"To See A Thestral"
A/N: I am hereby putting "Mud is Thicker Than Water" on hiatus for the time being…might pick it up when I feel I have another idea for it. Until then, I bring you this one! It's an AU post-Deathly Hallows, centering on Andromeda and Nymphadora Tonks (Tonks, in this AU, survives the Battle of Hogwarts, but Remus does not). I'm hoping this story can be a longer one like my 'Sisters Black" story. Hope you like!
SUMMARY: A mother and daughter, both widowed by the Second War, would go to great lengths to see their husbands one last time. When this opportunity is given to them, will they take it? Can they learn to open their hearts again? And what will they find on their journey to the Borderland, where those on both sides of the veil can reunite?
Rating- T-16 for tragedy, angst, swearing, and possible future sexuality.
Usually, the beginning of an adventure story happens one of two ways: the first way has the world totally at peace before something disrupts it. The other beginning has something terribly wrong happen right off the bat. Sadly, for Nymphadora Tonks' story, it had to be the latter. And it certainly was a terrible beginning. The least she could have asked for was a little soothing peace before having the universe turn against her.
Fighting courageously in the depths of Hogwarts' School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Tonks, alongside her husband of just under a year, Remus Lupin, were experiencing a lull in the fighting. Where had Dolohov gotten to? Remus had been having a terrible time trying to duel this monster Death Eater, and Tonks, luckily, had found him (although she wasn't even supposed to be at the Battle at all), and managed to fight him off, from the looks of it. After a joint round of 'stupefy!' Remus and Tonks stood back to back, wands at the ready. Tonks' hair was currently a bright red, seemingly fitting her warrior-mood quite perfectly.
"Where'd he go? His body isn't where we left it!" Tonks whispered. She felt Remus grab her free hand with his and squeeze it out iof fear.
"He's Disapparated , and he'll Apparate back and try to take us by surprise," Remus warned. "He did this in the Department of Mysteries, too. It's his favorite method of dueling," he informed his battle partner.
"Should we Disapparate too?" asked Tonks. She felt Remus' hand grip tighter on hers (luckily her left hand was her wand hand), and she even felt Remus fiddling with his wedding ring on his own hand…seemingly loosening it.
"No…" Remus answered. "All we do is wait."
With some rather skillful work with his one hand, Remus managed to take off his wedding ring and slip it over Tonks' ring finger, so both rings sat one on top of the other on her finger.
"Remus, what are you doing?" Tonks asked, a bit of nervousness trembling in her voice.
"Safe keeping," Remus answered.
"No," Tonks said back, barking rather loudly (more than she wanted to). "No, no need." She tried to shake the ring off, but, unlike Remus, she wasn't as skilled with her free hand as he. "We're going to make it out of this alive, both of us. And Little Teddy will be waiting for us…"
"Just in case," Remus assured. "You never know when and where he might land, and what curse he'll deal first. But he wants me, Tonks. He won't try and hurt you first."
Tonks bit her lip to keep it from shaking even more. Remus felt his own grip tighten as Tonks constricted her fingers so they were stiff as stone.
"He won't hurt you either," Tonks said back. "I'll make sure of it!" Tonks tried to have a little courage for her mate. His hand was cold against hers.
"I trust you with my life," Remus said back, not an ounce of fear coming from his throat.
"A…are you afraid?" Tonks asked.
"Yes. Very much. Afraid for you, and your mother, and Teddy. You need to be the one to get back to them safely when I…"
"I meant…are you afraid for yourself?" Tonks said. She wanted to stop Remus before he started writing down his will. Was he this sure that Dolohov was going to get him?
"No. With you here with me, I'm not afraid at all. Like I said, I trust you, Dora."
Tonks felt her heart speed him, as it always did when Remus spoke sweetly to her. But he was still talking like he was lying on his deathbed, and Tonks hated it.
"If you die, I swear to Merlin I refuse to love again," Tonks whispered. Remus grunted.
"Please don't talk that way. You're only making it worse—"
Suddenly, a loud echoed through the empty room, and Tonks nearly jumped 10 feet in the air when she saw Dolohov materialize right in front of her. Tonks practically screamed her first curse.
Dolohov, with his sinister smile and long face, managed to easily block the curse, and the shield, so strong and powerful, actually reflected the curse back on its' caster., taking her completely by surprise. Tonks felt her body fly sideways. She landed behind a stone column. Though unconscious, she could still heard what was going on…at least for a moment...
"NYMPHADORA!" shrieked Remus, sounding terrified. "Dolohov, your battle is with me and me alone!"
"As you wish, werewolf!" said the deep, dull voice belonging to Remus' opponent. The cracks and bangs of curses flying around the room followed immediately after.
That was when Tonks lost her hearing, and fell completely numb to the world around her, thanks to the curse.
In her hazy consciousness, now thankfully returning, Tonks began to feel like a body again. Though she was completely at a loss for time. She turned her head, still too weak to pick herself up. It was still black dark out the window…it was still night. The next thing that struck Tonks was the fact that her ears felt hollow. No more curses. Was the Battle over? Or was it stalemated? What was going on.
Tonks felt warmth begin to cascade over her body, and with it came the strength she needed to get to her feet again. Remus needed her if the Battle was still occurring. She slowly got to her feet and felt her wand still in her hand. A little dazed, the first few steps she took was as unbalanced as if the floor of the room was on an angle. Once her balance came back, she looked around. The room was deserted and empty. The fact that there were no bodies on the floor was a good sign. Tonks cautiously crept out of the room and up the stairs that led out of the basement. The first person she saw was Neville Longbottom, awkwardly carrying the deceased body of a small House-Elf.
"Neville!" Tonks called. Neville seemed a little shocked by her presence before looking down at his feet as he walked. Tonks scampered as fast as she could with a still-fairly-weak body to catch up to the lad. "Why is the fighting over?"
"It's not," said Neville. "He's given us an hour to surrender Harry," he informed.
"I hope he hasn't turned himself in," Tonks said. Neville shook his head.
"I think he has. I last saw him headed for the forest. He said he wasn't surrendering himself, but I think he's going to try and duke it out with…with HIM…once and for all, one-on-one. He told me about Nagini and how she's got to go too, but I think she's with her master in the forest, waiting for Harry."
"Oh goodness," Tonks muttered, delicately touching the small body of the fallen House-Elf Neville was carrying. She walked along the corridor with Neville towards the Great Hall. "Listen, Neville, I was knocked out downstairs during all of this, damn Dolohov…" Tonks rubbed her temple. Her head was beginning to pound lightly, as if her brain had a pulse of its' own. "…and I was wondering, have you seen Remus?"
Neville didn't answer her. "Neville? Remus?" Tonks asked again.
Neville looked down at his feet and blinked. "He's…he's in the Great Hall," was all Neville said. Tonks sighed with relief and, finding newfound strength within her, leapt forward and dashed excitedly towards the Great Hall. Her Remus was there, waiting for her!
Turning this way and that, Tonks hurled herself into the Great Hall, much to the surprise of Molly Weasley, who was with her daughter Ginny, cleaning a wound Ginny had received to her left cheek. Molly's own cheeks were somewhat tearstained.
"Tonks!" Ginny said, a rather sad tone to her voice. Tonks ran up to the two women, smiling like a buffoon.
"I was told Remus was waiting for me in here!" Tonks said. Suddenly, her eyes caught sight of a mass of dead bodies, lying in perfect rows around the edge of the Hall. Molly, Tonks, and Ginny were standing right over the body of their own family member, Fred, who almost looked like he'd died laughing. He'd not been killed by a curse. His body was too torn up for it. Perhaps something had fallen on him?
"Fred! Oh no!!" she said, out of surprise. Now she REALLY wanted to find her husband…
Molly looked awkwardly at Tonks, whose expression had changed direly. "Tonks? You…you haven't heard…?"
Tonks went completely white, surveying the bodies, who were all faceless. She somehow knew now.
"He's…he's among THEM, isn't he?" Tonks said, a new kind of shakiness hit her voice. She lifted her wand and used it to point at the bodies on the floor. She looked up to Molly and Ginny. Molly nodded her head and bit her lip, holding back more tears.
"He died nobly, Tonks," Molly informed. "You were knocked out, and Dolohov was going to kill you while you were already immobile, and Remus stepped in between you and the curse. Dolohov didn't bother to do away with you after that."
Tonks felt her headache get worse and her body burst into flames as if she'd gotten a fever. Ginny noted that her hair had gone from fiery red to nearly black, completely skipping over the mousy brown it usually got when she was sad, and it grew out several inches, nearly hitting her shoulder.
Molly continued, her struggle against her tears getting harder and harder to control. "He died for you, Tonks. He's just over here," Molly said, stepping aside. Only a few bodies down from Fred, lied Remus, his face relaxed and serene, his eyes closed lightly. His body wasn't scarred any worse than it was when he and Tonks were standing back-to-back while dueling Dolohov.
Tonks didn't cry. Her face was blank. Her hair grew out a little more, so it went well past her shoulder blades. Her lip didn't shake anymore. She calmly walked past the two Weasley women until she got to the body of her husband. Ginny remarked how Tonks' hair never stopped growing. The dark and messy hair made Tonks look every inch the part of widow.
Tonks lightly kicked the sole of Remus' shoe. Remus moved slightly, but not of his own will. Tonks, still blank-faced kneeled down beside him, and then she moved to a lying position, moving Remus' body so that his arm went around her shoulder. She took his other hand in hers and laid her head on his immobile chest. Molly wanted to burst out crying, but held back, for the sake of her daughter, who'd just lost a brother herself and wasn't doing too well.
Tonks snuggled close to Remus' corpse and closed her eyes, a single tear running down the side of her face. "Remus, it's almost time to wake up, so don't stay asleep too long…" she finally muttered.
Molly bit her lip and leaned down to Ginny. "If you can, send an owl to her mother and tell her to bring her grandson with her, quickly!"
Ginny took one look at Fred, and another at Tonks, who was nestled in her dead mate's arm still, her hair growing ever longer, and ran out of the Hall.
By the time Ginny got back, Tonks' hair was down past her feet.