"The Lone Wolf"
A/N: My next chapter fic, hopefully my best one to date. Unlike my last Remus/Tonks story, this one will be canon-compliant. What can I say, other than read and review! Reviews really do mean a lot to me, you guys. I assure you, you shall be rewarded handsomely for pushing that button at the bottom of each page. Enjoy!
SUMMARY: Ever since Tonks was six years old, she'd had recurring flashbacks and nightmares about the events of a terrible winter's night, and what almost happened to her. Now, sixteen years later, she finds herself strangely enchanted by a man, even though he's one of THEM and she knows pursuing him could cost her her life.
RATING: T-17 for swearing, sexuality, and angst galore.
"'Dromeda, if you insist on worrying so much, why don't we just spend the night with my sister?"
The brown-haired, clearly anxious woman pacing the living room floor in front of her husband stopped dead in her tracks. The December air was thick, cold, and tense with fear. The small, yet cozy room was illuminated by a single lamp. It was a little under two weeks until Christmas, yet not a single decoration could be found anywhere around the Tonks cottage, located on the border of a large forest about twenty or so miles from Surrey. There had been so much more on the minds of Ted and Andromeda Tonks that preparing for an early Christmas was simply out of the picture.
"We really shouldn't put Katherine in that danger. Even if she is a Muggle, that could only make it worse, and she doesn't deserve that."
Ted shrugged. "You really don't have much to worry about. Bellatrix is no match for the Aurors, under constant survelliance, along with most of them," he said, his voice a little shaken, but soft and calming all the same. But this didn't seem to help.
"You know my sisters, that won't stop them," Andromeda Tonks muttered before returning to her pacing. "She wants her vengeance. She, and Narcissa and that ruddy fiancé of hers, Lucius—"
"—why on earth would that woman send you a letter NOW of all times, claiming that the Black Family Tree 'needs pruning'?" Ted said, rolling his eyes and taking a sip out of his bottle of butterbeer. "It's been ten years since you were burned off the tapestry!"
"There must be some method to my sisters' madness," Andromeda moaned. She looked out the window at the dark sky, illuminated by the full moon. "Maybe the Weasleys will take us in for a few nights until the threat has passed over?"
"'Dromeda, I hardly think they would want added chaos, what with four boys at home, two of them infants!" Ted said.
"Well then, what would YOU suggest we do, then, Ted?" Andromeda snapped, whipping her head around angrily. A tuft of coarse brown hair fell in her face. Andromeda blew it away from her nose.
Andromeda shivered as she thought about the piece of parchment Narcissa's owl, Dante, had delivered three days ago. It was scrawled in Bellatrix' own handwriting. Andromeda knew what every word said, even though she would've rather kept the hateful paragraph out of her mind altogether.
Andromeda, You Blood Traitor,
The time has come. You will be extremely sorry you ever dared to abandon your family and marry a filthy mudblood, mark my words. And don't think this is just a threat. You are not my sister and I am not afraid of doing what I must do in the name of Black.
PS: I'd watch out for your freak mutant daughter as well, if I were you…
"But 'Dromeda, we've put every possible protective charm over the house, and twice as many shields over Nymphadora's bedroom!" Ted said. "I really think this isn't much to worry about. Bellatrix has always been a bit crackers. Why should this letter be any different than the last few?"
Andromeda looked upstairs in the direction of a small pink door plastered with drawings of Quidditch brooms and crude renderings of a brown-haired mother holding a pink-haired daughter. The door was hazy to her vision, as it was blocked by a protective shield that only the caster could penetrate.
Andromeda sighed. "Maybe we should get some rest, then," Andromeda said. Ted stood up and wrapped his thick arms around his wife. She buried her face in his shoulder.
"If anything does happen, we could grab Nymphadora and Apparate to the Burrow in a matter of seconds," Ted insisted. Andromeda nodded, only slightly relieved.
"It's close to midnight," Ted said. "And I have to be at work early tomorrow—"
Suddenly, a loud boom in the distance cut Ted off. It shook the house slightly, as if a small earthquake had hit from out of nowhere. It sounded suspiciously like the breaking of a protective shield as several wizards and witches Apparated as one within its bounds. The sound exploded in Andromeda's ears, and she pulled apart from Ted abruptly. She scrambled to the window to see what had happened to cause the boom. To her absolute horror, she saw a dozen or so hooded figures pointing their wands at the cottage.
"GET DOWN!" Ted hollered, yanking his wife out of the window and down to the floor as a fireball the size of a melon hit the roof directly above them, causing it to catch fire. Andromeda screamed.
Another scream, a somewhat fainter scream, came from upstairs. Andromeda gasped.
"Nymphadora!" Andromeda yelled. "I'm coming!"
"'Dromeda! Hurry!" Ted yelled in a panic. More of the fire blasts were hitting the house.
"Ted, Apparate to the Weasleys, and tell them to contact the Aurors and send them here as fast as you can! We don't have TIME! GO!" Andromeda instructed. Ted shook his head.
"Not with outyou and Dora—"
"—not time! Just DO IT!" Andromeda hollered in a panic. Ted had no other choice but to nod and Disapparate on the spot. Andromeda nodded and bounded up the stair. She flicked her wand at the shield in front of the pink doorway and made her way into the room.
It was hot. The flames were spreading quickly. A girl sat up in bed, keeping a tight grip on an orange tabby cat. Her hair, long and curly, was a sickly green, the color it always got when Nymphadora was frightened. She didn't cry, but she was clearly shaken up.
"Mummy!" she called as she saw her saving grace enter the room.
"Take my hand, Nymphadora, we need to go to the Burrow, where you'll be safe. Let go of the cat—"
"—not Jinx!" Nymphadora said, horrified. Her grip tightened on the mewling animal. Andromeda growled with fear and impatience.
"The cat cannot come! We'll buy you a new one! It's either you or Jinx!" Andromeda said, her hand still outstretched. Nymphadora looked sadly at the cat and kissed its' head goodbye.
But before Nymphadora could hop off the bed to reach her mother, a fireball hurled right at the room and struck the window in front of which Andromeda stood. Andromeda was knocked out cold as the window frame struck her in the head. Nymphadora screamed.
"Mummy! Daddy! Mummy, HELP!" But the fire had trapped her in her bed. The only chance she had now was to jump out the window. The leap wasn't far, but what the little girl was worried about was if the bad guys who were attacking her house and family were waiting for her in the yard.
"MUMMY!" Nymphadora yelled. She could see her mother's body stir from behind the wall of flames, and after a crack, the body was gone.
Nymphadora took a deep breath and tumbled out the window, landing in a big pile of wet snow. Shivering in her nightdress, Nymphadora quickly got to her feet. Her face felt like huge sunburn had spread over it, and both of her arms had burns as well. Her night gown was singed at the hem.
Suddenly, four big, scary, hooded people with wands held high, flames at the tips, emerged from the smoky screen that obscured much of the girl's vision. They eyed her and looked ready to kill.
Screaming, Nymphadora got to her feet (cold and barefoot) and yelled. She was only six and could not yet control her magic, but fortunately for her, her last scream and shiver produced a surge of some kind of force that knocked the four hooded men on their backs as it crashed over them like a wave, long enough for Nymphadora to make her getaway.
Having nowhere to go but deep into the woods, Nymphadora sprinted as far away as she could, changing her direction every few minutes, in case the hooded men planned to follow her footprints in the snow.
The full moon illuminated her path as she desperately looked in vain for any kind of safe cottage to take shelter in. Her Mum and Dad had gone to safety elsewhere, and she hoped they knew where she was when they came back for her. Her feet grew increasingly numb with the snow under her feet. Soon she wouldn't even be able to run. Then what? How much longer could she last?
Stopping to catch her breath and let out a few tears, Nymphadora looked around her, and back at the now bright orange dot that was her burning cottage. She could distantly hear the voice of a cruel-sounding woman.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" said the voice. Nymphadora wanted to run, but her feet were now frozen in place, at least for the moment.
Suddenly, Nymphadora heard a low grumble. No, not a grumble, a growl. Turning to face her left side, Nymphadora saw a large, maddened wolf eyeing her greedily. No, this was no wolf. It was a werewolf. Nymphadora knew who this was. Her mother had shown her pictures in case she ever needed to save herself from this beast. Nymphadora remembered her mother mentioning the name Fenrir Greyback to her. This had to be him. No other werewolves she knew of ran through these woods.
"Mr. Greyback? I don't want to hurt you," Nymphadora asked cautiously. The wolf only barked. Drool hung from its fat lips.
Nymphadora screamed and turned her back. Thankfully, she could run now. She could hear the werewolf begin to run after her, picking up speed as it did.
This wasn't good at all. Andromeda had told Nymphadora if she was ever bitten by a werewolf, she would become one too, and it would probably be the end of her life as she knew it. It would be a family tragedy. It meant she wouldn't be allowed to attend Hogwarts or to hold a job. This information ran through Nymphadora' head, and it made her dainty, frozen feet pick up speed.
Nevertheless, the werewolf was gaining speed. She turned her head to look at it. The wolf suddenly leapt at her. Screaming, Nymphadora froze in her tracks and ducked. The wolf had miscalculated its jump, and it flew right over her and landed a good three meters on the other side.
Now there was nowhere to run but back to the house, where all those hooded men waited to hurt her. It was either them or be bitten by Fenrir Greyback and become a monster like him.
"Please…please…" she cried, curling herself into a ball as the werewolf stalked closer, having won its meal.
A bright white flash and a loud cracking sound startled the werewolf. Nymphadora didn't look up.
"Get off her, you mangy mutt! Back!" said a loud, gruff voice Nymphadora had never heard before.
A few noises that sounded like sparks firing out of a wand, a canine's whine, and the sound of paws scampering the other way followed, and Nymphadora judged it was safe to look up.
But what she saw…or rather, WHO she saw, towering above her did not please her any more. It was a tall, gruff man with a large walking cane, and an eye that was electric blue and spun madly around of its own accord, scowled down at her. He looked like he could've been a giant. And he didn't look very nice, either.
"Nymphadora," he muttered under his breath. She screamed and bounded to her feet, ready to run again. But this time, the man grabbed her before she could speed off.
"Easy! I'm not a Death Eater! Your Dad sent me here to fetch you!" the crazy-eyes man said, struggling to hold on to her. He had her by the waist, and no matter how hard she kicked, Nymphadora could not escape. "I'm saving you..WILL YOU STOP KICKING!"
Nymphadora did as she was told. "Who ARE you?" she asked cautiously.
"Alastor Moody," was the reply. "Now hold on tight. We're off to the Burrow where your Mum and Dad are waiting for you."
Just before Nymphadora saw the woods spin away from her, she caught one last glimpse of those two vicious, hungry, rabid eyes, staring her down, seemingly promising that the battle was over, but the war was far from won.