outside. It was dark and spooky. Cobwebs and filth were everywhere, some moldy curtains on one side of the wall, peeling wallpaper-
"Come'on to the back." Kingsley whispered.
"Why-" Tonks started to ask before Kingsley cut her off with a 'shhhing' noise.
Tonks frowned but followed him down a hall, where a door with light shining from under it was waiting.
"Why do we have to whisper?" she asked quietly.
"Later." Kingsley said, as they reached the door and opened it.
It was a miserable, half-ruined back room. Several witches and wizards were gathered there talking quietly amongst themselves. As soon as she walked in everyone's eyes fell on her and the noise ceased.
"Hullo everyone." Kingsley said in his deep voice. "This is Tonks."
Tonks gave a cheery wave and nearly hit Kingsley in the face by accident.
"Oops! Sorry Kingsley."
"Oh, welcome, Tonks!" said a plump, kind-faced woman coming up to her. Tonks knew her immediately.
"Oh, Tonks dear- it's been too long!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed pulling Tonks into a crushing hug. Tonks thought Mrs. Weasley looked slightly more anxious and tired looking from when she had seen her last.
"How is everyone? Where's Charlie been these days?" She had been friends with Charlie- they had been in the same year when attending Hogwarts together.
"He's still in Romania. But Bill-" she seemed to snatch her oldest son right out of thin air. "He's here." She said with a meaningful look.
"Hullo Tonks." Bill said with a nod.
"Wotcher Bill." Tonks grinned. "Haven't seen you around lately, not since I dropped by that day at Gringotts."
Bill's eyes widened as she realized what she was on about, ever so casually he shook his head.
Mrs. Weasley looked at her son fondly, missing the shake. "Oh yes, Bill's been working there- he enjoys it a lot."
"I imagine he does." Tonks smirked.
"Right!" said Bill briskly. "How about you meet everyone else?" He pulled Tonks away from his beaming mother and up to the other witches and wizards.
"This is Sturgis Podmore." A square jawed wizard with thick, straw coloured hair inclined his head. "This is Emmeline Vance and Mad-…er, I mean- Moody, you know him already I believe."
Mad-Eye Moody's small, dark beady looked her up and down- pausing on the bright orange hair. He let out a scathing snort of disgust and turned away.
"We've met on occasion-good to see you again too Mad-Eye." Tonks said cheerfully.
He let out a derisive, harsh laugh and clunked away as everyone began chatting again.
"So-" Bill said quietly- "Do you mind not telling my Mum that you've seen me already?"
"Couldn't resist." She grinned. "How is the leggy French bombshell? What's her name again? Fanny?"
"Fleur." Bill said looking uncomfortable; looking about as if Mrs. Weasley would pop up suddenly and overhear them.
Tonks rolled her eyes. "Bill, do us both a favor and tell your Mum that you're having regular make-out sessions with this Mademoiselle Blondie so that she won't be scheming to get us together. Don't look- but I can see her across the room and she's watching us now."
Bill turned anyways to catch a glimpse of his mother watching them intently before she pretended to be fixing an offset candlestick.
"See?" Tonks laughed. "Hurry up and tell her."
"It's not very serious between us though."
She shrugged. "It looked pretty serious to me."
"Oh, Tonks!' Mrs. Weasley exclaimed, coming over to drag Tonks over to two new Order members that had just walked into the room, "This is Hestia Jones and Elphias Doge."
The two of them nodded, beaming.
"Welcome." Elphias said in a wheezy voice. "It's always wonderful to see a new face."
"Another auror, Kingsley mentioned you to us!" Hestia said brightly. "My, my, you are young! How old are you?"
Tonks's smile was rather pained now. She had been afraid of this happening. She was obviously one of the youngest people there-and without a doubt the most "juvenile" looking as Kingsley put it. She opened her mouth to reply when suddenly right behind her came a man's voice. "Welcome to the Order…Nymphadora."
Tonks turned around and saw the one person she had most wanted to meet that entire night. A tall, gaunt man with long black hair was standing stiffly in the doorway. His grey eyes had an empty, fathomless look in them as he stared at her.
Tonks had had no idea what to expect when she saw him. Dumbledore and Kingsley had both talked to her before hand so that she wouldn't be shocked by her cousin's presence and they had both reassured her that he was entirely trustworthy. Dumbledore had gone through all the trouble of personally coming to her messy, dirty laundry covered apartment flat a few days ago to sit her down and tell the whole story of her cousin's innocence and how he had been apart of a terrible miscarriage of justice. The story was so bizarre and so strange it took Tonks awhile to swallow- but she was forcing herself to hold off making any assumptions until she could make her own judgment about Sirius.
Her mother didn't speak of her favorite cousin if she could help it. Tonks had been about seven years old when Sirius was sentenced to Azkaban so she hardly remembered her cousin that her mother still had torn feelings about. Her mother at first wrote letters to the ministry, pleading for a fair trial but her requests went unanswered and although her mother for awhile said there was more to the story than they all knew- eventually fell into silence and avoided speaking of him at whatever cost.
She had expected herself to be angry, frightened, and even coldly indifferent but what she hadn't expected was what she was feeling right then.
Everyone in the now silent room was waiting for her response on baited breath.
Tonks smiled and went up to Sirius Black, a convicted murderer and ex-inmate of Azkaban and hugged him.
Sirius looked startled and awkwardly hugged her back, looking as though he had forgotten how.
"It's Tonks cuz-" she said. "Only people who want to be the receiver of a 'Toe-fungus' hex call me Nymphadora."
There was a sigh of relief from the surrounding members. Mrs. Weasley was dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief.
"Tonks…" Sirius croaked. "I never thought I'd say this, but I've never been happier to see someone from the family again."
Tonks beamed and felt proud and glad that she had already made a good impression on her older cousin.
Sirius stared at her for a moment. "You're…quite grown up."
At least somebody thought she wasn't a child.
Mrs. Weasley suddenly started up a conversation with Elphias and Hestia that was loud enough to give her and Sirius a private conversation of their own.
"And you're quite…" Tonks paused and tried to think of what to say besides, 'scary looking', "Er-"
There was a ghost of a smile on her cousin's gaunt face. "Frightening?"
"I was going to say you still have a good sense of humor." Tonks invented.
He looked unconvinced. "Then in my case I believe it's called: 'Gallows humor'."
"Black humor." Tonks said.
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "That would be highly ironic."
Tonks realized it was going to be very difficult to carry on a conversation with her cousin since she couldn't very well ask him, 'So, what have you been doing for thirteen years? How have things been?'
Fortunately, Sirius carried it on, "So how is your mother?"
Tonks bit her lip. "Well to be honest, I try to avoid going home as much as possible. You know- chastising me about my choice in clothes, food, boys, etc… But the last time I saw her she seemed to be doing well."
Sirius looked as if he wanted to ask something else- but he paused for a moment before saying as lightly as possible, "That's good. And your father?"
"He's good." Tonks sighed. "Still putting up with Mum at least which is something."
Tonks had managed to think of something to ask that did not tread upon the large and looming topic of Azkaban. "So this place…some headquarters huh? Personally," she said in a lowered voice. "I think its bloody awful. A real piece of shit."
Sirius let out a loud, barklike laugh that startled her and some of the other members. Obviously that didn't happen too often.
"What?" Tonks asked, completely bewildered.
"Tonks, do you know what place this is?" Sirius asked.
She looked around, and raised an eyebrow wondering if this was some sort of trick question. "Yes…#12 Grimmauld Place, London…the Headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix."
Sirius chuckled. "And what else?"
Tonks shrugged. "Someone's creepy old home?"
"Correct." Sirius said, he went over to the nearby bookshelf and patted it- sending up small clouds of dust. "It's my creepy old home."
Tonks stared at him, aghast. "What?"
"This place." Sirius said grimly. "Is the Black family home. I lived here when I was younger."
"Oh! Sirius…I'm sorry. It really is a lovely place-just needs a bit of dusting I'm sure and-"
"Tonks-" Sirius grinned. "It is a piece of shit. And I believe we could add- 'nuthouse' to that description as well."
Tonks grinned back nervously still afraid she had insulted Sirius and his family home.
"Your mother actually ran away from here when she ran off to go marry your father."
"But I thought she lived in-"
"Her family spent that summer here, where she met Ted- your father- and ran away with him several months later." He leaned against the shelf, smiling reminiscently. "Ah, that was a wonderful day. I nearly died of laughter from that. Best thing she ever did."
It was the weirdest thing to be standing there talking to a family relative whose face she had only seen on 'most wanted' posters. He seemed so…normal.
He turned to face her again. "One of the last letters your mother ever sent me was telling me how you were a Metamorphmagus."
"Yeah. That's true."
He raised an eyebrow. "Let's see it then."
She scrunched up her face and closed her eyes, thinking hard. When she opened her eyes she grinned at Sirius's surprised expression.
"My female look alike." He said with a smile, tugging one of the long black ends from her head. "Very good."
She had mirrored her cousin's own ghastly, once aristocratic Black appearance. Gotten it down to the last eyelash.
"Is the meeting going to start soon?" Tonks asked her cousin.
He nodded "As soon as Dumbledore and a few others get here."
"Oh, okay then….er, where's the loo?"
Sirius smiled. "Upstairs down the landing and at the end of the hall on the left. You don't have to be THAT nervous."
"Who said anything about being nervous?" Tonks said. "Maybe I just drank too much coffee before I came here."
"Alright then, be careful."
Tonks frowned and wondered if that was joke. It was either his 'Black humour' or it was 'Azkaban has addled his brains humour'. She wasn't sure which one was worse.
She left her cousin and the rest of the Order members behind as she went back into the entrance hall and slowly climbed the stairs. As she saw the line of elf-heads on the wall, she began to wonder if her cousin's warning actually had a valid point behind it.
What a crazy place.
She found the toilet and while washing her hands stared at her reflection, or rather- her cousin's.
It didn't look totally like him she realized. There was one thing no matter how hard she morphed she never was going to get.
His eyes. Her's were sparkling, a little nervous looking but most defiantly, the eyes of Nymphadora Tonks despite the grey colour.
But Sirius…his eyes had an almost dead, emotionless look in them. Even when he smiled, it didn't seem to reach his eyes.
And the eyes were window to a person's soul. She had heard that somewhere.
What did that mean for Sirius? He couldn't truly be like that on the inside as well? Could he?
Of course, his friend had been murdered and he had unfairly been sent to Azakaban for thirteen years. That might have had something to do with it.
She shut her eyes and changed her appearance again, back to herself with the exception of the neon orange ringlets. She was going to have to work on her cousin. At the moment, he was still a bit of an enigma to her.
With a sigh she left the toilet and headed briskly back down the hall towards the stairs. I suppose things could be much worse. She reasoned. At least I haven't made a fool of myself or-
She suddenly tripped on a wrinkled section of the rug and went flying- not just a small trip either- but a full out somersault that sent her rolling head over heels until she lay still on her back staring dizzily up at the ceiling. Her one saving grace was that the hallway was empty-
"Are you alright?" came a nearby voice.
Shit. Tonks thought and sat up; trying to focus on her spinning surroundings- there was a man standing over her, looking very concerned. He looked about the same age as her cousin-but his light brown hair was streaked with grey. He was very pale and thin- rather sickly looking when it came down to it, but his warm brown eyes were full of concern as he knelt down next to her.
"That was quite a nasty spill." he said. His voice was rather hoarse as if he didn't use it often enough. "Are you hurt?"
"Wha'? No- no, I'm fine." Tonks said shaking her head to clear her dizziness. "Stupid stuff like that happens all the time to me."
The man extended a pale hand and Tonks took it gratefully- and stood up. She stared at the man- he was rather handsome. Obviously too old for her, and defiantly not her type- but there was something about him that made him very attractive all the same despite his tired appearance. He was wearing some very patched and shabby robes over a ratty tweed sweater giving, giving her the impression of some old library loving, book hugging scholar. He looked like a bloke who would rather stay inside and read a heavy novel with a cup of warm tea rather than go out to a Quidditch game and the pub afterwards with some mates.
Ew. Tweed. Who on earth wore such a thing? It was like something her muggle grandfather used to wear before he died. Ah well- his lack of fashion was by no means any concern of hers.
"You're new to the Order aren't you?" He asked with a warm smile. "Welcome."
"Thanks. My name's Tonks."
"Tonks?" the man asked raising an eyebrow.
She rolled her eyes. "Alright- it's really Nymphadora. Nymphadora Tonks- but please don't make me say it again and don't EVER call me it."
"It's a lovely name."
Tonks let out a loud snort of sarcastic laughter and immediately felt horror wash over her. She had snorted- the horrible snorting laugh that she sometimes let loose without warning.
The man smiled kindly at her.
"Er, so what's your name?" Tonks asked in an attempt to steer them away from her obnoxious laugh.
"What are you doing for the Order? That is, if asking won't get me killed or anything."
His smile widened. "We're not Ministry Unspeakables."
"I know that. It's just that with the way everyone is hardly talking about their work I keep thinking that were dealing with more secretive work than the Department of Mysteries, and it doesn't help that everyone goes around whispering."
"Well that's only because of the obvious complications of this place, but as far as headquarters go- it could be worse-"
Tonks wondered what he was talking about; she looked around the dirty, dusty and gloomy hallway with raised eyebrows looking for the 'obvious complications'. "Huh." she said.
"Kinglsey told us that you're an auror as well. Quite a noble profession." Remus said quietly.
Tonks felt proud at that. "Ah, well…" she said modestly. "Only qualified a year ago."
"-and received top marks on concealment and disguise." Remus added.
She looked at him in surprise.
"Kinglsey told us you're a Metamorphous."
"Did he?" Tonks asked in exasperation. Thanks Kingsley, go tell everyone why don't you? "Oh, well yeah- it's true."
"I think you'll find it helps a great deal when working with the Order." Remus said. "You don't have to worry about potions or any transfiguration disguises at all."
Tonks stood there waiting for the inevitable request that always followed after people finding out she was a Metamorphous… 'turn yourself into something'… 'what can you do?'… 'can you make your nose grow?', and other things like Sirius himself had asked her to do moments before. In the past people had suggested lots of strange and occasionally insulting things for her to do with her appearance that usually made her feel like a walking freak. She didn't mind so much as she used to- because she learned that taking it with a grin was better then not doing so. But Merlin's beard she still encountered some occasionally appalling people (most of them men) with their suggestions of what to do with herself and no matter where she went, or who was asking, the requests always came.
She waited for a request…
It never came.
"Have you met anyone else from the Order yet?" Remus asked as he started to head down the hall.
She was stunned. He hadn't asked. And he knew what a metamorphous was obviously…she followed him and forced herself to answer his question.
"Well I know Kingsley and Moody already…and Dumbledore of course, and I met Sirius, Hestia, Emmeline, Elphias, and Sturgis already. Oh and the Weasleys of course."
"Sounds like mostly everyone has arrived then." Remus said quietly. "Probably a few running late but we should be starting any minute now."
They started to head down the stairs and Tonks felt a flutter of nerves again as she thought of the meeting that was to be starting any minute.
"Are you alright?" he asked softly.
She nodded. "A little nervous." She admitted, lowering her voice as well though she still had no idea why everyone did so in the main hall.
He smiled warmly at her and something about it suddenly made her legs turn slightly wobbly as if she had just been hit with a jelly-legs jinx. She would have thought she had been hit with a jinx had it not been for the strange lurch in her stomach that accompanied the strange sensation. She managed to smile back before colliding straight on into something hard at the bottom of the stairs and falling flat on her face with a huge thud.
She had tripped right over a large troll leg that looked as if was used as an umbrella stand. The loud crash as the stand and her fell to the floor was loud enough to echo through the silent, dark house. Before she could open her mouth and apologize however an immediate, earsplitting shriek came from nearby, causing her to jump.
The moth eaten curtains on the side of the wall flew open to reveal the portrait of a hideous old woman with messy grey hair and rolling eyes who was screaming at the top of her lungs.
"TRAITORS! LOVERS OF MUDBLOODS!" she shrieked.
The rest of the sleeping portraits along the walls woke too and started to shout. Tonks winced from the amount of noise they were all making and started to sit up as Remus tried to pull the dirty, heavy curtains back over the portrait of the crazy old woman.
Her yellow eyes fell on Tonks. "YOUUUUU!" she screeched and suddenly began clawing at the frame as if she wanted nothing more than to strangle Tonks where she lay. "TRAITOR! DIRTY, HALF-BLOOD, CHILD OF FILTH! FREAK!"
Remus abandoned the curtains and helped Tonks to her feet again as Sirius and a few other members of the Order including Molly Weasley came running in. Mrs. Weasley began stunning the other portraits with the help of Hestia Jones.
Sirius and Remus pulled the curtains together over the mad portrait in what looked like a way they had done all too often. Eventually the noise in the hall fell to silence and Sirius turned back to Tonks who was standing there awkwardly by the fallen umbrella stand.
"That would be your great-aunt." Sirius said to her while going over and picking up the stand to place it beside the stairway again.
"So that would be…your mother?" she asked in astonishment.
He nodded and smiled bitterly. "Let me tell you, the likeness of that bitch never ceases to astonish me."
Before she could say anything else, Mrs. Weasley came forward with a deep frown on her face and began leading her away. "Come this way dear, the meeting is just about to start." She gave Sirius a rather disapproving look over her shoulder as they went down the hall.
Hestia, Sirius and Remus followed in behind them.
The room was much more crowded now with many more new faces. At the front of the room now stood a familiar wizard with a long white beard that beamed at her when she entered the room.
Within seconds of their arrival he held up his hands for silence and the room did so, staring from him to her.
"My friends," said Dumbledore. "This is Nymphadora Tonks, the newest member of the Order. She is an auror as many of you know and is quite eager to help us."
"Wotcher!" she greeted everyone with a cheery smile.
Some of them smiled back but most just turned their attention back to Dumbledore.
"If we could begin tonight's meeting-"
The many seats in the room were gathered close together and people began to sit in them at random. Tonks flopped down into one of the seats and smiled as she watched Mrs. Weasley drag Bill over to sit next to her.
Bill gave her an apologetic smile and she rolled her eyes before shaking hands with an excited looking Dedalus Diggle who had just taken the seat on her left.
Sirius sat across from her, Remus Lupin taking the seat next to him. Tonks wondered if they were friends because they seemed to be talking with obvious familiarity between themselves.
Dumbledore cleared his throat and the room immediately fell into respectful silence.
"Tonight we have a few tasks we need to review-"
Barely had Dumbledore spoken those words when the door swung open again and everyone turned to see who it was.
She gasped outloud as she recognized the man that had just swooped into the room- his dark eyes swept about the place and fell on her.
She gulped and tried to sink lower in her chair knowing that the orange ringlets exploding from ontop of her head were not helping in the slightest.
"Severus-" Dumbeldore said cheerfully. "This is Nymphadora Tonks. I'm sure you remember teaching her when she attended school."
Snape's eyes narrowed. Tonks stared into his cold, black eyes feeling apprehensive. She had no doubt that he remembered her. He was one of the teachers that had made her life hell for as long as she had to take potions. Although to be fair, she hadn't made his life any easier in return. He sneered at her before finally moving away to the dark corner to take a seat in one of the stiff-backed chairs.
She noticed Sirius and Remus exchange dark looks.
Dumbledore continued on as if nothing had happened, "Tonight we have a few important things to consider…"
Tonks listened with rapt interest to Dumbledore talk about the Ministry and the work that everyone else was already doing in the Order. The amount of work that was taking place right under the Ministry's nose to fight Voldemort was amazing. A few witches and wizards got up several times to explain how their individual missions were working out. Tonks didn't realized how much time had passed until Dumbledore spoke up again after Mr. Weasley had finished talking.
"Before we conclude tonight's meeting, I would like to put forward an important task that needs careful consideration. I am speaking of a daring and risky plan-"
This sounded promising. She leaned forward in her chair eagerly.
"…that will be able to stage a safe operation in order to get back Harry Potter from his Aunt and Uncle's house."
There was a murmur of interest from most of the members. From what it sounded like to her, only a few had met Harry personally and most hadn't seen him in years. Tonks was one of the ones that had never met him herself.
"We need a group of people who would be willing to volunteer to pick up Harry. An advance guard perhaps to provide protection as we get him, sometime around late July to August. If anyone interested could just raise their hand-"
Hands shot up from the all over the room, Tonks's was one of the fastest.
The corners of Dumbledore's mouth twitched. "Very good. That's more than enough."
"I'm thinking ten or so would be a good number." Moody said suddenly, his magical eye swiveling around.
Dumbledore inclined his head. "It seems to be a good idea."
Moody clapped his hand together enthusiastically. "We could have a direct guard and then perhaps a system where we could immediately get reinforcement if we were to be attacked. What we should work on now is how to get there without breaking any laws and without being noticed by both the Death Eaters and the Ministry-"
"What if," Dedalus piped up. "We were to apparate to the village and-"
"His muggles are relatives Dedalus." Mr. Weasley reminded him, looking very tired.
Within seconds the room was full of suggestions.
"-break into the floo department-"
"-a portkey might not be such a bad idea-"
"-of course he'll have his school trunk though-"
"-a few memory charms-"
"-no, alright, what if we-"
"-disguise the garden gnomes!"
"-never mind, forget that, how about-"
"Flying!" came a sudden voice over the rest of them.
The voice was just loud enough for everyone to fall silent and turn to the speaker.
Remus Lupin was quite composed but his eyes were alight with an eager and excited spark.
"Flying." He said again, though much more quietly. "Flying wouldn't break any legal laws. Harry has a broomstick, and I've seen him play quidditch before, he's as good as-" he stopped short looking as if he were on the verge of saying a certain name.
"James." Sirius finished for him softly.
Remus turned to his dark haired friend. "Yes."
There was a short silence as everyone watched them till Moody broke it with a loud noise of disgust.
"It doesn't matter how well the boy can fly!" he growled. "With broomsticks we run a much higher chance of being seen by muggles! And we make for an easier target if we were attacked."
"And breaking into the Ministry and illegally taking over one of the main floo grates seems safer?" Sirius asked sarcastically.
Dedalus pinkened. "Well it was just an idea."
"Personally," said a cold and terribly familiar voice from the corner. "I would not be concerned so much with Potter's flying ability but rather is known inability to follow basic authority."
Tonks felt the tension in the room rise dramatically as Snape's and Sirius's eyes locked in a cold, steely challenge.
"Harry's not a prat." Sirius growled. "He'll know that the Order is there to protect him and get him out of there."
"Potter has always been known to pull certain…theatrics in dangerous times." Snape sneered.
"He's done no such thing!" Sirius said loudly.
Snape opened his mouth to reply but Dumbledore cut them off.
"I'm sure Harry will understand the current situation Severus." He said calmly but there was a note of resolution in his voice that settled the argument. "Yes, Harry is known for not shying away from danger but in cases such as these I am sure he will understand the circumstances."
Snape and Sirius were eyeing each other with utmost loathing from across the room but seemed resolved to drop the argument for the time being.
Dumbledore clapped his hands together. "So now all that remains to us, perhaps we ought to have figured this out first…is how we are going to deal with Harry's muggle relatives. It would be best if they were out of the way at the time so that the operation can move without delay."
"Kidnap them." Moody immediately suggested.
Tonks rolled her eyes.
"And preferably a non hostile method, Alastor." Dumbledore said.
Tonks giggled quietly at the thought of Moody attacking Harry's relatives and clunking around trying to tie them up like hostages.
Moody whipped around at the sound of her laugh. "And what," he spat. "Is so amusing?"
"Nothing." Tonks said nervously as all eyes fell upon her.
"Why don't you try coming up with an idea then?" he challenged her.
Tonks glared at him not threatened by the challenge, but instead just plain infuriated.
"A letter." She said suddenly, the first thing that came to mind. "We can ask them to leave the house in a letter."
"'Ask them to leave the house in a letter?'" Moody repeated, sounding thoroughly disgusted.
"Yes." Tonks said quickly before he could come up with some snarky comment about it. "We invite them to go somewhere. Like a competition that they've won and they have to go collect a prize."
She had no idea where it had come from but it sounded not half bad. As the seconds lengthened, she felt more and more confident about it.
"It'd have to be one hell of a prize." Bill smiled.
"I'll write it!" she said cheerfully. She was feeling very confident about it now, a flow of numerous possibilities jumping in her brain of how to lure Harry's relatives away from the house. "I mean, if that's okay of course." She said hastily, looking up at Dumbledore.
He inclined his head politely. "I feel that it's a very good idea. I suggest you get to work on it quickly Miss Tonks."
"Absobloodylutely!" she said happily.
Some of the older members looked startled and Professor McGonagall actually closed her eyes and pursed her lips. Only Dumbledore seemed to be sincerely amused by her outburst.
"Right. Now that that's all settled. Miss. Tonks will work on the letter and the guard will come up with a safety system to fall back on before the tenth of August." Dumbledore said briskly.
Remus Lupin suddenly put up his hand. "If we go on the tenth, I won't be able to be a part of the guard."
"Ah." Dumbledore said slowly, looking seriously at Remus from over his half-moon spectacles. "That's right. I almost forgot."
Tonks stared curiously at Remus as he waited for Dumbledore's answer.
"We could move it up a day or two." Emmeline said. "Unless something happens and we have to get him out faster."
"I don't want the plan to change accommodations just for my sake." Remus said mildly.
"Harry needs a familiar face in the guard that he knows he could trust, Remus." Dumbledore said firmly. "Since it would be too risky for Sirius-"
Tonks wondered if anybody else had noticed her cousin stiffen at the headmaster's words as if he had been dealt a physical blow. Tonks turned to look at Snape who was still watching Sirius, and at Dumbledore's words, his lip curled into an unpleasant smile.
"-you would be the most logical choice." Dumbledore finished. "We'll move the date up to fifth of August then."
"Perfect." said Remus. "Is that alright with everybody?"
There was a general consensus of nodding and murmured agreement from the others.
"Then in that case I think this finally concludes the meeting, Alastor, I'm leaving you in charge of the details for Harry's operation."
"Fine with me, Albus."
Dumbledore smiled. "Then the meeting is over, the next one will be next Thursday for those that can make it, and I hope that most of you will be able to stay tonight for the fine dinner that Molly has cooked for us."
Everyone stood up, talking amongst themselves as they started to head out of the room. Tonks noticed Sirius stand up with a dark frown on his face and crossed the room quickly to get to Dumbledore. He started talking to him in a lowered voice and Tonks felt that she ought to stop staring and go join the rest of the Order that was well on its way to the kitchen.
But before she taken just a few mere steps from the room, she was cornered by her scowling former potions master.
"So-" he said coldly. "Moved onto bigger and better things then?"
Tonks set her jaw. "I'm honoured to be working for the Order."
Snape's thin mouth twisted into a small smile before he continued on in an almost amused voice, "So what will you be doing for the Order? Obviously not tracking, I recall you as a student stomping down the hallways. You'd be caught within seconds…and you have a hot-headed temper like your cousin, so no undercover work for you, hmm. Not much for you to do, is there? Unless there is some impressive talent- ah, dueling perhaps? Oh, but no- I recall that you weren't anything extraordinary when it came to that."
Tonks stared at him too stunned by the venom of his attack to come up with a good response.
"Oh that's right- you have that 'special' ability." Snape said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "A metamorphous…"
Suddenly a familiar voice came from Tonks's side. "Nymphadora's abilities will be very helpful to the Order." Remus said firmly. "Her condition is a useful one indeed."
"As useful as yours, Lupin?" Snape sneered. "My, you two have a lot in common."
With a final look of contempt at them both he strode out of the room leaving her hurt, confused and angry. She looked at Remus who suddenly looked very tired, and very, very old.
"Thanks." She said.
He shook his head. "Snape still holds very little amicable feelings towards me or Sirius, and I'm sure that being his cousin you too will suffer the old grudge."
"He hated me when I was at school though too." Tonks admitted. "In my first year I left a bottle of shampoo on his desk and he somehow knew it was me. He didn't forget about it either or let me forget it for the next six years."
Remus looked startled and then burst out laughing. She grinned but then remembered her cousin's reaction during and after the meeting.
"Is Sirius alright?"
Remus's smile waned a bit as he looked at her closely. "Yes. Why do you ask?"
She shrugged. "He seemed a little angry after the meeting when he was talking to Dumbledore."
"Yes…Sirius wanted to be able to go and pick up Harry with the rest of the guard."
"Oh…" Tonks said slowly. Suspicious thoughts began to creep into the back of her mind. Perhaps Sirius was unhinged or worse, perhaps he was even-
"Sirius is Harry's godfather." Remus said.
Her eyes widened in shock. "I never knew that."
Remus nodded. "He is."
But before she could say anything again, she was cut off by an all too familiar voice-
It would have been impossible to forget that stern, brisk voice. Repressing a groan, she turned to see her old stern-faced Transfiguration teacher standing there.
"Hullo Professor." she said, cringing at the use of her first name. "I don't suppose you could just call me 'Tonks' now that I'm out of school, could you?"
Did that woman EVER smile? McGonagall gave her a rather cold eye before continuing on.
"It is a pleasure to have you working with us." She said crisply. "A few people want to meet you in the kitchen before they leave and so I think it is best if you came along."
She felt like she was being dragged around like a showdoll. She smiled though and said cheerfully, "Of course, yeah."
She looked back apologetically at Remus who smiled gently and followed her and McGongall down to the kitchen.
It was a cold, dismal place. With the rough-hewn stone walls and the simple wooden table, it wasn't exactly party material. And yet it obviously was supposed to be a party, most likely for her arrival into the Order.
Several members of the Order came up to talk to her during the dinner. She was treated a bit like a novelty for being so young in the Order and for being a Metamorphous. She received several requests to change her appearance and many were sincerely interested in her work at the Ministry with her being an auror that spent most of her time on the front lines.
At the end of the dinner, Dumbledore talked to her briefly before heading out himself, "It is wonderful to have you working with us Nymphadora."
"Thanks." Tonks said, "And, er- headmaster, not to sound rude or anything but my name-"
"Ah yes," he said, his blue eyes twinkling. "Forgive me, my memory seems to be failing terribly in recent years when it comes to concerning my former students. Tonks, yes."
Tonks grinned. "I have to work on getting everybody else to remember it now."
He smiled. "I have absolute faith in you. Good night Tonks."
"Good night Headmaster, oh and-"
He turned back to look at her.
"Thanks." She said. "For everything. For letting me join, I mean. It's a real honour."
He inclined his head politely. "The honour is mine, Miss Tonks."
And with a warm smile and a swish of his cloak he had left the room.
She looked around. Quite a few members had left. She wandered about aimlessly listening in on several conversations before she spied Sirius and Remus Lupin standing a little ways away from everyone else talking between themselves. She edged over cautiously to hear what they were saying. Remus Lupin was talking quietly in his hoarse voice,
"-I don't care what you say Padfoot, you can't poison Snape. Everyone will know it was-"
SMASH. Tonks out of shock dropped her glass which hit the stone floor and shattered into a million pieces.
Both men turned abruptly to face Tonks.
"Reparo." Sirius said lazily and the broken pieces flew together again. The kitchen which had instantly become silent began to slowly fill with cheerful babble again, seeing as everything was alright.
"What did you call him?" Tonks asked Remus curiously.
The two men glanced at each other and exchanged a knowing look.
"Why did you call Sirius, 'Padfoot'? I didn't mean to overhear, but I did."
"It's a nickname." said Remus slowly.
Tonks stared at Sirius. "Your nickname is Padfoot?" she asked, feeling quite shocked by what she was hearing.
"No way." Tonks said weakly. "No bloody way."
"You and your friends wrote comments all over the pages of my old charms book."
"Are you serious?" Sirius asked.
"No, you are." she grinned.
"Huh. Cheeky. Already joining the punning party I see…" Sirius grumbled. "Well it sounds like you got a hold of Remus's old textbook!"
Tonks looked over at Remus. "You were Mr. Moony?" she asked incredulously.
Remus gave a wry smile. "Is it that hard to believe?"
Tonks blushed. "Well…no, I suppose not-I mean- you just don't seem the type, judging from- well, maybe you are…er-"
Remus smiled kindly
Sirius didn't notice this. "Yes, Moony was Remus's nickname, James was Prongs and Peter-" his face darkened. "-was Wormtail."
"This is really freaky." Tonks said to Remus. "I had your old textbook."
"Yes, it certainly is." Remus agreed. "What year did you graduate then?"
"'91." Tonks replied. She quickly did the math in her head. Oh…she thought as she worked out the age gap between herself and Remus. If Remus was in the same year as Sirius…thirteen, maybe even fourteen years. Remus interestingly enough seemed to be thinking the same exact thing, judging from the slight frown on his prematurely lined face.
"What did we write in the book?" Sirius asked eagerly, completely ignoring the direction the conversation had been taking.
"Oh you know…silly stuff. I laughed outright sometimes in Flitwick's class while reading it and got usually got in trouble for not paying attention." Tonks thought back to picking up the spare book from the extra supplies closet that day, years ago. She had lost her own textbook to the giant squid in the lake when her sworn enemy at school, Victoria Penrose had gotten a hold of it and flushed it down a toilet. Tonks saw the book in her mind, the stained and cracked spine, the damaged cover, the first page…
"On the first page it read: 'Moony, I'm bored. Mr. Padfoot is wondering why even came to class today.'" Tonks said.
"And what did he write back?" Sirius grinned.
"'Stop writing in my books jackass, I can't afford a new one.'" Tonks recited.
Sirius let out a loud, barklike laugh, Remus looked embarrassed.
"I still don't understand why my book became your personal graffiti canvas. I remember telling you three countless times to stop." Said Remus
"Yeah well James and I never brought our books to class." Sirius said proudly as if his schoolboy disobedience was a badge of honour.
"And Peter always forgot his." Remus sighed.
"Really, it was the only logical choice. We didn't write in there all the time, just whenever we were supposed to be taking notes."
Remus let out an exasperated sigh. "I'm amazed you passed the class."
"You'd have to be an idiot not to pass it." Sirius yawned. "That class was dreadfully easy."
"Was any class not easy for you, Sirius?" Remus asked with a faint smile.
"Yes. History of magic. It was a terrible struggle to keep my eyes open. As a matter of fact- I failed most times."
Tonks laughed. "So are we poisoning Snape?" she joked.
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Would you be interested?"
"Most defiantly." She grinned.
"Stop it." Remus said in exasperation more to Sirius then her. "We're not going to poison him."
Sirius made a derisive bark of laughter. "Oh come'on Remus. Lighten up. It's a just a laugh."
"I can't say I entirely believe you."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Your problem then, not mine."
"Saying that we're going to poison fellow members of the Order is hardly an example of all the things we stand and fight for."
Sirius muttered something under his breath that sounded very much like, 'He'd deserve it' as Remus shot her an apologetic look.
"Oh, Tonks dear!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed, bustling over dragging her oldest son over again. It took Tonks all of her willpower not to start laughing at the sight of Bill's face. "Bill was just on his way out and but is coming over to say goodbye."
She all but threw Bill at her before backing off to stand by Remus and Sirius.
"Er, bye?" Tonks grinned.
Bill looked slightly exasperated. "Bye Tonks." And lowering his voice so that his mother or anyone else wouldn't hear he added, "Sorry about this."
"I dunno why you just don't tell her you're already seeing Fanny." She hissed.
"Alright," Bill said loudly. "I'll see you soon." He turned back to Mrs. Weasley who was beaming at them both. "Bye Mum."
"Goodnight Bill dear." She said going over to him and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Take care."
Bill left and Mrs. Weasley turned back to her with a huge smile. Tonks bit her lip to keep from laughing.
"Well, wasn't that nice that you two got to see each other again?"
"Oh yes." Tonks said. "It sounds like Bill is doing great back here in England."
"I always thought Egypt wasn't very practical. He was too far from home really." Mrs. Weasley said, leading her away from Sirius and Remus and back over to some more of the other Order members again. "But now he's back and although he's in the Order he has a nice, practical job working at Gringotts where he'll at least be able to-"
Tonks inevitably lost focus of the conversation as Mrs. Weasley talked on about Bill. To her relief, Mr. Weasley came over with a few other Order members who hadn't gotten to talk to her yet and wanted to see for real if she truly was a Metamorphous.
Eventually as the evening dragged on, Tonks found herself standing alone by the dresser feeling very out of place and very awkward. She was the youngest one there, one of the few women and she felt she was way out of her league standing next to such experienced and prestigious witches and wizards.
Why the hell did I even join? She wondered miserably.
Suddenly there was a gentle voice beside her. "How did you enjoy your first meeting?"
She turned to see Remus Lupin standing there holding a glass of wine. He still looked rather pale and tired but he was smiling kindly at her.
She tried to smile. "Well, I'm starting to regret that I got drunk in front of Kingsley at the office party and started blabbing about what I really thought of the Ministry."
He laughed at that. He really did have a very nice laugh. Like Sirius, it sounded as if he didn't do it often enough. "I felt the first way myself when I joined the first time around. I was more or less your age at the time. Of course, most of the Order members from the first time around were very young at that time too."
"Kinglsey told me that. He heard that from Mad-Eye."
Remus nodded. "It was just as dangerous then as it is now, but on the bright side, we're much more prepared."
She wasn't entirely sure what to say to that so she just nodded in reply.
"What are you going to write in that letter?" he asked her.
"I dunno. I'm thinking about it though. I'm trying to figure out what would be enough to lure them away for awhile."
"From what I've heard, their very tidy."
"Tidy…" Tonks frowned. "Bugger. I lived with my father who is a right old slob. He worked as an auto mechanic."
"Perhaps you could ask Arabella or Mundungus about the place. They've seen it the most since they've been assigned to guarding the place the most these days."
She looked at him curiously. "You've met Harry before, right? That's the impression I got anyway."
"Yes. I have."
"What's he like?"
He looked surprised. "Well," he said slowly. "He's a very brave young man. Most people don't give him enough credit for that it I think, and he really has done some amazing feats for his age."
"Why do you ask?"
She shrugged. "Dunno really. Just wondering. I mean, he's fifteen or so now, right?"
"He turns fifteen on the 31st." Remus said.
"Right. So he's a teenage boy. He's not that old and yet he's done more stuff than some witches or wizards will ever do in their lifetime."
He looked surprised by her modest observation. "Yes. That's true."
"I wonder if people forget sometimes that he is just a teenage boy. I mean, obviously he's an incredible wizard but he's also a hormonal adolescent."
Remus's lips turned into a faint smile. "You're right."
She sighed and turned her attention back to her drink. "I mean I still remember what it was like at fifteen and I'm sure you do too. It's a totally wretched time."
"Hmph." She snorted. "And now with the Ministry treating him like some sort of stand-in-joke these days…I knew the kid had to be decent."
"Well you'll have the chance to meet him yourself on the fifth."
She grinned. "Oh good. I can't wait."
He took a sip of his wine, surveying her thoughtfully, a slight frown on his face.
"A knut for your thoughts." She said cheerfully.
"No! Tell me! What were you thinking?"
Remus looked at her a little longer before saying, "I was wondering if you could do me a favor."
The serious tone did not go unnoticed by her. "Alright." She said slowly.
"You'd be helping the Order if you did this- though no one else has volunteered to do it."
Tonks set her jaw but was could feel butterflies taking nervous flight again in her stomach. If NONE of the other Order members would want to do it- why ask her?
Remus glanced across the room where Sirius was talking to Kingsley and Sturgis. "It's about Sirius." He said quietly.
Tonks stared at him blankly. "Sirius?"
Remus nodded. "I'm very worried about him. Thirteen years in Azkaban may have unhinged him but I'm afraid that keeping him a prisoner in this house is doing a lot more damage."
Tonks waited for an explanation.
Remus sighed. "Everyone here in the Order knows of his innocence now, but unfortunately- until Voldemort comes out in the open and we have a chance to catch Peter and prove Sirius's innocence- he has been ordered by Dumbledore to remain here at Grimmauld Place. It's been killing him. He was on the run before and as strange as it sounds- he was happy then. I've known Sirius for many years, ever since we were at school together and he has always been a risk-taking, adventurous man. Keeping a person with those traits locked up for their own safety can do a lot more to their morale than any other weapon used against them. Moreover, of all places to keep him- he's being forced to stay in a place that he has loathed for as long as he could remember. In some ways it's almost worse than Azkaban- because being locked up here where all those bad memories he had, physically took place at one time- well…you understand what I'm saying, don't you?"
Tonks nodded, she was finally starting to understand the complex personality behind her cousin's unreadable exterior.
"My point is-" Remus said. "I haven't seen him this happy in weeks. He seems to have taken a liking to you- Perhaps if you could come by the house every so often when your not on duty or working…of course I understand your very busy with everything else and you have a social life outside of the-"
"No! I'd love to see more of him. It's only right after all this time that we start seeing each other more."
Remus beamed at her. "Thank you."
The odd jelly feeling in her legs returned accompanied now by a small warm tingling through her limbs that left her a little light-headed. Or maybe she had just had to much to drink. That had to be it. "Yeah…" she said. "Sure thing." She glanced over at her cousin who had just left Kingsley and Sturgis to go and fill up his glass of wine again. "I think I'm going to head out soon though tonight. I have work really early tomorrow."
"It was really nice meeting you." She said honestly.
"Likewise. It was a pleasure." Remus said, inclining his head to her.
She gave him a quick smile before leaving him to go over to her cousin who was pouring so much wine into his cup, it was nearly overflowing.
A pleasure? Dear god he was old-fashioned. Very nice man though. She attempted to shake off the weird tingling and unsteady legs by the time she reached Sirius.
She gave her cousin a threatening glare.
"-Tonks." He finished. "Sorry about that. How do you like the meeting?"
"It's not so bad." She said. "Could use a bit more music though and perhaps some dancing."
He grinned. "I can't imagine half the members here dancing."
"I can, but it's not a pretty sight. I'm having painful visions of Mad-Eye doing disco."
Sirius snorted. "Does he know how cheeky you are behind his back?"
"A pretty good idea, yeah."
"And yet you're still in one piece?"
"That's because he's madly in love with me. Shh! Don't tell." Tonks said sarcastically.
Sirius let out a barklike laugh and took an enormous sip of his wine. "Saw you talking to Remus over there, hope he didn't bore you out of your mind."
"No, not at all. He was really quite nice."
"In a nice, boring, Mr. Moony way."
"He just seemed really tired though."
"Well he should- full moon was just a few days ago." Sirius said dryly as he drained his wine glass. He looked up to see the horrified look on Tonks's face and groaned. "Oh bollocks, pretend I did not just say that, will you?"
Tonks was stunned. She wasn't stupid- she was bright enough to fit it all together. She remembered him at the meeting putting up his hand saying how he wouldn't be able to be apart of the guard that night. The nickname, for godsakes…"Is Remus, a…a…?"
"I did not just say anything." Sirius said filling his glass again.
Tonks looked across the room where Remus was conversing with Elphias Doge and Mr. Weasley now, looking deep in thought and nodding at Mr. Weasley's words. He looked so…
Tonks felt guilty for thinking so, but it was true. She worked at the Ministry- she had seen werewolves before, arrested one actually and had to bring one to custody, but most of them were a bit-
Wild looking. Estranged from society, acting more like animals in human form than their actual human selves.
And Remus Lupin, he was quiet, serious, and thoughtful and moreover a very kind man- he had saved her from Snape, cared about his friends, he was respectful to her and he had a very nice laugh- well…it just didn't seem to fit.
She wondered for a half second if Sirius had been pulling her leg, but his reaction was too sincere to doubt otherwise.
Remus seemed to feel her eyes on the back of his head. He turned and when he saw her watching him, gave her a hesitant smile. Slowly, she smiled back.
And she realized something.
That it didn't matter.
A werewolf…but a nice, sweet one…with a very kind personality, if not slightly old-fashioned and with a fine piece of arse-
Tonks stopped her thoughts short wondering where that last bit had come from and shook her head wondering if she was going mad.
It didn't matter he was a werewolf- he was good man. She knew it probably sounded corny, but she had been raised by her mother who had always told her to look beneath the surface of people to see what they were really like before judging them. Besides, he hadn't labeled her for being a freaky metamorphous girl that could grow weird noses and so she certainly would not judge him for having a condition that he most likely had no control over. She would get to know him better in the weeks to come before coming up with a true opinion of what he was like.
She sipped her own glass of wine and smiled to herself. As far as her first Order meeting had went- it was a very eventful and interesting one indeed.
Authors note: Damn this chapter was LONG! I'm sorry. I hated writing this chapter if you want to know the truth. But it was necessary. Now you know the Order and the members. Duh. No more explanations and crap and the timeline is established. And of course Remus and Tonks had to meet! Still though…v. v. long! Don't worry. The rest are nowhere near as long and their much more entertaining.