Wanderings with Werewolves
Chapter 10 – Autographs and Adieus
Tonks had been in the middle of a rather odd yet lovely dream (involving doing the groceries and purchasing a life-sized chocolate Remus from the candy aisle), when a rasping voice in her ear slowly brought her back to consciousness.
"Tonks… Tonks, luv, it's time to get up."
She only shut her eyes tighter, burrowing deeper into her pillow. "Mmm… Noooo…"
An amused chuckle reached her ears, followed by Remus telling her firmly, yet apologetically, "I'm sorry Tonks, but we should get out of bed."
"Oh, do we have to?" she groaned, finally rolling over and opening her eyes. The sight that greeted her was certainly a pleasant one; the normally put together Professor Lupin was looking adorably dishevelled as he gazed down at her, propped up on an elbow beside her in her bed. Now, how was it fair that he could look so scrumptious after just waking up, when she no doubt looked scarier than a Hungarian Horntail defending her young?
He must not have thought she looked too bad, however, because he shot her an adoring grin before saying, "I'm afraid so, yes. We both have duties to see to."
The disappointment in his tone at those words did wonders for her ego, but sadly still couldn't do much for her usual coherency (or lack thereof) in the mornings. All Tonks could come up with was, "Bah. No fair!"
"Yes, I agree – it's supremely unfair that such trifling things like our jobs have to get in the way of us staying in bed all day," he sighed dramatically.
"It is unfair," she pouted, pulling the blankets up to her chin as if they could protect her from the rest of the world. "I've been spoiled these last few weeks, you know, spending so much time with you. Now that you'll be off at Hogwarts permanently, I'll hardly get to see you." To be perfectly honest, she'd been dreading this day for the past month. She knew Remus was eager to start teaching, and she was extremely happy for him, but the selfish part of her knew that they would have much less time together now.
"I know…" Remus sighed, more seriously this time. The frown that crossed his face made it clear that he didn't like the idea anymore than she did. However, his eyes sparkled mischievously in that way Tonks couldn't get enough of as he then wryly added, "Clearly I shouldn't have spent any time with you whatsoever, since you've gotten altogether too used to me now."
"It's much too early for your teasing," she groused, before asking, "Will you at least let me see you off at Platform 9 3/4?"
"If you'd like," he smiled, pleased at her offer. Then he snickered. "I'm sure that will give all the children a wonderful first impression of their new professor. They'll think me some sort of lothario who managed to somehow seduce a young, gorgeous witch into being his girlfriend."
She tried not to blush at the 'young' and 'gorgeous' comments, but the word 'girlfriend' made her grin like a maniac. She still couldn't quite grasp the fact that she, the decidedly unfeminine and brash Auror Trainee and klutz extraordinaire, was dating the altogether brilliant Remus Lupin. The brilliant Remus Lupin whom she was sure would have many more admirers soon, and she smirked at the thought. "Me being there would work in your favour, you know – all the boys will be impressed, and all the girls will be jealous and try all the harder to get you to notice them."
"Oh really?" He raised a brow, and bit his lip in an attempt to stop a disbelieving chortle from escaping.
"Absolutely," she nodded firmly, no longer playfully joking. "Just you wait and see – you'll be the new favourite teacher in no time."
"I suppose we'll find that out soon enough," Remus mused, albeit doubtfully. "But in order to do so, I hope you realize that we'll have to get out of bed at some point…"
They did manage to drag themselves out of Tonks' bed eventually; yet even though that took quite a bit of time, the pair ended up at King's Cross very early, as Tonks had to be at the Ministry well before the Hogwarts Express left the station.
"I don't mind being early," Remus insisted as they carefully made their way through the wall between platforms 9 and 10 (Remus with quite a bit more subtlety than Tonks, who ended up tripping over the threshold). "I think perhaps I'll board the train now, find a compartment, and take a nap."
The Hogwarts Express was already in the station, gleaming splendidly. It was an odd sight to see without the hustle and bustle of students rushing around it, but there wasn't another soul on the platform yet. Tonks was pleased to have a bit of solitude; it meant she could talk candidly and not have to worry about being overheard (of course, knowing her, she probably would have blurted out her words with a crowd around them anyway).
"I'm sorry I wore you out last night – I should have let you get your rest, what with your transformation coming up and all," she apologized, wincing at her thoughtlessness. She had just wanted one last special night with Remus before he left for Hogwarts, but he really did need his sleep before the full moon.
"Please don't apologize. I much preferred how we spent our evening over resting," he said firmly, squeezing her hand in his. Then he shrugged and reassured her, "Besides, now that we know the Wolfsbane works, I really don't feel as anxious about transformations as I used to."
That quelled her worries somewhat. The regimen of Wolfsbane that Snape had started him on when they had first met had worked perfectly; or, so Remus had told her. He had been extremely worried about it, but having one successful transformation under his belt had eased his fears somewhat about transforming in the school. However, Tonks knew better than to think his fears were gone completely, and she called him on it. "Not anxious? You liar," she teased lightly.
"Well, not as anxious," he amended. "There's a difference."
"You don't need to worry, Remus," she told him fervently, squeezing his hand in return. "Everything will be fine."
"Logically, I know I don't really have anything to worry about… But it's just a bit mind-boggling that in twenty-four hours I'll be teaching my first class. I suppose it hasn't really sunk in that I'm going to be an actual professor," Remus tried to explain, sounding rather awed.
"You're going to be a wonderful professor," Tonks insisted, stopping and turning to face him. Then she put her hands on his arms and looked up at him with an expression that dared him to disagree with her. "I mean, anybody would be in comparison to Lockhart, but you especially, since you're kind, and patient, and bloody brilliant. I'll make you a wager that by the end of this week, the kids will be lined up down the hall for your office hours."
Her words did the trick, and brought an amused grin to his face. "Oh really? And just what will you be wagering?"
"Hmm, I don't know yet." Then she shrugged and suggested, "We can work out the terms later this week – I'll come visit you, and we can meet in Hogsmeade as soon as you're feeling up to it."
"If we work out the terms later this week, then I'll have the advantage of knowing just how the students seem to be responding to me," he pointed out. "You must be very confident in this little bet."
"Extremely confident," she informed him smugly.
Remus rolled his eyes, but smiled down on her genuinely. "Thank you, Tonks. Your faith means a great deal to me."
"Yours means a lot to me too, Remus," she returned, thinking of all the times in recent weeks when he had given her pep talks about her latest cases. "I'm going to miss you…"
He dropped his hands down to her hips and pulled her closer towards him. "I'm going to miss you too. But we'll see each other soon."
"Count on it," she nodded firmly, reaching up to place her hands flat on his chest. "And expect plenty of owls! I'll send you one tonight, and you can tell me all about the trip and the feast."
"I'll be looking forward to it," he said huskily, dropping his head down to hers. "See you soon, Tonks."
Then Remus captured her lips in a sweet kiss, which she of course extended as long as she could. She brought an arm up around his neck and ran her fingers through the hairs on the back of his head, which she knew from experience he rather enjoyed. Now was no exception, and it only prompted him to deepen their kiss, as his warm lips parted and moved more passionately against hers.
It ended much too soon for Tonks' liking, but she did have to breathe, after all. Panting slightly, she managed to rasp out, "See you soon, Professor Lupin."
Before he could step away, Tonks pulled her wand out of her robes, determined to give him a more lasting parting gift. She quickly tapped the corner of the tattered briefcase Remus held in one hand, where R.J. Lupin was inscribed; with her quick charm, the word Professor then appeared in front of his name.
His eyes brightened, but he didn't say anything; instead he let his lips do the talking as he swooped in for another kiss, that put their earlier one to shame.
"Perhaps it's a good thing no students are around to see this send-off," he managed to gasp once they came up for air again. "We wouldn't want to corrupt their innocent sensibilities, would we?"
"Speak for yourself," Tonks snickered, before capturing his mouth once again for a final kiss. However, it wasn't until ten minutes later that the pair was finally able to tear themselves away from each other.
It was only a few hours after their parting (Tonks refused to call it their goodbye, since they had purposely avoided saying that word), and she missed Remus terribly already. Which, she thought, was a bit ridiculous; after all, she had gone much longer than that without him while she worked and he prepared for his classes. Maybe it was the actual act of seeing him off that had planted that bit of neuroticism in her brain?
Well, whatever it was, it was driving her mad. She wondered if Remus would be feeling the same way about her? She just wanted to gaze into his warm eyes, or stare at that boyish grin of his... It suddenly crossed her mind that they should have exchanged pictures of each other or something, to have some sort of memento to place on their respective desks. Why hadn't she thought of that before? She supposed she could owl a picture of herself to him now – but then she had a better idea.
Luckily, her lunch break was just beginning, giving her enough time to run to Flourish and Blott's and pick up what she needed. Then she quickly made her way to St. Mungo's, and once again found herself in the Janus Thickey ward.
As she moved through the doors, Miriam Strout came over and looked at her in surprise. "Auror Tonks? What are you doing back here? There isn't a problem with poor Gilderoy, is there?"
"Oh no, no problem at all," she reassured the woman. "I was just wondering if I could see him for a few moments? I wanted to ask him for a bit of a favour, actually."
"Of course," Healer Strout said, somewhat confused, but she put a smile on her face as she led Tonks over to her patient's bed. "This way, dear."
Lockhart was sitting on the edge of his bed with a battered peacock quill in his hand, completely engrossed in whatever he was doing. Tonks managed to peer down at the parchment he was writing on; it was covered in his own name, over and over again.
"Look! I've got this writing thing down pat, haven't I?" he crowed when he finally noticed the two women standing over him. "I think it'd look much better in joined-up letters though…"
"That's lovely, Gilderoy," Healer Strout smiled gently, before gesturing over to Tonks. "Do you remember Auror Tonks? She was here a few weeks ago to talk to you."
He eyed her carefully, but then shook his head. "Sorry, that doesn't ring a bell. I think I'd remember a name like... Tonks, was it? A bit silly sounding, isn't it?" He quickly brightened, however, and asked, "Are you here for an autograph? I can write my name now!"
Tonks couldn't help but grin, and she quickly cut off the other woman before she could mention anything about Auror investigations; there really was no need to bother him with all that now. "Yes, that's exactly why I'm here." She pulled two copies of Wandering with Werewolves out of her bag and handed them to him. "Would you mind signing these for me?"
"Absolutely!" he cried eagerly, opening the front covers and very meticulously starting to print his name. "But why am I signing a book?"
"Well, they're your books," she told him.
"Oh! Yes, that's right, I was a writer, wasn't I?" he mused, while carefully moving on to his last name. "So these are mine, then? Nice and thick, aren't they? That must mean they're good."
Tonks didn't quite know what to say to that, so she merely kept quiet and let Lockhart concentrate on his task. He was done a few minutes later, and he beamed as he handed the books back to her. "There you are! A work of art, really."
"Thank you very much," she told him genuinely. "This means a lot to me."
"A big fan, are you?" he wondered, preening a bit; although the effect might have been more striking had he been in one of his fancy dress robes, rather than in a pair of St. Mungo's pyjamas and slippers.
"Something like that," Tonks acknowledged awkwardly, but couldn't help the smile that crossed her lips. She had to admit, she was feeling much more generous towards Lockhart than she had been back in the midst of her investigation; now that everything was wrapped up and the victims had been helped, she found she had a little more sympathy to direct towards him. And of course, the biggest influence in her new attitude was that because of him, she had met Remus – and how could she resent the person who, albeit inadvertently, had brought them together?
She liked the idea of the books acting as a reminder of his role, and she thought Remus would too. However, simply autographing his books didn't seem to be enough for Gilderoy. "Can I sign something else?" he asked keenly.
"I'm sorry, I don't have anything else. And I must get going," she deferred, but stuck out a hand to shake his. "Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Lockhart – I really appreciate it."
"My pleasure!" he exclaimed, but to Tonks' surprise, he didn't shake her hand. Instead, he quickly scribbled his initials onto the back of it. "There! And you said you didn't have anything else to sign…"
"Ah… Right," she uttered, with a baffled glance at Healer Strout.
The older woman just smiled indulgently, before turning and leading Tonks back through the ward. "That was a very nice thing you did, dear," she commended her.
"I guess I sort of felt I owed him," Tonks admitted, somewhat awkwardly. "He might not know it, but it turns out he did a nice thing for me too." And with that she bid Healer Strout goodbye, leaving the older woman with a rather mystified expression on her face.
That evening when he entered his office, an owl was perched on Remus' chair. He quickly walked over, having been expecting a letter from Tonks, but was surprised to find a rectangular package dropped on his desk instead. He opened it eagerly (the pink polka dotted wrapping paper was a nice touch, he thought), and found a small note resting on a copy of Wanderings with Werewolves. He couldn't stop his brow from rising sceptically at the sight of that particular book, but his expression quickly changed as he read her words.
Hope you had a good trip, and a good feast – was the food as delicious as I remember? Maybe I should look into hiring a house elf, I'm surprised I didn't scare you away (or accidentally poison you) with my pathetic attempts at cooking.
Anyway, I've enclosed a little gift for you! I know it's not exactly a literary masterpiece, and it probably shouldn't be gracing the bookshelves of any self-respecting professor, but it helped throw us together, so I can't deny that I've got somewhat of a soft spot for it now. I hope you'll be able to look at it and think of me, just like I look at my copy and think of you. It will just have to do until I see you again, because I miss you already!
P.S. – I'm in no way saying you have to read it, of course! That'd be just cruel of me, wouldn't it?
Well, she was right; Lockhart's works probably didn't belong in the same room as the rest of his texts, let alone on the same bookshelf. However, he felt he could make an exception for that particular copy – and so he placed it front and centre on his desk, and smiled.
- The End -
Well, there you have it, folks! Everything is wrapped up in a nice, fluffy package. Ahh, I just love a happy ending, and I hope you do too.
I'm sort of sad this story is over, but at the same time I feel very satisfied that I managed to complete it. It took me forever to finally get around to writing it, but once the words managed to come out, I was quite pleased. It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope it was just as much fun for you all to read! And of course, one way to let me know it was fun for you to read would be to leave me a review – please, drop me a line and let me know how you liked it! Your comments always make my day.
Anyhoo, yes. Thanks to all those who have been reading this from the start, and thanks to those who will stumble upon it and read it all the way through in one sitting. Thanks to all those who previously reviewed, and thanks in advance to those who will leave a few words now! Until next time… whenever that may be (sadly, don't hold your breath!). ;)
– ish –