Author's Note: I cannot remember how long this had been sitting on my computer, but it went through a huge revision about ten minutes before the first chapter went up. By the way, there is only a first chapter written so far, because I'm lazy, as you all know. Either way, who knows how long 'till I next update something...this is my first Remus/Tonks piece. Let me know what you think. R&R. Thank you for the read!
Grace and clever feet were two things that Nymphadora Tonks had never been blessed with. She had long since acknowledged this unfortunate truth, and had come to terms with the fact that she was perhaps the single, most clumsy person to have ever walked the Earth.
But it didn't help console her much as Tonks flew downward through the air. Through some inevitable misfortune, she had tripped and fallen some forty feet out of a treetop, and now was faced with dozens of various dangerous and regrettably solid tree limbs. Branches both thick and thin were flying all around and past her face, cutting and breaking to splinters all around as Nymphadora Tonks's whole world went to hell. Goddamn, bloody feet, she thought furiously, flailing her hands desperately, trying to grab hold onto the tree rather than smashing off it. That plan backfired with an excruciating snap from her wrist, and just as she groaned.
And finally, in an infinitesimal second, her dark eyes opened and widened as the undeniably sturdy earth soared closer and closer. Her mouth opened and her wand hand flexed, and the entire world was slowing for a few last all-too precious seconds. Tonks was unable to look anywhere but the ground as she wondered if this would be her very last fall. One last breath, and then she was shouting a partially formed cushioning charm, which proved only moments later to have failed. Her back met the ground with a dull thudding sound, and the unforgettable feeling of ribs breaking overcame her. Tonks was left lying only a few feet from her wand, her arms and legs eagle-spread across the grass.
The impact had knocked the air from her lungs. It hurt, yes. But it didn't hurt as much as her head, which had met the ground with a jarring, painful impact that left her reeling. Lord, is it even still attached to my body? She wondered dimly of her smarting skull, and then, very hazily, Tonks's eyes focused on the two figures above her in the tree were shouting down to her. "Tonks, are you alright? Can you hear me?" Kingsley Shacklebolt's usually calm voice boomed sharply from high above the ground. Oh, right, I'm fine, she thought, nearly blinded with pain, I'm just, you know, painting my toenails, having a bit of a lie-down.
"Bollocks," was the only thing she could manage through gritted teeth, as she stared upwards. Vaguely recognizing the explosion of stars that danced across her vision, she squinted straight up into the tree, which was still rustling almost indignantly. Right.
"Tonks!" the glowering form of Alastor Moody snarled, from far, far above her prostrate form. "What the devil is the matter with you? You're about to blow our cover, you fool!" However, she could offer nothing but a much strangled groan as she rolled over and clutched at her temples, reeling from the impact of the ground. Or perhaps it was the first encounter with that blasted branch. She couldn't remember which one had induced more jarring pain.
The crack from a few feet away indicated that Moody had sent someone down-from the tree - to drag her back up it. That or a less welcome visitor was here to put her out of her misery. Presumably a black cloaked, masked someone who went by the name 'Death Eater'.
Thankfully, she turned and squinted up at the concerned face of Kingsley Shacklebolt. From his wary glance round the dark uninviting streets, he crouched beside her with concern, and she took it that no one had seen or heard her tumble from the massive tree. "That was quite a fall," he said, with a voice that was both deep and properly worried. He solicitously offered her a hand, and then took note that she was incapacitated past the ability to speak coherent sentences, let alone stand of her own accord. Strong hands pulled her upright, and kept her arm in a powerful hold as she stumbled over her own feet…again.
"Thanks," she muttered, in a thick, dull voice. God, her head was throbbing...
"Hurry up, you two, before the whole lot of them comes round and we're all dead!" Moody growled in somewhat hushed tones, still peering down at them from branches far over her head, looking, for some reason, very pale. Kingsley gently nudged her, looking sympathetic.
"This is going to hurt, I'm afraid," he said shortly, but gave her a look of apology before he turned anxiously on his heel, dragging her along with him in a crack. The Apparition felt like another set of blows to her head, and her body screamed out fiercely. Then she landed uncomfortably in the hard, but undeniably solid tree. When she drew her eyes open with a shuddering gasp, there were two pairs of hands on her shoulders and back, keeping her seated in the tree. Blinking her watering eyes, she felt her stomach churning; her head was in a state of pure agony "Good Lord," she said in a small voice, her body weaving left and right as the tree branches swam rapidly before her eyes. Through her daze of hurt, she could barely see the slow, uneasy looks Kingsley and Moody exchanged, but recognized them anyhow.
"Let's see the damage, girl," Moody whispered roughly, but his gnarled hands were very gentle as he turned her round to face him. He studied her with an admittedly apprehensive expression, to which she wished for a snappy retort, but in all truth, her entire body felt very battered and so she didn't bother. After a moment, Mad-Eye raised two fingers to her face.
"How many can you see?" he asked gruffly. She snorted, having slipped one hand firmly against her forehead in a placating gesture, and gave him a disdainful look.
"You can't be serious," she told him scathingly, but nonetheless saw the underlying disquiet behind his rough demeanor. She pushed her head off her hand and stared at him, grudgingly. "Just two," she finally said.
"Good. Now follow them," he said, and moved his fingers to and fro in front of her face. She raised her eyes to his hand angrily, but quickly understood, with an all-too familiar stomach dropping, that her eyes couldn't focus on his movements at all.
"I can't," she muttered, biting back another groan. Moody blinked once, his magical eye still swiveling all around, and then he looked at her properly with both.
"We can cover for you," Kingsley told her seriously in his deep, unperturbed voice. "If one of us Side-Alongs you back to Grimmauld, then someone there can take you to Mungo's, unless you don't want to go straightaway…don't look at me like that, Tonks; you can't make the trip yourself." he added suddenly, looking at her with a stern frown.
"I can make it myself, thanks," she growled hoarsely. Tonks glared at him as well as she could, but kicked herself as she looked down from the tree again. It was a very long way to the ground indeed…now that I've traveled it personally, I can be sure, she reminded herself with a silent curse. Raising her face to the other two, she read Mad-Eye's expression quite clearly: his scowl was livid and frightening. When he spoke, it was through a snarl of indignant anger.
"Do you think this is a joking matter? The state you're in, you'll splinch yourself into a thousand parts along the countryside, or you'll end up in some godforsaken-!" When he reached the word "godforsaken", Tonks had already stiffened in the tree, and with a twist of her body, she Disapparated with a crack before Kingsley or Moody could say another word. Her last glimpse was of the fury on Alastor Moody's face; it spoke of a terrible wrath, and Tonks immediately realized her mistake. She had allowed her anger at herself and her mortification to drive her to an awful misjudgment.
Just as the familiar sensation had felt bad before, it had doubled in this second trip. For a moment, Tonks knew a shock of appalling pain as Apparition wrenched her through time and space; a terrible amount of pressure was building and suffocating her, and then it finally released...
Sprawling on her knees, her body crumpled and fell blind on the floor. Trembling uncontrollably, her fingers scrabbled to push herself off the ground but she only found crumbs...why were there crumbs on St. Mungo's marble queue floor? But in seconds, it no longer mattered, because the pain in her head was reaching a pinnacle of horrific accounts. Forcing her eyes open, Tonks hoisted herself off of the floor and retched in the flat of her kitchen, her stomach heaving and her head exploding. Behind her, there were thudding footfalls as a shout of alarm rang through the room. Recognition flared at the edge of conscious thought, because the voice was familiar; someone she loved was calling her that accursed first name. Relief flooded through, and then instantaneously, unconsciousness carried her back down to the dirty floor and turned everything to black.