Note: I hope I got the timeline right! Thanks to those who have been reviewing!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, blah blah blah...
7: Farewells and Greetings
Yet another knock at the door saw Remus stand up so abruptly that Tonks struggled not to topple off her chair. The professor had thrown himself back into his chair and was looking distinctly sheepish by the time the door opened. Professor Dumbledore entered, and greeted the pair brightly.
"How did you know who I..." Tonks left her question unfinished as the Headmaster reached the desk and picked up the time turner, clearly he knew exactly what had happened. "Oh." Tonks mumbled, suddenly nervous. He had to be the Dumbledore from her own time. How many months worth of detentions was all of this worth? She might even be expelled...
But Dumbledore seemed to have little interest in her, instead he had pocketed the time turner and was now beaming in delight.
"I always knew I'd get you here eventually." He was saying, as Remus smiled uncertainly back. How odd it was to be talking to somebody whose older self was probably sitting up in his office, perfectly aware that this was happening for it was one of his memories.
"He's a good teacher." Tonks interjected, keen to keep the topic far from herself.
"Well, we mustn't
keep Professor Lupin," Dumbledore decided, still beaming. "Come
along, Miss Tonks."
As she got to her feet Tonks wondered what she ought to say in farewell, she had expected Dumbledore to be less hurried. Nothing came to mind as she watched Remus rise from his chair and shake Dumbledore's hand, exchanging some brief words she paid no attention to. All too soon Dumbledore was out the door, holding it open for her to follow.
Think fast, Tonks, she silently demanded, yet still no words came to mind. Instead she took a step towards Remus and once again threw her arms around him. She felt him tense, clearly embarrassed but she was glad to find he did eventually put his arms around her and pat her back gently, a simple, friendly, and definitely still uncertain gesture.
Tonks caught one last glimpse of him, staring at her with a small smile upon his lips, as she followed Dumbledore out of the office. She wandered along behind the Headmaster in a haze of thoughts and was hardly aware of him drawing two time turners from his pocket, the one she had used and a plainer silver one, picking one out to use and drawing a cord around the pair of them. As the corridor tumbled and spun around her Tonks was jerked from her thoughts and she found herself back in her own time.
It had been a year and a half since a teenage metamorphmagus from the past had turned up in Remus Lupin's Defense Against The Dark Arts class, and much had changed since then. For one thing, Remus no longer held the position of Defense professor. That had been a short lived success, but Remus dwelt on it very little now, for there were more pressing things to ponder. Lord Voldemort had returned to power, and the Order of the Phoenix had reformed, ready to resist him at all costs. Many members from the original Order, including Remus, had volunteered once again, and some newcomers had also been recruited. Sirius Black, proven innocent to his friends and hiding from the Ministry's Aurors, (ironically some of whom were Order members and were indeed helping him to hide), was particularly excited about the newcomers. One in particular in fact, for, he told his fellow Marauder, she was a relation of his. In contrast, Remus wished she, whoever she was, had never volunteered at all. If she hadn't he wouldn't need to put up with Sirius' constant babbling about how great it was going to be to see her when she turned up for the Order's next meeting. Mad-Eye Moody had too expressed his pleasure, for she was, he claimed "a damn fine Auror!" Kingsley Shacklebolt had nodded his agreement, and that was as far as the two Aurors had gone. But Sirius! He just would not be quiet!
And so Remus found himself resenting her before he even knew her name. Funny, he thought, that Sirius should speak of her so much, and yet never mention her name. On the evening of the meeting Remus found himself reading in the drawing room, unable to sit in the kitchen with Sirius' constant speech a moment longer. It was peaceful sitting there on his own, that was until the silence was disturbed by a commotion downstairs. It began with a loud crash from the hallway, which lead to the screeching complaints of Wulburga Black's portrait.
"Filth!" She shrieked hysterically. "Scum! Shape-shifting freak, bloody traitors...!!"
Strange, Remus thought vaguely as he turned a page in his book. Usually she reserved "shape-shifting freak" especially for him. He couldn't say he felt any great loss, however, so he kept on reading.
The barrage of insults were suddenly cut short and footsteps were heard on the stairs.
"Merlin, I'm sorry about that...so clumsy..." A female voice said.
"Ah, it's fine. You can do whatever you like to that umbrella stand, I think it's hideous." Sirius' voice also drifted up the stairs. "Just forget it, eh? Anyway, you gotta come meet Moony, I've told him all about you!"
And then the door opened and Remus was forced to abandon his reading and look up.
There stood Sirius, looking alarmingly cheerful, and behind him a young woman with bright bubblegum pink hair. Remus couldn't help but stare, for if he were honest he would have to admit that she was perhaps the most fascinating person he had ever laid eyes upon. She wore a bright purple Weird Sisters t-shirt which, he couldn't help but notice, stopped short of her waist exposing a good amount of flesh. She wore faded blue jeans which somehow seemed brighter for being worn by her, and the red robes of the Ministry Auror Division. Her shoes, he noted, were a dazzling shade of green. Despite such a mix of colors which were quite likely to blind somebody in bright daylight, Remus thought she was simply beautiful. He stared at her, and she stared back with dark eyes which, he failed to notice, widened in surprise at the sight of him.
"Moony, this is T..."
"Dora." She interrupted, striding forward and sticking her hand out in front of him.
Remus stood up, not comfortable with having her bare midriff directly at his eye level, and shook her hand. Before his thoughts had completely cleared he asked,
She smiled, and her grip on his hand suddenly tightened.
"Just Dora." She replied, smile broadening as he regained the ability to think clearly and his astonishment registered on his face. The shock rendered him speechless and the pair simply stood staring at one another, still shaking hands. Eventually Remus managed to find his voice.
"You're...taller." He decided rather lamely, hand going limp in hers in embarrassment.
"I am." She agreed quietly, still not over her own surprise.
"You met already?" Sirius asked, sounding almost disappointed. "You never told me, Moony mate!"
"You failed to mention her name." Remus reminded him, recovered at last. He quickly released Tonks' hand after noting they had been shaking hands for a very long time. "You're an Auror." He observed, ignoring her blush as she too registered the length of their hand shake.
"Told you so!" She grinned, clearly just as proud as she had been when she had informed him of her plans.
"I didn't doubt you."
"I didn't doubt you either." She said in a whisper.
Remus found that now she was grown up Tonks' compliments and confidence in him was no longer simply endearing. His brain twisted it into something much more. Thirteen year old girls were sweet, but twenty-two year old women were...
He cleared his throat meaningfully and looked over at Sirius who was observing them with interest. He was about to attempt conversation when Tonks also turned her attention to the Azkaban escapee.
"Sirius, won't you go tell Mad-Eye I'm here?" She fluttered her eyelids dramatically, adding, "pretty please?!"
With a sigh Sirius nodded and before Remus could say a word he had swaggered out of the room, closing the door behind him. As soon as the door had closed Tonks let out a high pitched squeak of excitement and, as if they were standing awkwardly in his old office once more, threw her arms around him, her grip a fierce one.
"I can't believe it!" She squealed, as Remus found himself deeply embarrassed but secretly pleased. "I didn't believe it! I...Merlin! I didn't think I'd ever see you again!" She seemed to somber a little as it crossed her mind that she was perhaps being a little too friendly. Their meeting before had been brief after all. She stepped back from him, catching her bottom lip between her teeth as she stared to gage his reaction. However she found his face unreadable as he looked back at her. "I'm sorry..." She mumbled as she clasped her hands together feeling awkward. "I'm being...well..." Her voice drifted off into silence. To her relief a smile crept onto his face and he simply said:
"Would you like a cup of tea, Just Dora?"
And before she could give him an answer he laughed, a deep hearty laugh that appeared to be contagious for Tonks laughed too.
"Come on then," Remus said once he had recovered slightly, his voice brimming with enthusiasm which she was sure he often lacked, but which clearly made him come alive. With that he began to make his way towards the door, catching hold of her arm as he went in order to guide her downstairs to the kitchen, and the kettle.
They retreated with their steaming hot drinks back up to the drawing room where there was no Sirius to eavesdrop and no Mad-Eye to give lectures on Constant Vigilance and other equally melodramatic subjects. As they sat side by side on the faded sofa Tonks sat remembering their first meeting.
"Merlin, I must have scared the life out of you!" She exclaimed with a chuckle.
"At the time," Remus agreed, running his finger around the rim of his cup thoughtfully. "But I was bound to be found out eventually...I was found out eventually."
"I read about that in the Prophet." Tonks told him quietly, and she laid a comforting hand on his arm. Used to how forward she was by now Remus did not feel awkward in the slightest and allowed himself to feel touched at the gesture. Still he couldn't help but think it strange that somebody he knew so little had so much concern for him. It was much harder to simply accept this time round, he mused.
"Dora?" He ventured quietly, setting his cup and saucer on the coffee table in front of them.
"Why...why do you..." He swallowed hard and tried to construct a proper answer.
"You're wondering just why I am friendly with you, why I chose to sit in your lesson that time, and why I'm choosing to sit with you here right now." She said knowingly, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Remus couldn't help but feel uneasy at her ability to read him like a book. As a rule, nobody managed to read Remus like that, even Sirius struggled at times.
Tonks slurped on her tea, oblivious to her achievement. After draining her cup and setting it down next to his on the table she turned in the chair to face him, a deadly serious expression on her face.
"You, Remus Lupin, are a nice person." She stated slowly, as if he might not quite understand. "I like you."
Her explanation was so very simple that Remus felt foolish. Clearly she was toying with him. He stared at her blankly. Tonks sighed dramatically and rolled her eyes.
"Is that really so hard to believe?" She asked miffed, folding her arms across her chest.
His silence indicated that yes, it was indeed impossible.
"I have to prove it." She decided, not bothering to make it a question. "Alright, I will!"
And to his complete and utter astonishment she leaned over and kissed him firmly on the lips.
He had perhaps began to come round to the idea that she liked him, but certainly not like that...
Remus blinked several times and looked up to find Tonks staring at him, not a trace of humor on her face.
Could it be possible that she was actually being serious? Surely not!
To his alarm she leaned forward once again, but this time she did not kiss him, she paused mere inches away from him.
"I saw you in Dumbledore's office," She explained in a whisper. "And I thought it an absolute crime that you should feel the way you do about yourself. I had to go into your class and try to show you how wrong you are. I knew there wasn't a nicer person alive, but you didn't. I had to tell you. I like you, Remus. I like you a lot."
With this all made crystal clear she leaned forward a little further and kissed him once again, decidedly shyer the second time round, but he didn't notice because he was all too keen to believe her, for now at least, and so he kissed her back. After all, he certainly liked her too.