A/N: Written after a request for some 'Snonks', so I doubt it's my best work as I'm not used to writing those characters, but it was nevertheless refreshing. Hope you enjoy it.
"I suppose that's passable, Nymphadora..." he called her Nymphadora to annoy her, she knew it. He called everyone by their surname except the girl who preferred to be known by her surname. He was twisted, that was for sure. She looked at the shimmering potion in her cauldron and smirked. "Don't get complacent, that's only an A, if you wish, as Professor Flitwick has told me, to be an Auror, then your work will have to improve greatly."
"I'll be fine in my tests, Professor; it's always easier when you're not swooping around trying to scare the living daylights out of us." Snape raised his eyebrows.
"You are either very brave, Nymphadora, or very foolish. Either way, you belong in Gryffindor. I am yet to see the intelligence that Ravenclaw house boasts."
"That's cutting, sir, really." He turned away with a flourish of his cloak and went off to grade Stephen's potion.
Tonks smiled to herself, pleased that she was one of the few who could get away with anything in Snape's class, which to everybody else was astonishing, because she wasn't in Slytherin, whose students he normally favoured.
She was about as favoured as you could get with Snape, though he'd never admit it. He'd told her that she'd got an A, but she'd distinctly seen him write an E on his parchment.
"Tonks, are you up for it?" Tonks turned to look at Mad-Eye, who was frowning at her.
"Yeah, course I am," she replied, bringing her mind back to the Order meeting. "Up for what?" she asked Sirius in a whisper, who was playing with a quill, doodling on a scrap of parchment in front of him. He wrote the words 'getting Harry' in small letters under the crude little drawing which consisted of a cauldron with a head bobbing around inside of it. The head had a fair bit of greasy black hair.
"I'd appreciate it if you two would concentrate and stop writing notes to each other!" Mad-Eye barked, which caused even Sirius, defiant, reckless, Sirius, to drop his quill and return his undivided attention to Moody.
When the meeting was over, the table cleared quickly and Molly started bustling around making dinner. "Sirius, get the children, would you? They can give me a hand. Heaven knows I could use one." Sirius got up from the table and left, scowling at Snape as he did so.
"I would advise, Nymphadora," Tonks rolled her eyes, "that you listen in future, when Alastor Moody is handing out tasks."
"Why, worried for my welfare, Sev?" Tonks asked cheekily, the corner of her lips twitching slightly in a small smile.
"Not in the slightest. No doubt you are capable of looking after yourself if you managed to scrape your way through Auror training," the insult/compliment just made Tonks smile, "but I'm thinking more about the welfare of our cause, and if we have someone carrying out important tasks who cannot have the presence of mind to concentrate on a meeting..."
"Oh you know Mad-Eye says the same things every meeting. 'Don't say hello to anyone', 'Don't turn your back', 'Constant vigilance', 'Don't mention the Order outside this house', 'Stop changing your hair colour, Tonks'." Snape regarded her for a few moments, the tips of his fingers pressed together, face devoid of any emotion.
"Well I think Alastor is wise to press these points. There are certain people amongst us, such as your cousin-"
"Oh give it a rest, Sev. When is Sirius going to pop into the ministry and start running around telling people all of the Order's secrets?" Snape leaned forward quickly, so quickly in fact that Tonks jerked back in surprise.
"Do not trust Sirius Black too easily. He may be innocent of the crimes he was convicted for, but he has shown before that he is quite capable of murder."
"As are you," Tonks retorted, all humour evaporating in an instant. Snape locked his eyes with hers for a second before getting up quickly and sweeping from the room, his black cloak billowing behind him.
Tonks let out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding.
"Here, Tonks dear," Mrs Weasley said, placing some potatoes and a potato peeler in front of her. "Would you mind?"
"No, of course not, Molly."
It was a short while later that Sirius returned to find Tonks wrapping some tissue around her thumb and glaring at the potato peeler.
"Detention, Nymphadora," she turned around and frowned at Snape, her wand still on Meterius, who was stuck to the ceiling.
"What crawled up your ar-?" her question was cut off by Snape.
"Put Meterius down, Nymphadora, or it shall be detention for the rest of the week."
"But he's a Gryffindor, sir; surely you're not sticking up for those 'brave fools'?"
"I am merely enforcing the rules of this school, and if I have to tell you to put him down again, I shall be docking twenty points from Ravenclaw." Tonks lifted the spell and put her wand back into the pocket of her robes. Meterius dropped to the ground with a thud and Tonks was positive she saw Snape hold back a smile. "My office at eight o'clock, Nymphadora," Tonks rolled her eyes and he left.
"So, Tonks, you didn't answer. Will you go out with me?" Tonks gave him a disgusted look and walked over him, making sure her foot caught him painfully in the ribs as she went.
She arrived at his office at ten past eight and knocked on the door, which opened slowly, its rusty hinges creaking loudly in the silence of the dungeons. She stepped into the office, grimacing at the various things in jars stacked on the shelves which covered every wall of the room. The door closed behind her and the light of the candles brightened. Snape was sitting at his desk, looking as ever, sinister.
"You're late, Nymphadora," he told her.
"I was playing exploding snap," she explained.
"Be that as it may, you were supposed to be here ten minutes ago. Now, sit down and be quiet." He turned back to his desk but stopped when she spoke again.
"Is that my detention? Sit down and watch the marvellous Professor Snape at work?"
"Yes. Is there a problem?" he asked, his silky tone lacking the danger it normally possessed when dealing with wrongdoers.
"Well, it's a waste of time, isn't it?" Tonks replied, sitting down heavily on a stool and folding her arms.
"Yes, but it is a waste of your time. Unless you'd rather be cleaning up rat spleens, of course?"
"Ooh, what a treat that would be." Tonks was so busy being stroppy that she didn't notice Snape smirk ever so slightly as he sat down and began writing in small neat letters, his face bent low over the parchment. After a while, Tonks noticed this and said, "You'll do your back in, you know."
"I'm touched by your concern," he glanced up at the clock on the wall, which now said half past eight. "You may go."
"Did I not tell you, that you belonged in Gryffindor? Brave and stupid, just how Godric liked them." Tonks let out a groan as the ceiling of one of the bedrooms in Grimmauld Place swam into view. "There were four of them, Nymphadora, how could you expect to-"
"If I didn't know you so well, Sev, I'd say you were worried," Tonks said tiredly. She tried to sit up but strong hands forced her back down onto the bed.
"Stay where you are," he instructed, his hands leaving her shoulders once she had rested back onto the mattress. "Drink," he told her, passing a vial of orange potion to her. When Tonks frowned at it, he explained, "Blood replenishing potion." Tonks nodded and drained the potion, giving a slight shudder at the taste. "Stay still," he instructed, and he pointed his wand at a spot just under Tonks' eye and drew it along a deep cut which had been inflicted by one of the Death Eaters. The skin rejoined, leaving a faint white line as the only indication that Tonks had ever suffered injury, and that would fade in time.
"What happened to the Death Eaters?" Tonks asked, shifting on the bed to make herself more comfortable.
"They ran away, of course. Lupin found you when he went to take over guard duty. Professor Dumbledore says you are not to do duty until you are fully fit, and I recommend that you take the next few days off work."
"I can't, Fudge'll have me sacked if I don't turn up. You've got to be dead before he'll believe you're deserving of staying home."
"And you very nearly were!" For the first time, Tonks saw anger flash in Snape's eyes and she recoiled slightly. Yes, she was an Auror, but she was still allowed to be scared, was she not?
"Even so," she said, once Snape had reverted to his regular, cool exterior. "I'm fine, I'll get some rest tonight and then I'll go in tomorrow." She made to sit up again but he placed his hands on her shoulders and forced her back down, in a surprisingly gentle manner.
"I told you to stay where you are," Snape said loudly, as though the louder he said it the more she would follow orders. "Your ribs have been severely damaged and it will hurt you if you sit up."
"I don't care," Tonks said, gritting her teeth and making to sit up again, only to be pushed down once more.
"Well I do."
No more was said after that.
One of the Slytherins' cauldrons exploded. Snape vanished the scattered potion in an instant, supplied those who had been hit by the purple mess with an antidote and waited for silence, which did not take long. Snape was seething.
"Who is responsible for this?" he demanded, trying his best to stay calm. His hair was falling into his face, his chest heaving as he breathed deeply.
"Me," Tonks said, after a moment's selfless though. She had seen Ivor throw the firework, but Snape hated Ivor, and Tonks was willing to take one for the team. "Everyone seemed a bit miserable, what with all the rain and stuff so I thought I'd liven things up a bit."
"How...amusing," Snape said softly, fixing Tonks with a penetrating stare. "Well, no doubt it made Scopin's potion a lot closer to what we were actually making, as opposed to the abomination he had been concocting. Nevertheless, you will see me after class."
She did not even chance a look at Ivor. If you were lying to Snape, then you must not think about anything to do with the truth while you were in his presence. She had a feeling he could read minds.
Tonks stayed in her seat after class and Snape took his time in writing something. Finally he put down his quill and looked up. "Do not cover up for friends, Nymphadora. It is not worth it. You do not know how long they will remain friends, and once you are no longer friends, you will ask yourself: 'what was the point in covering up for that foolish boy?'. I have said it before and I shall say it again, you belong in Gryffindor, where the brave and foolish roam."
"If I'm so brave and foolish, then how come you put up with my cheek?" Tonks shot back. "How come anyone else would be dead if they were the slightest bit sarky towards you, yet here I am, alive and well."
"Would you prefer me to treat you as I do the rest of your house?"
"That's a subtle and empty threat, Professor, not an answer."
"You are a talented potion maker," Snape said at last, and Tonks could tell that it was killing him to say something vaguely nice, but she wasn't fooled, either.
"There are lots of talented potion makers in this school. Ivor's not bad, but you hate him," Tonks reasoned.
"Ivor Carrakcus is an insolent and arrogant little boy who loves nothing better than sabotaging other people's work."
"Ah, you have a mental record of every single person in this school and have taken the liberty of doing a psychological analysis of them, have you?" Snape said nothing. "And what does your summary of my personality consist of? 'Lippy girl who should choose a body and stick with it'?"
"That is hardly relevant, now leave, you are due in Transfiguration. Professor McGonagall will be displeased if you are late."
"Right," Tonks said haughtily. "Fine."
"Why the hell do you bother with him?" Sirius asked as Tonks got up to follow Snape out of the door of Grimmauld Place. Tonks shrugged.
"He likes me, in his own twisted way. Always has."
"Just watch it, all right?" Sirius said quietly. "I don't trust him."
"And he says exactly the same about you, Sirius. I'm not interested in schoolboy rivalries, which should have died out long ago, if you ask me."
"All I'm saying is be careful," Sirius impressed upon her. "He mixes with the wrong people, and if they catch you with him, you could end up in a very sorry state."
"Bye Sirius," Tonks said loudly, drowning out anymore concerns Sirius decided to voice.
She caught up with Snape at the end of the square and the turned left into another residential street. "I always wondered," she began, and Snape turned his head to look at her, still walking briskly along the street. "What was your little psychological analysis of me?"
"A lippy girl who should choose a body and stick with it," Snape replied, his pace still quick as he strode into an alleyway. Tonks recovered from her shock quickly, determined to get an answer from him.
"No, truthfully," Tonks demanded. He stopped walking and so did Tonks. He turned swiftly and she backed against the wall. He took a step forward. He was inches away.
"Truthfully, you say?" his voice was almost a whisper, and for a moment, Tonks thought he was going to kiss her, but instead, he clenched his fist tightly, a fleeting expression of pain dancing across his face, and then he disapparated.
"Nymphadora if you change the shape of your nose once more-" there was a pop, and Tonks was sporting a large, hooked nose, not unlike his own.
"I can't help it, Professor. Something's made it extra sensitive today." Another pop and her hair was replaced by lime green dreadlocks. Snape walked towards her, and when he reached her desk he placed his hands on the table and leant down so he was looking her straight in the eye.
"Nymphadora, my patience is wearing thin. Stop using your 'talent' to entertain the class and pay attention." Tonks said nothing, and after thirty seconds or so of him staring directly at her, giving her a look which would have made grown men cry, there was a pop, and her ears grew to twice the size they normally were.
"Get out," he said carefully. One last pop and Tonks reverted to her normal looks, picked up her books, quill, ink and parchment, stuffed them in her bag and left the room. He stood up straight and let his attention fall onto the rest of the class.
"If there is anyone else who sees fit to test my patience today, bear in mind that you will spend the rest of the year scrubbing this dungeon. The muggle way."
Nobody said a word for the entire lesson, and Tonks spent an enjoyable hour in her dormitory, reading the latest issue of 'Challenges in Charming'.
"Tonks!" she looked up as Harry, Ron and Hermione filed out of the classroom.
"Wotcher!" she replied cheerfully. "How have you three been?"
"Fine," Harry said hurriedly, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to see Sev," she told them.
"Tonks, I wouldn't," Hermione warned, "He's in a foul mood. He just took fifty points from Gryffindor because Seamus stirred his potion clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise."
"Nah, I'll be fine. Might be able to cheer the old git up, eh?" she winked at them and strode into the dungeon, the door closing automatically behind her.
"Ah," he said, looking up from his desk. Her eyes rested momentarily on the mangled mess that Tonks guessed to be Seamus' cauldron, and she looked back to Snape. "What brings you here, Nymphadora?"
"You never told me the truth," Tonks said. "You disapparated before you said it. And I figured that since school had started, I wouldn't be seeing you anytime soon unless I came here. My curiosity must be satisfied."
"Did you ever think the truth was, 'a lippy girl who should choose a body and stick with it'?"
"No," Tonks replied defiantly, knowing that it was not the truth. "Because that's not what you think of me." He stood up and she took a step towards him, he on one side of the desk, her on the other. "Tell me the truth," she demanded.
"And why should I do that?" he whispered. He was close again, and Tonks was reminded of the alleyway all those months ago. She could see every feature of his face quite clearly; feel his breath, which smelled faintly minty. The door of the dungeon opened and several seventh year Slytherins strode in, watching the scene before them out of the corner of their eye as they sat down. One of them smirked at another.
"Nymphadora," he said silkily, "I have a class now, and I don't think it will progress quite as well if you stay here demanding the truth." Tonks glared and turned away. She paused at the door, screwed up her face, and lime green dreadlocks replaced the bubblegum pink spikes that she normally sported. Snape's face twitched, his jaw set, and she knew he was resisting the urge to smirk.
When she was halfway down the corridor, she heard one of the Slytherins say "Sir, you should have just told her, she's fit," followed by the sound of a blackboard duster being thrown, accompanied by a yelp of pain.
A jet of blue light narrowly missed her and Tonks turned around. Bilkus was there, her arm raised but her wand was in Snape's hand. She seemed to be frozen to the spot. "Fifty points from Slytherin, Bilkus. For cowardice and the use of the Dark Arts in the school corridor."
"But sir," Hayden protested, "Tara heard that Tonks and Emerson were caught in a broom cupboard the other day, and it has been arranged that Tara and Emerson will -"
"I don't care if Nymphadora has stolen the heart of every one of your suitors; you are not to use the Dark Arts. And you can tell your father, Bilkus, that should he decide to give you any more lessons over the holidays, he will have me to deal with." Bilkus was released from her body bind at that moment.
"Father told me that you and him used to be pals. He was wondering if you had become a traitor."
"One cannot betray the dead," Snape told her. "And you will be in detention for the next week. There will be no need to bring your wand." Bilkus' lip curled and turned around, her dark hair fanning out as she did so. Hayden sent Snape a disgusted look, and followed her friend down the corridor, pushing a group of first years out of her way.
"Again, Nymphadora, I find myself incredibly impatient for the moment that your Ravenclaw intelligence will reveal itself." Tonks smiled cheekily and headed off down the corridor, feeling that favouritism was definitely one of the best feelings in the world.
"All right, Sev?" she asked as he strode into the kitchen, followed by an irritated Sirius, who looked exasperated when Tonks called Snape by his first name.
"Alas, Nymphadora, this is not a social visit -"
"So you won't be staying for dinner?" Tonks asked, jokingly.
"I am here to see Potter on Dumbledore's orders," Snape informed her. "So no, I will not be staying for dinner." Mrs Weasley set down her knife on the chopping board, half a carrot sliced, the other half remaining whole.
"I'll just go and get him for you, Professor." Tonks smiled as Molly shot Sirius a warning look and Snape sat down. Tonks tapped the table with her fingertips, looking around the kitchen and trying to ignore the awkward silence that had arisen between Snape and Sirius.
"I'll just go and..." Tonks said, getting up and disappearing from the room. She knew it was a bad idea to leave those two together, but she didn't want to be the one who broke up any fights. She smiled grimly at Harry on her way up the stairs as she passed him, and Molly looked worriedly towards the kitchen, now that the two men were left in there alone. Tonks wasn't too bothered. If anybody could restore order it was Mrs Weasley; the rate at which she could cross from motherly to livid was quite alarming.
Tonks opened the door and left the house, needing to get some fresh air. She wandered the streets for half an hour or so, frequently walking past the alleyway that often crossed her thoughts.
When she passed it for the sixth time, she noticed a tall figure standing at the other end. She stopped and subtly drew her wand, her fingers gripping it tightly. "Lumos." The wand tip ignited and Tonks pointed it at the stranger. She relaxed when she saw who it was. "Why must you scare the living daylights out of people?" she asked, putting her wand back in her robes. She walked along the alleyway and they met halfway.
"Nymphadora," he greeted, with a slight nod of his head. "Still anxious for the truth, are we?" Tonks nodded, her eyes fixed firmly with his. "What if there was no truth? What if the reason I favoured you was because I couldn't come to a conclusion?"
"Then you would have hated me, because I wouldn't be trustworthy and I was a question without an answer. Spare me the codswallop, Sev. Just tell me."
"Could it just be that I...liked you?"
"You don't just like people, Sev. You only dislike them less than others." He smirked and Tonks knew he had accepted the truth in her statement.
"True," she was backed against the wall and she hadn't realised it until he was inches away from her. She needed to keep her concentration in check when she was around him. "I disliked you very much less than the others." Tonks barely heard him. She was closer to him than she had ever been before, his body millimetres from hers. She didn't know when she stopped thinking, she just knew that she had.
His Dark Mark did not burn.
No Slytherins walked in on them.
Her previous memories of that alleyway were replaced with better ones.
"Good luck, Nymphadora."
"Thanks, Professor," Tonks replied as she walked towards the chamber where she would be tested on her potion making abilities.
"Rest assured, should you achieve anything other than an Outstanding, the consequences will be severe."
"Right, course they will," Tonks replied, closing the door behind her.
A small part of her was quite disappointed when she received her NEWT results. She was curious as to what the severe consequences would have been.