Not a Spell Really
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me. Done for a quote prompt. This pairing is a Mew and Mor's Weird Pairing, which you may find in the M&MWP forum (see my profile for details). Check out and join the forum FUN! Read, review, and enjoy!
"The affections are like lightning: you cannot tell where they will strike till they have fallen." —Jean Baptiste Lacordaire
He had pushed her too far. That was the last straw. Remus Lupin would not quell the fire known as Nymphadora Tonks.
"Sod off, you old loony!" she yelled at him as she left the Order of the Phoenix's headquarters, much to the others' protests. She knew she hadn't the experience as he and the other, older adults—but she was an adult, too. She could make logical decisions and she had many skills, skills Lupin could only wish he possessed! So what if she had been in little Hufflepuff House when she'd gone to Hogwarts?! The only thing that had kept her from prefect and Head Girl had been her lack of submission to authority. She was rather quite bright!
So she went to sit and tell those annoyances to a firewhiskey…or two in the Leaky Cauldron.
"What the hell did I see in him…?" she grumbled to herself as she watched her reflection in the drink. Her hair turned worse than a depressing, mousy brown: It turned inky, jet black. It was not the most flattering look for her, either.
Tonks frowned and wondered how she ever could have developed a crush on someone as stuck-in-the-mud as Lupin. She kicked herself; he'd been right. He was not the one for her. But at least he'd been wrong in what way he'd been wrong for her. Age didn't bother her, but personality most certainly did.
"And now lookit me…" She smudged her tears, her eyes darkening to match her coal-colored hair.
"Are you all right?"
She looked up and saw Tom the bartender. The bartender shook his head and jabbed a thumb to her left. Tonks turned and gazed into the most entrancing sepia eyes she had ever seen. "Er…sorry?"
"You were mumbling to yourself and crying."
Tonks flushed, hating that the tears had left tracks on her cheeks. She rubbed her cheeks with her sleeve. "Oh, i-it's nothing."
"I take it some insignificant little prat has ruined your day as well as your hair?"
Tonks smiled just a bit. Her hair at least changed back to mousy brown. "Oh, no, I change my hair. Sorry 'bout that."
He seemed…intrigued by her Metamorphagus powers. "Ah, I see. For me, there's one little prat always ruining my plans…but that's another story." The wizard held out his hand. "I'm Tom, by the way."
She fought down her laughter, since Tom the bartender was just out of arm's reach behind the counter. She shook Tom the wizard's hand. "I'm Tonks."
"That's a peculiar name."
"Eh…yeah. It's my last name, really. I hate my first one."
He caught her eyes, and she found herself mesmerized. "Oh? What is your first name?"
"…Nymphadora," she admitted quietly. She dropped her eyes from the stranger's.
"That's quite pretty. May I call you that?"
She scrunched her brow, wondering what was wrong with her as she said…yes. "But I prefer 'Tonks,'" she quickly added.
"Well, if you insist, Nymphadora."
The witch snuck another glance at him. His hair was short and floppy. It had a slight wave to it that seemed dated, from the '40s or '50s, but it was classy on him. He had a square, set jaw that oozed confidence. He looked like the kind of wizard who could take care of himself and a damsel-in-distress—or two. In fact, Tonks thought him very handsome and attractive. "Why are you here?" she queried, half to distract herself.
"I like a nice firewhiskey as much as the next wizard." He sipped at his drink and sent her a melt-worthy smile. "Would you like to talk about what was bothering you?"
"Oh… There's nothing much to it. What about you?"
He cocked his head. "My troublesome foe only ever gets in the way of what I want. I've tried time and again to thwart him, but his luck just keeps holding out. I'll win some day. He can't have a lifetime of luck. No one does."
"He could have a large supply of Felix Felicis," she suggested.
"No, he doesn't. He's never been very good at potions. Besides, you do know that Liquid Luck's effects lessen very quickly the more you take it time after time?"
"Uh… Yes, of course there's that."
He smiled again, and she didn't feel as stupid. "It's all right. I'll get him. Maybe I'll even win this time around. I have a feeling luck's—or Fate's—on my side this time."
Tonks grinned back. "Well, I wish you the best of luck with that."
Tom observed her for a minute. "Are you sure you're fine? Your hair is turning black again."
Tonks grimaced. "Oh, it's just because of this arse—er, sorry—jerk who thinks he knows everything."
"That's terrible, isn't it? Some people think they can win all the time and control things."
"Exactly." She gestured to him. "See? You understand! Why can't Remus?! Argh!" She downed her second firewhiskey and got another from the bartender. "He's this jerk who thought that a little bit of an age gap would kill things for us. Well, he's wrong. His age doesn't bother me, but his attitude—that's a whole other matter!"
Tom nodded knowingly. "People think that the solid, tangible things or facts are what are important. But they often fail to forget the principle of things, the things that are simplest and upon what everything else hinges."
Tonks stared at him openly and rudely. She was wowed by his words. "You…You just explained it so clearly. I haven't been able to pinpoint my thoughts exactly and you just—"
"Laid them out plainly for you to see?" he offered.
"Yes!" She turned to him fully. "I…" The witch stopped. She'd heard about those fairytale encounters, but she'd always thought them rubbish. And yet here was a stranger making her life a fantasy.
He put down his glass and faced her, as well. He cocked his head again and looked into her face. He smiled very slightly. "You may finish your thought, if it helps."
She crimsoned. "No, no, I just… I've never made such a connection with anyone in my life." Tonks looked up. "Are you sure we've never met?"
"Never," he replied with a shrug.
She pursed her lips. "Um, if you don't mind…"
"Would you like to meet for another drink some time?" he asked, seemingly reading her thoughts exactly.
Tonks' heart leapt. Could this meeting be the utter embodiment of what so many called Fate, with a capital "F"? "Yes," she said with a bright grin. "Yes, I'd like that very much."
Tom's smile was rewarding and…tempting, along with curious and mysterious. "Then I shall bid you adieu for now, Nymphadora."
It was not long before Tonks saw him again.
In fact, it was not long at all, in any sense of it. For each and every next time Tonks dropped by the Leaky Cauldron, there he was, waiting for her in all his awe-inducing and lackadaisical splendor. She didn't know how he knew when to show up, but he was there at the bar whenever she walked in. It only furthered her belief that their first meeting had been destiny.
Tom was a constant source of companionship and comfort for her. She felt she helped to console him a little bit about his troubles, but she couldn't do much as he wouldn't tell much. So she let herself be indulged for once.
"I'm thinking I may drop some of my most horrible ideas altogether," she admitted a while later. She didn't know how long it'd been—weeks? Months? Did friendship really have to be measured in such a way?
"Ah," he said with his clever smile. "So Remus is getting the boot without ever getting a chance."
She snorted. "It's not as though he wanted the chance to begin with. But that doesn't matter. I'm going to focus more on my work and work hard to maybe even get a promotion. In fact, I'll do my best to become the best Auror anyone's ever seen!" She turned to him with red cheeks as he chuckled. "Uh, sorry… Do I sound silly?"
"No, just enthusiastic." Tom patted her shoulder. "It sounds to me as though you already dropped most of your worries, Nymphadora. That's a splendid idea."
The witch smiled and cupped her cheek in her palm, watching him flip through some papers. "You never told me what you do for a living," she mused aloud.
"I run a volunteer group. A rowdy bunch, really," he answered, not missing a beat. "They haven't come a long way, though. They still need me for too much guidance," Tom added in an annoyed tone. Tonks tittered. He looked at her. "What?"
"I was just thinking that you never lose your cool." She stretched her legs. "Well, I should probably be going now. I'll see you next time."
"Yes, of course." His sepia eyes held hers again…and she lost her mind for a moment in his gaze.
"…would… Would you like to go out some time? I don't mean just for drinks," she found herself asking.
His smile was perfect, too perfect. "It would be my pleasure, Nymphadora."
With a furious blush, Tonks ducked out of the Diagon Alley pub and Apparated home.
"You seem happy. That's nice," Remus commented at supper at Grimmauld Place one middle winter night.
Tonks' lips thinned into a straight line. Did she have to respond to him? They hadn't been very civil the last few times they'd talked. Although, their friends were around them, so maybe that would help to keep the conversation to a polite minimum. "Thank you," she finally answered.
"You've been out a lot. Work keeping you busy?"
"Yeah, I s'pose."
Remus put down his fork and lowered his voice. He didn't want any of the Weasleys or Aurors or even his best friend, Sirius, to listen in, she guessed. "Dora, are you avoiding me?"
Tonks looked at him, puzzled. "No. Why would you think that?"
He frowned, annoyed. "Because I turned you down."
"There's more to life than unrequited love, Lupin," she answered, stressing his surname just a wee bit more than really necessary.
"So it's really just work then?"
She shrugged and took a large bite of chicken.
"It's not work, and you know it. You haven't been at the Auror Office other than when you were ordered there."
Tonks rolled her eyes. "What, are you keeping tabs on me? Funny—I thought you weren't that interested in me," she said in a normal tone. Her cousin looked their way, and Sirius shot Remus a quizzical look.
Remus flushed. "Tonks, you know what I mean."
"I've made a friend. So what? I'm young and that's what I'm supposed to do."
"I thought I'd seen you going into the Leaky Cauldron a few times."
She glared at him. "Are you following me?!" she hissed. Now Sirius was watching them openly, and Molly had an ear turned their way, as well.
Remus sighed. "No, I'm not. I just—"
"If you must know, Lupin, I have moved on. I don't need some sissy little prat in my life. In fact, I've found a very nice gentleman who takes me out to dinner and listens to all my problems and will let me just relax in his presence even though he's busy reading."
He was shocked and possibly a little jealous and hurt. "Tonks, I—"
"That's what a relationship is like!" she finished, standing up and slapping her napkin on her half-eaten plate. She excused herself politely to the others and left, not at all uncomfortable with leaving Remus to handle the unwanted sudden attention.
Tonks exited Twelve Grimmauld Place and walked around. She didn't feel like going home, not with the mood she was in. Truly, she just wanted to see Tom. She prayed that he would be there for her, though she doubted he could be. Yes, he had always been at the pub every time she'd entered, but she knew he'd been getting really busy as of late. The chances of him being there were slim to—
She turned to the voice behind her. She'd just entered the Leaky Cauldron, and, yes, he hadn't been at the bar. But he was behind her now. Automatically, she turned and hugged him. He slowly lifted his arms and held her, rubbing circles on her back. After a minute like that, they backed out of the pub.
Tom leaned against the wall and continued to hold her. "What happened?"
Tonks let the outside cold seep into her bones. Tom's arms only offered a little bit of warmth, but she relished it. His kiss on top of her head felt nice, too. "He's such a jealous jerk," she grumbled.
She listened to the rumble of his throat as he chuckled the laugh she'd come to love so much. "Remus sounds like a hypocritical fellow."
"He is. I hate him for it."
"What do you want to do now?"
She bit her lip. They could do anything. It was a cold, late December night, and they were both adults and… There was one thing that hadn't happened yet, in all these months. Tonks looked up at him. "Kiss me," she demanded.
"Why, sweet Nymphadora…" He did, and she loveloveloved it so much. She felt her pain releasing, intensifying a little bit, but then washing away. Here he was, her Tom, and he had done so much for her. She wondered what she could do for him… "Come with me," he whispered, almost as if he had read her mind.
Tonks looked up into his beautiful eyes, telling herself it was a trick of the dim light when those eyes seemed to flash red. "Where?"
"You can help me, Nymphadora. You're smart and powerful, and you could be very useful to me. I need someone with me who knows what they're doing, someone to be my brains…and heart," he added.
She felt amazing for being wanted as she wanted him. She kissed him again, running her fingers through his soft hair. Tonks ignored the shouts she heard in Diagon Alley as she Disapparated with him, to where she knew she could be by his side, ready to do anything for him and love him forever.
"Tonks!" Remus shouted as her form faded to mist.
Harry gasped. "TONKS!" he bellowed. But it was too late. She had already Disapparated away. His face drained of all color as he turned to Remus and Sirius. "Did any of you know she was seeing someone?!"
Sirius shook his head. "No! Who the bloody hell was that?!"
Remus' jealous blush disappeared as Harry faced him, Sirius, and Kingsley. "That was Tom Riddle," uttered the Boy-Who-Lived.
When Tonks' eyes adjusted to the darkness, she looked around her. She was in a beautiful, gothic mansion. The furnishings were all dark, and the walls were black. Silver mirrors and antiques dotted the tables and walls. She loved the look, despite the involuntary shiver that ran up her arms at the cold color palette.
"Where are we?" she asked.
"At a friend's," Tom said slowly. His arms left her as he readjusted his robes. "The Malfoys'."
"What?" Tonks had a note of fear in her voice. "You-You're a Death Eater?"
He frowned sadly. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I didn't want to lose your trust."
Tonks gaped at him, feeling fury and grief and flattered all at once. She couldn't believe he'd keep something so huge from her, knowing she was an Auror. She kicked herself for being so stupid as to like that he respected her opinion of him so much. Worst of all, she wanted to sob because she felt her heart swell. It was going to burst if she could love him any more than she already did. But this—this was bad… "No, no…"
She shook her head. "But I still love you…," she whispered, more to herself than to him, though she couldn't believe her own ears.
"And there's nothing wrong with that."
"My lord." Rodolphus Lestrange entered the room. Tonks turned away from her uncle. It chilled her to think that she was in love with a man who adhered to her deranged extended family's beliefs… Wait. Had Rodolphus really just said "my lord"? Tonks felt another chill, this time running the length of her spine as Tom held her hand.
"Yes, Rodolphus," Tom replied.
Rodolphus gazed at him with amazement. "To think it's actually possible to retain one's original look…" He bowed. "You truly are the greatest wizard of all time, my lord."
Tom smiled—evilly, Tonks observed. She hated herself for not realizing it sooner. "You're really—?" she rasped.
But he turned his lovely red-flashing sepia eyes on hers and gave her an adorable frown. "Nymphadora, don't you love me?"
There it was again… She didn't know if he had cast a spell on her from the beginning. She didn't know if he had spiked her firewhiskies and waters with some mind-controlling potion all this time. She wondered vaguely if he was using the Imperious Curse on her now.
Yet she gave in. Something told her that he was not using any power over her besides his eyes. He was only manipulating the love she had for him.
He was only manipulating the love she had for him. And she didn't care as long as she could be by his side.
Whoa. Dark. Even for me. This was actually a lot of fun to write, because I was drooling over the pics of young Tom Riddle from the CoS movie and I could just picture him with his cunning smile and handsome good looks, wooing Tonks to bring her over to his side to use her powers. This is definitely a one-sided love, though; we all know that Voldemort could never love. However, I only mean to raise that old question once more, as we ponder Bellatrix's own crazy mind: Is Voldemort lovable? If he's in the form of handsome Tom Riddle, Jr. then I think my answer—like Tonks' here—is yes. ;) Lastly: Was Tonks under a spell? I'll never tell… :D
Thanks for reading, and please review!
Thanks as always to Morghen for beta'ing! XD
2017 note: Oh, boy. *lol* I think I agree with most of what I said in my concluding A/N from 7 yrs ago, though I'll admit here to making Remus a bit OOC, possibly… A part of me wishes I'd written more and done a genuine AU here and continued it…but, eh, I also see the value of letting a oneshot lie. XD