A battered suitcase lay open in the middle of the unmade bed. Tonks looked wistfully at rumpled sheets, longing to have more than a pillow to hold that night. She fastened her bra and pulled on a Weird Sisters t-shirt. Remus, toiletry kit in hand, had stopped packing to watch her dress. She grinned. It was nice to know she'd be missed for more than her charm and personality.
She blew him a kiss and morphed her pink hair black.
He smiled, gesturing to the purple fabric. "You're not going to match your shirt?"
Tonks shook her head. "Auror robes would cover it anyway." She watched her lover place an illumination orb, wireless radio, and a stack of books and scrolls into the capacious-charmed luggage already lined with clothing. "If my hair matched my mood, it would be blue."
The lines on his lean, handsome face seemed to deepen. "My mission—"
"I know it has to be this way," she said, striding over to wrap her arms around him in a fierce hug. "And it's stupid of me to start missing you before you leave."
"No. It isn't." Amber eyes gleamed. "Why did you think I woke you last night, and again this morning before the alarm?"
She gave him a playfully sultry look. "I'm sexy and irresistible?"
"That was definitely a factor."
Tonks reached up to sift her fingers through hair more threaded with grey in the weeks since the battle at the Department of Mysteries. "You wanted to memorise every line of my body with your lips and hands, and connect with me so deeply, we'll never truly be parted?"
He cradled her face in his hands and kissed away the tear that spilled down her cheek. "Yes." His gaze was resolved. "Nothing will part us for long." His lips brushed hers tenderly.
When his mouth firmed, Tonks's lips softened and opened. She wanted to drink him in, to imprint his taste and scent. The faint rasp of his skin reminded her of their lovemaking earlier, before he had shaved. She looked forward to seeing the marks later. Remus would have a few she had made to smile over too. She shifted closer, tilting her hips, returning the sweet friction of his tongue.
Almost desperately, she tried to think of a way to make another memory. The bed had a suitcase on it, and the chest was too high. The bedroom wasn't spacious enough to have a decent stretch of open wall space. In the bathroom, although the vanity was cluttered with perfumes and cosmetics, a wandless spell or a non-magical sweep of her hand could clear the surface in an instant. She nibbled his bottom lip, murmuring, "I want to inspire an inter-office memo about tardiness."
He groaned, "Nymphadora," kissed her hard, and then stepped back. "As much as I'd love to make you late for work, I have to go."
The regret in his eyes stopped her from trying to persuade. She dredged up a lopsided smile.
Remus took her hands and lifted each one to his lips. "I'll keep my communication mirror in a robe pocket. We'll never be out of touch."
Her eyes flickered to the bedside table and the silver-backed square engraved with image of Melusine, a spirit that haunted lovers and gave the mirror its name. Tonks was glad to have the link, but she wasn't ready for him to leave.
Since she never would be, she threw her arms around Remus. "I love you," she choked out.
His tone was low and husky. "I love you too." After a final kiss, he tied the string on the case that had been his since Hogwarts and headed for the fireplace in the lounge.
Tonks took a pinch of Floo Powder after Remus. She answered his questioning look with deliberate casualness. "I think I'll go to work early. Shock my wicked witch supervisor."
His smile held more than a hint of wolfishness. "Shouldn't you put on trousers first?"
She looked down at her bare legs and laughed.
When she was alone, her giggles turned watery. She was used to coming home to Remus. That night, she'd return to a silent, empty flat. Well, not quite empty. There were stacks of Daily Prophets she'd never given the Wizard Scouts to recycle, a mound of pillows on the floor that they'd chucked off the sofa last night when they were getting, erm, comfortable, and dishes in the sink that they were going to clear away, but got distracted because they were naked. The whole place was a cluttered mess, really, and could use a good cleaning.
The thought was depressing as hell. "I don't need to clean," Tonks said to herself, marching into the bedroom. "I need chocolate!"
Ten minutes later, she pushed open the door to Chocolat. A dark-haired teenager was manning the counter, speaking French with a customer who seemed to be debating over which pastry to choose. Tonks's Frenglish wasn't up to rapid-fire translation, so she let the words become background music while she perused the contents of the shop.
Jan Rocher was a genius to include a small patisserie within her chocolate shop. Along with the aroma of coffee, the smell of croissants and éclairs wafted through the neighbourhood, persuading many—Tonks included—into regularly forgoing a "healthy" breakfast in lieu of a decadent treat.
"Tonks! It's so good to see you!" the girl cried when the customer had left with both a pear and peach Danish. Her chocolate-brown eyes sparkled.
"Wotcher, Anouk," Tonks said with a smile. "You're as gorgeous as your mum now."
"Flattery will get you a pain au chocolat croissant any day," Jan called laughingly from the back room. "Come eat breakfast in the kitchen, mon amie. It has been too long."
"What would you like?" Anouk said with a bright smile.
"Café au lait and a double éclair: coffee and chocolate."
The girl's eyes widened. She bit her lip while handing over the pastry and container of coffee.
"Ta, Thanks." Probably thinks this breakfast is going straight to my arse.
She took a bite of pastry filled with chocolate and coffee custard as she walked into the sunny commercial kitchen, licking the icing clinging to her lips. She noticed that Jan had added touches of yellow to the classic blue and white decor. It looked good. "Salut!" she said, in between bites.
Jan finished shaping white chocolate into a rose and laid down her wand. "Bonjour," she replied, placing the rose onto a cake. "Have a seat while I store this."
Tonks perched on a stool beside the work island. "What kind of cake is that?"
"A gateaux, with layers of ganache and butter cream filling in between layers of chocolate sponge covered in dark chocolate ganache."
Stars that sounded good. Tonks decided she'd better get back into running every day if she was going start using chocolate as an anti-depressive.
When Jan took a seat, she tilted her head to the side. "You chose comfort food this morning. Ca va? How are you?"
"J'vais bien." Tonks's determination not to burden her friend crumbled. "I'm fine, considering that Remus had a—job opportunity—so he'll be living in Salford, and we'll have to see each other on weekends, or whenever we can." She took a sip of coffee, proud of her steady tone.
"When did he leave, mon amie?"
"Right before I came here."
Jan patted Tonks's arm. "Il n'y a que les montagnes qui ne se rencontrent jamais. There are none so distant that fate cannot bring together"
"Do you have a proverb for all occasions?" Tonks tried to joke.
"Of course she does! She's a mum!" Anouk stood in the doorway. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop. There's a temporary lull in customers, so I came back to talk." Her eyes narrowed when she looked at her mother. "How come when I told you Jason was spending the summer in Romania to see if he wanted to become a dragon keeper, you only said Qui vivra verra?
Jan gave an elegant, Gallic shrug. "Time will tell," she said, a bit defensively. "What is wrong with that?"
Although she sympathised with Anouk, Jan was her close friend. "Romania?" she asked. "Is he working with Charlie Weasley by any chance?"
Her attempt to distract was successful. The girl's face lit up. "Yes! My boyfriend says he's ace—strict but kind—and knows so much about dragons." Anouk took a step into the room. "You're friends with Charlie?" When Tonks nodded, she beamed. "Would you like to visit him? We could go together! Then Maman won't worry that I'll be sharing Jason's tent and making her a grand-mère before I'm nineteen."
"Hold on," Tonks said, hoping to avert a mother-daughter spat. "I'm a city girl. I'm not into hiking up mountains and communing with nature. I'd go barmy without shops and crowds of people."
"But...Hogwarts is isolated."
Tonks made a face. "Yeah. That's why I never made prefect, because I was always trying to stir things up, make some noise."
Anouk's face fell. "Oh."
"You could invite a friend. Charlie's still single as far as I know." Tonks glanced at Jan and realised her attempt to cheer one Rocher had displeased another. She made a show of looking at her watch. "I'll be late for work if I don't run. Thank you for the éclair and proverbs, ladies. Au revior." She hopped off the stool.
Jan stood and kissed her cheeks. "A bientot," she said, "for you will see us soon, at dinner tonight, and tell us all you know of Romania." She smiled at her daughter. "Perhaps our family will holiday there this summer."
Tonks left Anouk hugging her mum, babbling excitedly in French.
Once through the double doors of the Auror offices, Tonks tried to slip past Kingsley's cubicle unnoticed. She didn't fear a reprimand for being late. It was questions about Remus that she hoped to avoid.
"Tonks! Get in here."
Damn those security wards of his! She trudged into the office and plopped down in a chair.
"You're a ray of sunshine this morning."
Tonks threw her superior a fake smile and morphed her hair bright yellow. "Better?"
"No." He checked his assorted wards before saying, "I take it Lupin began his mission?"
She changed her hair back to black. "I'm not suffering from PMS."
Kingsley's lips twitched. "I'll take that as an affirmative."
Tonks lifted a shoulder and let it fall. "Don't worry. I'm not going to have a breakdown at work, if that's what you called me in here for."
The humour in his expression drained away. "It isn't. I received a memo. Your presence is required in Scrimgeour's office."
"Dawlish, Savage, and Proudfoot were summoned as well." He inclined his head toward the clock on the wall. "The meeting will begin at 0900. He'll be expecting you in precisely six minutes."
She jumped to her feet. "Why didn't you tell me right away? Is this payback for that time I didn't tell you the boss wanted you in his office because you told me to wait?"
"You have five minutes now, and would I do something like that?"
Kingsley's face was expressionless, but his tone made her grin. "Gee, I hope so!" She waggled her fingers and bolted out into the corridor.
Co-workers raised their eyebrows or called, "Where's the fire?" as she dashed past them. Tonks sniggered and kept on running. Outside the Head of Aurors Office, she paused. Gods I'm out of shape! I guess long walks and loads of sex wasn't as aerobic as I thought. Tonks inhaled deeply and then slowly released her breath before opening the door.
It wasn't until yellowish eyes flickered down and Scrimgeour's eyebrow arched that Tonks realised she had forgotten to run by her cubicle and grab Auror robes.
"You're out of uniform," said a stern-looking Auror with close-cropped, wiry hair.
Dawlish had a reputation as a stickler for the rules. Tonks smiled slightly. "I had to make a choice between punctuality and appearance. Since this isn't an inquiry, I chose not to waste valuable time."
The two other men in the room looked amused. Scrimgeour said dryly, "How thoughtful." He waved a hand. "Now that everyone is here, please take a seat."
Tonks made a beeline for the chair furthest away from Dawlish, who was still frowning at her t-shirt's Live Weird or Die logo. The man sitting next to her smiled politely when their eyes met. She remembered him vaguely from Hogwarts. He'd been a seventh year during her first. His name was Bartholomew Savage—a former Hufflepuff Chaser.
The Auror on his other side didn't look much like a Proudfoot, being average in appearance and height. He reminded Tonks of the wizard who had connected her fireplace to the Floo Network. The bloke had stopped her attempt to chat with a single look. She wondered if Proudfoot was Dawlish's partner. They were both somewhere in their forties or fifties. It was easy to imagine the men telling those interviewed, "Just the facts, please."
Scrimgeour cleared his throat.
Tonks smiled apologetically and gave him her full attention.
Within seconds, her smile had frozen and her mind reeled in disbelief. No. He is not really transferring me to Hogsmeade to give the school extra protection. As if a castle guarded by ancient magic, house-elves, and Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard alive, can't protect students without Auror assistance!
She leaned forward a little. Covert sideways glances revealed that none of the men seemed to question the validity of the assignment. Savage's chest was puffed with pride, while the other two men sat up straighter. They were like overgrown schoolboys chuffed to be picked by the Auror equivalent of the Quidditch Captain.
Her hands were shaking, she was that upset. This so-called assignment was nothing more than public relations. It would look good for the Daily Prophet to report that Scrimgeour had beefed up security at the school. It didn't matter that instead of working to catch Death Eaters, Aurors would be fending off stray dogs and whatever denizen of the Forbidden Forest they happened to disturb on patrol.
Tonks gritted her teeth. It was a criminal waste of manpower and Galleons.
While she listened to the arrangements—Madam Rosmerta had volunteered to house her at the Three Broomsticks, while the men would stay at The Hog's Head—she was struck by another thought.
It was the perfect opportunity to get Snape to teach her how to brew Wolfsbane Potion.
Her pulse steadied. It was the beginning of July. The assignment didn't start until August. She had time to see family and friends, to give notice to her uncle that he needed to hire another part-time enquiry agent. Scotland wasn't the end of the earth, either. She could still visit Remus. Salford was in the north of England, and if Remus made his way into one of the Scotland packs, he'd be even closer. Jan's proverb came to mind.
There are none so distant that fate cannot bring together.
Tonks let the others ask questions, biding her time until the meeting adjourned. When her colleagues left, she shut the door and leaned against it. "Did you include me in this little group because of Lola?"
Her side job Scrimgeour's blonde escort/bodyguard had ended after Sirius fell through the veil. When her boss avoided eye contact on the occasions when their paths crossed, Tonks thought she knew why. The sight of her was an unwelcome reminder that she knew how far he would go to be Minister for Magic.
"Yes," he said bluntly. "Fudge will soon officially step down. After the first weeks of focusing on the transition and my policies, I cannot put it past Quibbler or Intruder staff to attempt to dig up 'Lola.' Concern over the possibility of scandal would impede concentration to my duties."
Tonks appreciated the honesty. She said, "Fine, but Jerry Connelly gets a transfer too. I want somebody to play darts with when I'm stuck in a twee village in the middle of nowhere."
The corner of his mouth turned up. "The others—"
"Aren't the type that want to be mates."
"If your Auror partner declines?"
She smirked. "He was a Phoenix Scout. He loves outdoorsy sh—stuff."
Scrimgeour gave a bark of laughter. "Very well.
Tonks opened the door. "Thanks. Good luck running the Ministry."
"Good luck in Hogsmeade."
She didn't say "Yeah, right," but her look conveyed it.
In the outer corridor, Dawlish waited. "Why were you offered this assignment?" he asked curtly.
Tonks stood at attention and saluted. "Because I'm the best woman for the job, sir!"
He obviously hadn't watched old war films on telly with Muggle relatives. Dawlish scowled. "Because you're a woman? Are you saying those old rumours about you and Scrimgeour are true?"
She burst into laughter, gasping, "You think...any woman...in her right mind...would sleep with the boss to get sent to Hogsmeade?" She had to hold her aching sides. Still shaking her head, she made her way back to the hinterland of junior Auror cubicles to break the news to Jerry.
After work, she Apparated to the Blue Moon enquiry agency. Following a quick hello to Bubbles, the receptionist, Tonks impulsively decided to stop by Cami's office instead of going up to her second-floor flat.
Camillia Llewellyn, her friend and Sirius's lover, was bidding a client farewell. "My next appointment," she said to the man, pulling her hand out of his. "This way," Cami said to Tonks, ushering her into the office. She closed the door with a grimace. "The man tried to chat me up. As if I'd be interested in a balding wizard with clammy hands, even if I didn't already have a partner."
"You still have faith," Tonks said, regretting that hers had eroded. She still clung to the faint hope that Sirius would return, but it seemed more and more unlikely as each week passed.
"Always." Cami leaned across the desk, long brown hair swinging forward. "Are you and Remus free for dinner? I'd like to show you something that's really helped keep my spirits up."
"Remus left today for Salford, and I've made plans with the Rochers. How about tomorrow night?"
"I'll make beef chow mein to rival Lee Ho Fooks."
When she said goodbye to Cami and went upstairs, Tonks found that facing an empty flat wasn't as bad as she had feared. It was worse. She could "see" Remus stretched out on the sofa, writing in his journal at the desk, standing at the kitchen counter, preparing dinner. She averted her eyes from the bed while gathering clothes to change into after a shower.
Alan Rocher conjured his favourite recipe, chateaubriand, for dinner. Tonks savoured a bite of steak served with béarnaise sauce and wondered what Remus was eating that night. Beside her, Anouk said, "Tell us what you know about Romania," diverting her guest's attention.
"I only know what Charlie told me," said Tonks. "He owled every week when he first started training, but neither of us is the best of pen friends. We're down to Christmas cards now." She retrieved a thin stack of letters out of her pink holdall and gave them to the girl. "Here. You can read about the history, geography, and dracontology of Romania and tell your parents all the information I've forgotten."
"You kept his letters all this time?" Anouk asked, big-eyed.
"Of course," Tonks said. "Look at the stationery!"
Her young friend lifted the parchment. "The dragon flies across the envelope!"
"That's a Romanian Longhorn." Tonks touched dark green scales with a fingertip. "Isn't it cool?"
Anouk handed the envelope to her father. Alan's smile was filled with boyish enthusiasm. "It's very cool."
Later that night, Tonks sat on the edge of bed. She stared down at the communication mirror in her hand. Heart pounding with anticipation, she said, "Remus."
The silver warmed against her palm, the reflective surface becoming opaque before her love's face appeared. She stroked a finger down his face, yearning to feel the faint stubble shadowing his jaw. "I miss you," she said. "How'd the move go?"
"It took me longer to clean the mess the former occupant of my room left behind than to unpack my things. I spent the rest of the day making the acquaintance of several colourful neighbours and mucking out the council version of the Aegean stables." Remus's smile was tired. "How was your day?"
It had only been a few nights since the full moon, and neither of them had been getting much sleep recently, trying to snatch as many hours together as possible. Tonks wasn't going to unload her emotional baggage onto him. She said, "I cadged not only breakfast, but dinner also from Jan, and got a new assignment that will start in August."
In the mirror, his gaze became penetrating. "What kind of assignment?"
She kept her response light. "I'll be stationed at Hogsmeade with a few others to beef up security at the school."
"Has there been a specific threat, or is this a Ministry attempt to boost public approval ratings?" Remus's tone implied he knew the answer to that question and didn't approve.
Tonks said, "I can still visit you."
"I thought you'd be upset to leave London." Remus paused before asking, "Why aren't you?"
She brought the mirror closer. It didn't give a closer view of his face. Cockroach Clusters. She'd wanted to look deeply into his eyes. Tonks said, "Snape once told me that he couldn't teach me to brew Wolfsbane Potion because it would take too much time." She said ruefully, "He won't be able to say that anymore."
"Snape isn't likely to agree for any reason," Remus said matter-of-fact. "He brewed the Potion while I taught at Hogwarts at Dumbledore's request only. We are not friends."
There was something in his voice—a note of regret. She asked, "What aren't you telling me?"
Remus sighed. "I allowed old prejudices to influence my actions. Much to my shame, because Severus refused to treat Harry fairly, on account of his history with James, I refused to drink Wolfsbane Potion in his presence." His jaw tightened. "Each month I smelled his fear that I would fail to take it, and yet I deliberately failed to alleviate it."
What Remus had done was nothing compared to the revenge she had taken on Kreacher. The letter she had written the headmaster reinforced his determination to send the House-Elf to Hogwarts. Kreacher likely hated her guts for separating him from his idolised mistress. "Snape will get over it," she said. "I won't take no for an answer."
"I hope you aren't forced to."
He sounded so melancholy. Tonks couldn't give him a hug or kiss, so she tried to make him smile. "Hey, this mirror leaves too much to the imagination. What are you wearing?"
Remus chuckled. "A tatty old bathrobe." His smile was sexy. "You?"
Her expression became sultry. "A black thong."
"To coordinate with the MegaMaggot tee you appropriated out of my suitcase?"
Gobsmacked, she stared down at the concert tee they'd bought at a second-hand shop. The drummer of the group was a werewolf they'd met during the course of a private investigation. She still had one of the drumsticks he'd given her. "How did you know?"
He winked. "I know you."
She kissed the mirror. His laughter made her feel warm inside. "I wish you could feel that," she said.
Tonks asked about the neighbours he'd met, enjoying the sound of Remus's voice and the expressions that played across his face. Eventually, the fatigue that deepened the creases around his eyes caused her to stop putting off the inevitable. "I'll let you go to sleep," she said. "I love you."
"I love you. Goodnight."
"Goodnight." Slowly, she put down the mirror and picked up his pillow, clutching it to her chest.
The next evening, Cami greeted her with a wide smile. "Are you hungry? Out of habit, I made enough for four."
"Take the leftovers to work," Tonks said. "They'll be gone by lunch." Her eyes flickered around the lounge, homing in on different items. The book Sirius told her he was re-reading was on a side table. A couple of the toys that he had played with as a child held a place of honour on the mantel.
"I keep the pictures we took with the Goblin Insta-Print camera beside my bed," Cami said, when Tonks walked over to the coffee table and picked up a chess piece she'd last seen in the sitting room of Grimmauld Place. "I love having reminders of Sirius around the place."
Tonks's throat began to tighten. "It doesn't...hurt?"
"No. I'm sure he'll play chess with those pieces one day soon."
How can you say that with such conviction? Tonks almost asked. I'm about to cry. She forced a smile. "What did you want to show me? Is it Sirius's things? Are they what keep your spirits up?"
A secretive twinkle appeared in hazel eyes. "I'll show you after dinner."
Cami's cheerful demeanour was a striking contrast to the way Tonks would have felt in her place. She didn't understand how loneliness and daily disappointment hadn't worn down her friend's optimism—until the dishes were cleared away and Cami went into the bedroom and brought out a shallow stone basin with runes carved around the edges.
"It's a Pensieve," said Cami. "Mundungus found it for me." She set the basin down on the dining table.
"How does it work?" Tonks asked, although she had studied the Dark uses of a Pensieve in Auror training. Some wizards removed memories of their criminal activities in order to circumvent Veritaserum and Legilimency.
Cami patted her hand. "I'll show you, and never fear. I only remove a copy of my memories. I would never endanger something so precious." She performed a ritual that combined spell and wand movements to extract a silvery memory and place it into the basin.
It was as if a miniature whirlwind moved restlessly across the Pensieve. Tonks reached out to touch it, and incorporeally transported out of reality and into Cami's memory.
Tonks stood beside the kitchen table at Grimmauld Place. She was an observer, not part of the memory.
Two couples were playing cards. Sirius's face was alight with triumph as he threw down his winning hand and raked in the pot—a mound of peanuts. Cami laughed while Remus chuckled. Tonks was the only one who didn't congratulate Sirius on his win. Her bottom lip turned down sulkily.
Sirius noticed her expression and roared with laughter. "You're a typical Black, aren't you? Jolly winner and a sore loser." He stood, pulling his lover to her feet before bending her back over his arm. "What say you, my fair lady? Will music soothe the savage beast?"
"As long as it's romantic, and not The Clash," Cami said.
Sirius growled playfully. "I should make you walk the plank for that, saucy wench, but instead I'll kiss the impertinence out of you!"
Watching the scene, Tonks almost smiled to hear her other self begin to grumble. "Oh, sure, NOW he'll play pirate!" The Tonks of memory curled her lip. "Why not before? Did Captain Black Dog fear Commodore Molly would hang him for pillaging in front of her innocent children?"
Remus, the gentleman, assisted Tonks to her feet and kissed her hand. "Perhaps he worried a pirate queen would seduce his first mate into leaving his service for hers."
The "pirate queen" slid her arms around her love's neck. "I seduce you every night. It never bothered him before."
Sirius let Cami come up for air. "That was before I knew it was every night!" He snorted. "That's enough to dull a pirate's sword in his scabbard."
Cami giggled. "I'll find a way to keep it sharp."
Tonks groaned. "Dancing. Somebody mentioned dancing."
"It was music," said Remus, "but we'll dance if you like."
Sirius tugged Cami's hand. "Let's dance on the roof beneath the stars!"
Both couples hurried toward the stairs.
Tonks blinked when she was pulled away from the Pensieve.
"Isn't it wonderful?" Cami touched the side of basin reverently. "Being able to relive memories is such a comfort, and makes me even more convinced that Sirius will come back. He has so much waiting for him." She smiled. "I could teach you the spell. You could be with Remus in memories until you can visit him." Her tone became dreamy. "You'll notice things you didn't before—little details that will make you fall in love with him all over again."
All at once, Tonks could imagine her friend growing old, waiting for Sirius to come back, spending her free moments reliving memories of past love. "I'll think about it, OK?" she said in a thin voice. She pointed to the clock on the wall. "I forgot. Mum asked me to stop by. I'd better go."
Cami hugged her. "Come back any time."
"Thanks." Tonks was able to keep tears at bay until Cami shut the door to her flat. She stood leaning against a wall in the corridor, weeping silently, until the rattle of a neighbour's lock impelled her toward the stairs.
She Apparated to her parents' house. Not because Andromeda was expecting her—she had lied in order to escape Cami's flat—but because she needed her mother.
"Mum," she said brokenly when the door opened.
Her mother drew her inside the house and into her arms. "You heard about Emmeline Vance," she said, stroking Tonks's hair. "When I read about her death—"
Andromeda pulled back, eyes dark with concern. "Both Mrs. Vance and Amelia Bones were targeted. I thought you knew. Isn't that why you're here?"
Tonks's face crumpled. "No, Mum, it's Cami. I'm s—so worried about her and—and now Emmeline is dead? Oh gods!"
Her mother held her while she sobbed. Mrs. Vance had been so nice, inviting her to tea several times in the last few weeks. Tonks had made excuses not to go. She hadn't been ready to talk about Sirius—and now she'd never see Emmeline again.
"What's going on?" she heard her father ask.
"She didn't know about the deaths," Andromeda said in a hushed voice.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart," Ted said gruffly, patting her on the back.
Tonks cried until she felt blessedly numb. "May I have a cup of tea?"
Her mother kissed her cheek and stepped back. "I'll go put the kettle on."
Her father gave her a bear hug and then steered her toward the kitchen. "You're staying here tonight."
He bent to kiss the top of her head. "No matter how old you are or where you live, this will always be your home."
Tonks drank a cup of tea and ate a bar of chocolate to soothe her parents before climbing the stairs to her childhood bedroom. She went through the motions of getting ready for bed by rote, waiting until she was propped up in bed, a stuffed dragon by the name of Norbert keeping her company, to use the Melusine Mirror to contact Remus.
His face appeared instantly. "Nymphadora! Have you heard—?"
"Yes." It was rude to interrupt, but she couldn't bear to talk about Emmeline's death. Tonks didn't want to talk about Cami either. There was only one thing she wanted to hear. "When can I visit? I need to see you."
"I'll find a way to come to London," he said.
"What does that mean?" Her wits felt dull. "Why can't I take the Knight Bus to Salford?"
"I haven't gained pack approval for you to visit."
"Pack approval," she repeated tonelessly. "When will that happen?"
"I'm not sure."
"All right. Come see me when you can." Tonks ran the backs of her fingers across his face. "I'm staying with Mum and Dad tonight. I'll be fine. I love you."
Remus said, "I love you, too, and I meant it when I said nothing will part us for long. I'll be in London as soon as I make arrangements."
She'd tell him about Cami then. "Goodnight, love."
Her long bouts of crying ensured that Tonks fell asleep soon after her head hit the pillow. In the early hours of the morning, she dreamed that she was up in Morty's rooftop garden, lying on a chaise, soaking up the sun. The warm sunlight lulled her to sleep, and she "awoke" to find that twilight had dulled the colour of the plants and the sky. Patiently, she waited for night to fall. The first star that she saw was the Dog Star.
Tonks made a wish and lay gazing at the constellations until her eyes drifted shut.
In the morning, Tonks awoke with the sense that something had changed. She sat up in bed, glancing by habit at the mirror on the wall.
Her hair was mousey brown.
She threw back the covers and walked over to the mirror, gingerly running her hands over the limp strands. She concentrated. Her hair stayed brown. The shade was less than flattering. Her skin looked anaemically pale. She tried to morph again.
She was stuck with limp, mousey brown hair.
Tonks didn't scream the way she once would have. Instead, she felt bleak satisfaction. This is what grief looks like, she thought. It isn't pretty.
She smelled freshly brewed coffee. Mum was up, likely conjuring breakfast. It was her way of coping with unhappiness. Tonks quickly dressed and went downstairs to spend time with her parents before she left for work.
A/N:It's HBP—can't help the angst with the Romance! I hope the ending made readers more eager for the next story to begin. If anyone wonders if the song by Satellite Party inspired the title of this fic, yes, it did. :D The literal translation of the French proverbs is there are only mountains that never meet and He who lives will see. I liked that the English versions incorporated the meaning. I also enjoyed writing Tonks in third person pov, and hope readers used to the intimacy of first found that third person limited to what she experiences and thinks gives a similar feel to the story. Here's the title/summary of the HBP R/T (dual pov) fic, like a trailer playing in different theatres until a film opens.
Waiting for the Moon
Giant spiders, malevolent bats, wizard scouts...werewolves. Tonks finds life in Hogsmeade far from simple, while Remus discovers having a partner in touch with her inner wolf complicates his mission and his heart.