As a Member of the Order
Grimmauld Place, London was a dismal place; weeds grew up over the cracked sidewalk, and overflowing garbage bins lined the streets in front of closely packed apartment buildings. It was also a Muggle residence, just to add to the dimness of it all.
All was quiet. Suddenly, a woman appeared out of thin air with a slight pop. She staggered a bit, as she had landed on the very tip of the curb. Regaining her balance, she fished in her pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. She stared at the paper for a minute or two, then crumpled it up and threw it in the nearest garbage bin, being careful to push it into the depths of the trash a little ways, then pulled out a curious stick of wood, with which she ignited the pile of garbage, let the fire sink deep, then just as quickly as she lit it all up, she put it out.
The young woman swept the bangs of her otherwise short, spiky, pink hair out of her eyes and began to briskly walk along the sidewalk. She stopped between apartments 11 and 13, closed her eyes, and waited. A moment later she made a movement as if she were opening a door, and disappeared.
Nymphadora Tonks closed the door quietly behind her, looking around in disgust at her surroundings. A long black corridor led to a pair of descending stairs, while all along the wall, there were massive moth-eaten curtains, stretching from the ceiling all the way to the floor, and lanterns hanging in between, emitting a weird, bluish light. Nymphadora shuddered at the un-welcoming feeling of the hall. She began to proceed down the corridor, pausing only to run her fingers across the wall, picking up nearly an inch of dust. This lack of household keeping did not help her sense of foreboding with every step she took.
She reached the stairs, not meeting a single soul along the way. Her brow furrowed, she entered a dingy kitchen, equally dark and dusty, again not finding anyone. Tonks seriously wondered whether she had stepped into a house of the deceased, and that only ghosts would answer her call. Nevertheless, she drew in a deep breath, and in her frustration, cried at the ceiling, "Hello? Why isn't anyone waiting to see me?!"
"Nymphadora!" said a surprised voice right behind her. She whirled around to find her cousin, Sirius Black, standing in the doorway, grinning, "No need to wake the entire neighborhood."
Tonks stiffened, and glared at Sirius, "Don't call me by that name. Just because this is about the second time I've ever seen you in my life, doesn't mean you can call me by Nymphadora," her bright blue eyes flashed in his direction, but Sirius just let out his usual bark-like laugh, and gestured for her to sit down.
"Well, we shouldn't start off on bad terms like that already," he said briskly, and plopped into a chair across from a still fuming Tonks. "I see you're here to join the Order?"
Tonks nodded, crossing her arms, "Technically, I'm already joined. I became a member when I went to see Dumbledore. I'm just here to meet everybody."
"Ah," said Sirius, "So Kingsley let you in on it?"
"Yeah. He knew I never liked Umbridge or Voldemort, and hated writing about the whereabouts on you, of course, so he dropped by my cubicle the other day to tell me about it," Tonks heaved a great sigh, "I can't believe he's really back."
They sat in silence for a little while, each wishing silently that what Dumbledore had said about Harry Potter seeing Voldemort come back was all a well rehearsed lie. But the reason that the Order of the Phoenix was meeting again was because the Minister was refusing to believe Voldemort was back, so she couldn't disbelieve or she had better leave right now.
Tonks stiffened, realization pouring over her. They were alone, the Order, there was no might of the Ministry behind them, only Dumbledore's perseverance. Would that be enough? Will they all make it through? She shuddered, and looked at Sirius, who was eyeing her with concern.
Averting her eyes from his, she blocked out the disturbing images popping into her head of dead bodies of the Order, being flung carelessly into a pile by a laughing Lord Voldemort, and hastily struck up a conversation.
"So…are there any Order members already here that I could meet?" she asked Sirius. He nodded.
"Yeah…Hestia Jones and Remus Lupin are both upstairs. Here…" Sirius got up and left the room, leaving Tonks quite alone again. As she summoned up a butterbeer from the kitchen, she began to think of Harry Potter. Poor guy, she thought. All this weight on his shoulders; the boy who lived, the 15 year old who is destined to defeat the greatest wizard of all time. It sounded impossible. But, she was on his side. She'd help as much as possible. And it'll all start when selected Order members get to rescue him from the house of the Dursley's.
"Dunno where Hestia is, but…" came Sirius's voice in the doorway. Tonks turned in her seat to see Sirius come in with a middle-aged man at his heels. She supposed this was Remus Lupin. She jumped up to greet him.
"Hey, I'm Nymphadora Tonks! You must be Remus." she said, extending a hand. Remus took it and said politely, "Why, yes I am. Pleased to meet you, Nymphadora."
Tonks grimaced. "Oh, yeah. I hate the name Nymphadora, so you can call me Tonks instead." Remus nodded, smiling. She released his hand, just to snatch it again looking horrified.
"What did you do to your hand?" she asked. His hand bore deep scratches all along the back. Most of them were healed, and were only scars. Remus shied away from her, looking ashamed. This odd action made Tonks very curious. Taking a closer look at his face, she noticed streaks of gray hair taking place of the light brown, and scars crossing over the bridge of his nose, and along his left cheek.
"I'm sorry, but it looks like you've been mauled or something," she said, her eyes filled with worry and sympathy. Sirius was looking very uncomfortable.
"No…actually—" he began, but Remus Lupin looked at him, mortified, and he fell back into silence. Remus turned to Tonks, who was standing there with her hands on her hips, and cleared his throat.
"It's nothing. I'm okay," he muttered, and without another word, he left the room. Tonks stared after him, her left eyebrow creeping up her forehead.
"Fine, leave me in the shadows," she said to herself, but decided to push the matter from her head. But before she could start up a new conversation with a still restless Sirius, the clanking of chains could be heard, and a lock clicked open. The front door opened gently, and three cloaked men slipped inside, talking amongst themselves quietly. As they moved into the light, Tonks saw Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Auror who told her about the Order at the Ministry, talking hurriedly to the most curious looking man. He stooped over as he limped on a wooden leg with a claw for a foot. Tonks recoiled slightly, seeing that his face bore worse scrapes, cuts, and scars than Remus Lupin had. A chunk of his nose seemed to be missing, and while one of his eyes was small and black, the other was large and electric blue, and kept whizzing in its socket sickeningly.
The third man walked silently behind them, wearing dark blue robes and wearing horn-rimmed glasses. His receding red hair told Tonks that this was none other than the father of the largest blood traitor family in the country, Arthur Weasley.
Kingsley noticed Tonks watching them as they made their way down the hall, and smiled widely.
"I see you took my invitation, Tonks," he said in his deep voice, "Welcome to the Order."
The man he had been talking to looked at Tonks, his great magical eye taking in her appearance, suspicious. No doubt he thought she was out of the ordinary, with a heart-shaped face, bright blue eyes, and shocking pink hair. Not that he should be talking. Thought Tonks, smirking.
Kingsley turned to the man and said, "Alastor, this is Nymphadora Tonks, an Auror. She qualified a year ago." Alastor nodded appreciatively.
"Good evening, Nymphadora," he said, not bothering to hold out a hand in greeting.
"And Tonks, this is Alastor Moody, or Mad-Eye, as most of us call him," said Kingsley, chuckling slightly. Tonks jumped. This was Alastor Moody; the Auror most appreciated and remembered amongst the Auror trainers? He had retired nearly 10 years ago, but still came to the Ministry to help, although Tonks had never seen him. Kingsley turned to Mr. Weasley.
"I'm guessing you know Tonks?" he asked him. Mr. Weasley smiled.
"Of course," he said, shaking Tonks's hand, "I'm pleased to see you will be able to help us."
The men and Tonks filed into the kitchen. Sirius was still sitting at the table, and they all sat down around him.
"The meeting should start in about 15 minutes," said Kingsley, checking his Muggle watch. "Sirius, Elphias Doge will not be coming tonight, the Minister is requiring his services for a couple hours, and obviously Hagrid will not be coming either—"
Sirius nodded, looking concerned, "Do you know where Hestia is? I only just saw her this morning, then I lost sight of her."
Kingsley glanced at Moody, who answered straightaway, "Urgent message from her boss in the department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, apparently."
"Oh, she works in that area?" asked Tonks interestedly. Mr. Weasley shook his head.
"No, it's only a temporary job. They're needing more people on the job, obviously, with the Death Eaters screwing up everything in their reach, so she volunteered to help."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, waiting for the other Order members to arrive. Sirius had left again to get Remus, so all Tonks did to amuse herself was absentmindedly scarring her hands up to look like Remus's.
The front door opened and closed again and Hestia Jones ran into the kitchen, windswept and out of breath. She plopped down next to Sirius, apologizing for leaving without a word about where she had gone.
"Who are you?" she asked pointedly to Tonks, who hastened to introduce herself to the woman.
"I'm new here; Nymphadora Tonks. Or Tonks. I don't like my first name, so don't use it. Please," she said, quickly fading her scars on her hand before shaking Hestia's.
Just minutes later, two men and one woman entered the kitchen, all with flaming red hair and Professor Dumbledore right behind them. Tonks was introduced to Bill Weasley, a handsome young man with long red hair tied up in a ponytail, Charlie Weasley, a burly man whose occupation was rounding up dragons, and Mrs. Weasley, the mother of Bill and Charlie, with a strict glance but a nice smile.
Remus and Sirius reappeared and sat down quickly when they saw that Dumbledore had arrived. Tonks could tell that Remus was avoiding looking her way, although it was hard, as Dumbledore had decided to sit right next to her.
Finally, twelve members had arrived, the newest one consisting of Dedalus Diggle, and the meeting started.
Dumbledore stood up, gesturing for silence. "Good evening," he said calmly, "In a few days time, we shall be rescuing Harry from his prison in the Dursley's home. We need to plan this attempt accordingly, so that it will run smoothly, and without risk of siege from Death Eaters."
Dumbledore paused, and addressed Tonks, "As our most recently joined Order member, we will make sure you have a task in this plan, so to keep you on your feet, and in the action."
Tonks grinned, and sat up straighter in her chair. "I'd love to see Harry, Professor, if I could be one of the rescuers—"
"You must not realize the danger we'll be in keeping Potter safe, Nymphadora," Mad-Eye Moody replied gruffly, "Putting you in such a position immediately after you've joined, to me, deems—"
Tonks' hair turned a furious flaming orange, to the surprise of many of the onlookers, as her temper rose. "I'm in danger, you say? In case you'd forgotten, I'm a qualified Auror, and have been trained to do stuff like this!"
She fumed at Moody, who had not so much as raised an eyebrow at her nasty attitude. Dumbledore cleared his throat loudly.
"Alastor, bringing Harry here to Grimmauld Place will be quite a bit less dangerous than most of the things we shall do. If Tonks is up to this task, then she shall do it."
Tonks sat back into her chair, content, and her hair changed back to spiky pink.
"So you're a Metamorphmagus?" a voice asked to her right. Remus Lupin was looking at her, impressed. Tonks nodded brightly, "Yeah, I can literally change anything on my body, but it's been sort of hard changing genders when you don't know what—"
"So, with her being a Metamorphmagus," Remus continued, cutting across Tonks, "she'd be very good undercover. And that's what we need."
Dumbledore nodded, "Not at the moment; soon, yes, but we must remember that she has be able to attend work without sudden suspicious disappearances. That goes for most of you," he indicated Mr. Weasley, Bill, Charlie, Kingsley, and Hestia, "you shall remember that all of you took an oath not to give away the Order to anyone, unless my acceptance permits you. Now that the Ministry is giving false senses of security to people all over the country, it is our job to keep them safe from the real danger. It will surely be the end of the Order if the Ministry found out. You will keep us safe, will you not?"
He looked inquiringly at the members sitting around him. Every single person watched him silently, determinedly. Finally, Remus spoke,
"Of course. Harry needs us, and we him," and Hestia Jones, from the end the table, shook a fist earnestly, "Hear, hear."
"That brings us back to the beginning issue," said Bill suddenly, leaning forward in his chair, "how are going to rescue Harry? We can never be sure where Voldemort puts his spies…"
The Order members began to mutter among themselves, figuring out different ways of how to keep undercover while rescuing Harry from the Dursleys. Tonks set her mind to work, but it stubbornly kept blank, no matter how hard she thought of an idea. Unless…
"Hey," she said, and everyone looked up at her, "Maybe we should think about getting the Dursley's out of the house, so it will be quicker and easier to get Harry, then having to stand their confusion."
Sirius nodded a bit impatiently, "Well, yes, that's an obvious thought. But have you got any ideas how?"
"Of course," said Tonks, "Or I wouldn't have said anything would I have? I think I should probably write a letter to the Dursleys, by Muggle post obviously, telling them…oh, I dunno, that they've won some All England Grand Prize or other…to get them out of the house, and far enough away, so that we're gone when they realize that the Grand Prize thing doesn't exist."
The heads of the members bobbed appreciatively at her idea. Mad-Eye gave her an apathetic glance from his normal eye.
"If Nymphadora's plan is accepted," he said, "then we should act as quickly as possible. When the Dursley's leave the house…let's say at noon…then a group of us should bodyguard Harry as we travel back here. We'll use brooms as the best way to stay undercover. And yes, I think we should take him straight here," he added, " there is no point taking him to the Burrow. No one will be there. This is the safest place for him so far."
Dumbledore inclined his head towards Tonks. "Will you do the honors as to mail the letter of invitation to the Dursley's? After all, it was your idea."
Tonks nodded vigorously, "I'd be delighted! When should I start?"