Chapter 1

First impressions

The door of 12 Grimmauld Place opened with a shriek. There was a sound of wood hitting the floor – Mad Eye Moody's leg. Short after his irregular steps were much lighter steps to be heard. They came closer to the entrance hall and when they nearly got there, a loud bang echoed through the silent house. Almost immediately, the old curtains of Mrs Black's portrait swung to the sides and revealed the disgusting sight of its screaming inhabitant. Calls of 'blood traitors' and 'monsters' and 'a dishonour to my house and my family' could be heard in every single room and it wasn't long till people headed up the stairs from the kitchen to look who was welcomed that warmly.

Of course the other members of the Order of the Phoenix knew that Moody would bring someone with him tonight. Of course they knew that for a change someone joined the order. But they didn't expect Nymphadora Tonks. Everyone searched for the newcomer as soon as they arrived in the entrance hall, but nobody was able to make him or her out. At least not until Sirius Black broke out in laughter at the sight of his little cousin lying on the floor underneath the troll leg umbrella stand, all red in the face. As he pointed at her, everyone either laughed or looked concerned, just one person had the decency to shut up Mrs Black, remove the umbrella stand and help up this certain Nymphadora Tonks. This person was Remus Lupin. He offered the young woman a warm smile and was polite enough not to mention her mishap but to introduce himself.

"Remus Lupin. I suppose you're our newest member?"

"Looks like it. I'm Tonks."

He looked at her quizzically. Before he could ask for her surname, Sirius came over with great strides.

"My dearest Nymphadora! Nice to meet you again, little cousin!"

Even the fact that he hugged her tightly – and for the first time in fourteen years, due to his time in Azkaban – soothed her about using her hated first name.

"Don't you call me that ever again! You know I absolutely hate being called Nym.. you know what."

Sirius burst out in laughter once more. On one hand because she couldn't even bring herself to pronounce her first name fully, on the other because her hair had turned in an alarming shade of red that honoured every Weasley. Most of the order, including Remus, looked at her curiously, what made her blush again. Although her hair was anything but decent most of the time, she didn't like people staring at her. Especially not like that. It was her first day in the order and she had already managed to disgrace herself completely in front of nearly everyone. She quickly morphed her hair back to a more natural colour when suddenly the door behind her opened once more. Turning around she saw the impressive silhouette of Albus Dumbledore entering the hall.

"I see you already noticed dear Nymphadora. If you please, could we sit down in the kitchen instead of staying around and staring at the poor girl? I think there are some important issues today."

Smiling broadly, Dumbledore made his way to the kitchen and everyone followed, Moody and Tonks as the last ones.

"Nymphadora, what have I taught you all these years? Constant vigilance! Did you have to fall over an umbrella stand the moment you arrived? That's not very representative for an Auror. They will ask themselves how you actually became one. Sometimes I question it myself."

That speech didn't help to calm Tonks' temper or to soften her embarrassment. But she knew that Moody didn't mean it and really thought of her as a capable Auror and enrichment for the order. Otherwise he wouldn't have got her to join in the first place.

They sat down in silence until Dumbledore was the only one to remain standing. He started a speech about their progresses and the information they had been able to get. There wasn't much of neither the one nor the other. But Tonks knew that a secret war against Lord Voldemort wouldn't be easy and that it was hard to get at information about his plans and whereabouts at all, so she wasn't disappointed. In fact, it was far more than she had expected from Moody's dramatic picture of the hopeless situation of the order. But then again, Moody loved to exaggerate. It was some kind of hobby for him and she knew better than to take every word of his seriously.

Dumbledore was followed by several other speakers, including – to Tonks' utter horror and disgust – Severus Snape. She and Snape had been at open war in Hogwarts. If he had been able to, he had expelled her the minute she knocked her first cauldron full of Shrieking Potion over his feet. Ever since they had been enemies and either one used every chance to disgrace the other – or worse. So she wasn't pleased at all to see him in the order and to learn that she had to trust him. If there was a n incarnation of evil, it would have been Snape. At least in her imagination. Probably he thought the same way when it came to her. By the way he looked at her she guessed that he hated her as much as she hated him.

To distract herself from Snape's boring reports about him being a hero for risking his life in such a difficult task and remarks about how useless Sirius was for the order, she let her gaze wander through the people sitting at the table. Some of them she already knew from the ministry, such as Kingsley and Arthur Weasley. Most of them she never met before. Especially one of them captivated her. The man who had been the only one to help her instead of laughing at her. What was his name again? Ah, yes, Remus Lupin. Maybe she was interpreting a little much because of the fact that he sort of 'rescued' her, but Tonks thought that his smile was very kind and although there were grey streaks all over his brown hair, he still looked young and – actually – was quite handsome. At the thought and because she noticed that she was staring – she could tell Snape noticed it as well because he had this very unpromising grin in his face – she turned her gaze to Sirius and studied the features she hadn't seen for a very long time. She missed him throughout the years and she never had been able to believe him capable of the crimes he was sent to Azkaban for. She longed for the end of Snape's self-praising report to sit down next to her cousin and talk to him. And maybe to learn a little more about this Remus Lupin.