Remus Lupin and The Unforgettable Auror Nymphadora
A/N: Hello! I'm coming back to the world of R/T after years away! Hopefully my writing will have improved somewhat.
JK owns what she owns. I own the rest. Rated T for possible mild language/sexuality but will mostly be family friendly and fluffy, with a dash of angst and adventure.
This is completely and deliciously AU, a whole new universe in which R/T could have met. I'm taking a lot of liberties with the facts of how Auror training was probably run. This idea comes mostly from my love of Teacher!Remus. If I manage to stick with it, I have this fic-verse planned throughout the time-frame of all 7 books, mostly adhering to canon when they run into canon events. This story begins somewhere around the Philosopher's Stone in HP-universe time. Harry might come up later but he won't really be a feature of this story, it's R/T focussed.
Nymphadora Tonks sat slumped in her chair at the back of the classroom, scuffing the toe of one of her big black boots on the heel of the other. Her first week of Auror Training was proving at least ten times more difficult than she'd expected, and less than half as fun. She hadn't been expecting to be thrown into battle with Dark Wizards straight away, but memorising Antidote spells in Basic Potions & Charms For Field Use this morning she'd felt like she was back in a classroom at Hogwarts.
Tonks was hopeful that this Practical Defence class, her first as a trainee Auror, would be where they really got down to the exciting stuff.
She didn't want to look too keen though, since most of her classmates were still a bit miffed at her for causing their Concealment and Disguise instructor to break out in rapturous applause when she used her Metamorphmagus abilities to run through the entire series of looks on the syllabus for the year in five minutes. So she'd taken a seat at the back and, as she was used to from her Hogwarts days, was trying to come across as cool rather than a freak or a swot in light of the extra attention drawn to her by her unusual quirk.
The Head of the Auror Office, Alastor Moody, who had been following them around all week to make sure they were properly introduced and got settled (and was appropriately named in Tonks' opinion), was ushering the last few stragglers into the room. They hurried in, looking as though they thought if they moved fast enough no-one would notice them, as Moody barked,
"If you can't find the bloody classroom on time, you'll have no chance in the field! You might as well pack your bags now!"
He cleared his throat with a hacking cough and hobbled to the front of the classroom.
"Right! This is your first Practical Defence lesson as new recruits, and I'm warning you now: this is where we sort the soldiers from the Squibs! I would say you'll be lucky to make it through the year, but it's got nothing to do with luck. It's about perserverance and strength of character, and above all, talent! Personally I could rule a few of you out right now! But I'll leave that up to your instructor."
He gave a sweep of a knarled arm and Tonks noticed a tallish thin man standing in the corner so unassumingly that she was sure he hadn't been there when she came in, and even surer that he couldn't be the instructor Moody was referring to.
The dark shadows under his eyes were the only colour in his pale complexion and his grey woolly cardigan hung off him. Not only did he look like an Expelliarmus would finish him off, he was beaming at them the way an uncle regards his favourite nieces or nephews, his warm smile reaching his eyes.
Even as she thought he was not someone she'd be intimidated by if she were a Dark Wizard, Tonks couldn't help the smile that twitched at the corners of her mouth in response to his welcoming grin, as he stepped forward and inclined his head by way of introduction. He scanned the room briefly and yet it felt to Tonks, and to everyone else it seemed, that he'd made contact with each of them personally.
"This is Remus Lupin and he will instruct you in Practical Defence. If anyone can get you through this year, it's Lupin, so pay attention."
Moody nodded to Lupin with a new expression on his face which Tonks identified as respect (and briefly lamented that she'd probably never be on the receiving end of). He then clunked out of the classroom, grunting as he closed the door.
Tonks' first thought about Remus Lupin was that he made her feel uneasy, but in a good way. He settled himself against his desk to continue Moody's address to the class. Everyone was impressed by Moody's favourable opinion of him and eagerly interested in what he had to say. So though the friendly conversational tone of his slightly hoarse, very pleasant, voice was a complete contrast to Moody's, he held their full attention.
"Well," he said, clasping his hands on the edge of his desk and rubbing the wood, as if by habit.
"As Alastor told you, I will be your Practical Defense instructor, and my name is Remus Lupin. Please don't call me 'sir' or 'professor'; we're a bit old for that now and I'll treat you with respect if you do the same for me in return."
Even though he spoke to everyone at once, Tonks felt as though he was talking to each of them individually and looking for their responses. She stopped scuffing her shoe and sat up a bit in her chair, not wanting to meet the effort he invested with nonchalence.
"Welcome to your first Practical Defence lesson!" he clapped his hands and his eyes shone with a promise of all the excitement Tonks has been waiting for.
"I must warn you that you have chosen a difficult career path and the training is mercilessly rigorous. You may think Alastor over-dramatic, but what he's told you is quite true. Only three or four students out of your whole class can expect to move up to the next year…"
Coming from Remus Lupin instead of Moody, it sounded somehow more reasonable and comforting, and yet Tonks felt a spark of determination go off inside her to prove herself and be one of those few who progress. If there was one thing her stupid Black heritage was good for, it was steely ambition. That and cheekbones, of course.
"…and I'll do my very best to make sure each of you has a fighting chance to be one of them.' Lupin continued,
"We'll work hard, learn a lot, and if you're conscientious there might be time left over for a little fun too."
Tonks could feel the people around her bristling with enthusiasm, raring to go. Remus Lupin smiled a quietly satisfied smile, apparently pleased with how his introduction had gone down, before moving off the desk to pace as he continued.
"So, now that introductions are out of the way, let's begin. Since we are all new to each other, I'd like you to introduce yourselves one by one, please, and for a bit of fun why not show us your favourite spell."
His smile crinkled the lines around his eyes and Tonks wondered how old he was. Though he had the physical weariness of an old-ish person, there was something enticingly boyish about him. It seemed not to contradict his aged features, rather to enhance and enliven them.
"And honour of going first falls to…"
Remus indicated a mop of dirty blonde hair on the far left in the front row, which stood up and introduced itself as Yillium Gibbons. The boy, too gangly for the space around him, like a daddy long legs spider, swept the heavy mop of hair away from his face to perform his spell. He chose a skirt-lifting hex, which got a great whoop from the boys and a giggle from the girls. They were still fresh from Hogwarts, most of them either eighteen or nineteen.
Tonks' mind began to whirr as to what spell she wanted to show. This was important.
She really wanted to get up and do a morph, just to see what Remus Lupin's reaction would be. She wasn't sure if she wanted to shock him or gain his approval, but she definitely wanted to stand out in his memory.
Unfortunately she'd had bad experiences of standing out, and these were the crucial first few days, in which she would either make or break her chance of having a social life for the next three years; since Auror training was such a huge time commitment that these would be basically the only people she'd be around; like being at Hogwarts.
She'd already made a spectacle of herself in Concealment and Disguise. She needed a cool spell, one that would catch Remus Lupin's attention whilst showing her classmates she didn't take herself too seriously.
An appropriate spell came to mind almost immediately, and was indeed one of her favourites. But the thought was quickly followed by the niggling feeling that this particular spell would be horribly rude and would not make a good first impression on Remus Lupin.
Tonks had learnt to play pranks at Hogwarts, as a way of showing everyone she was not to be messed with, without having to be mean. Her morphing meant she stood out from day one, so it was either stand out for being fun and cool or get picked on for being different. So she'd had gotten used to rebelling, being the fun one, and learned to enjoy a good joke. In fact she found it hard not to make them when an opportunity arose. But this man seemed so nice and the thought of playing a nasty trick on him made her feel so awful.
Unfortunately Melissa Nogwold in the seat next to Tonks was just finishing her spell, and with the pressure of a room of pairs of eyes turning to her, Tonks' mind went completely blank of everything except the spell that never failed to entertain but was currently sure to end in trouble (or something along the lines of trouble, like agitation or annoyance).
She was plagued by one last attack of conscience as she pushed back her chair and stood up. But three years is a long time to spend with no friends and people who think you're a weirdo suck-up, so, thinking she had the balls to be in Gryffindor, Tonks decided to go for it.
"I'm Nymphadora Tonks." she said, cringing at her first name and running a small hand self-consciously through her short pink hair, making her coloured bracelets jangle.
"But unless you really have to use my first name, I'd much rather pretend it doesn't exist and go by 'Tonks'…That especially goes for anyone who doesn't want to be on the receiving end of my favourite spell."
She grinned in a way that very much suited her first name and pulled her wand from her back pocket and the watermelon flavoured Drooble's from under her tongue.
"Waddiwasi!" she announced, pointing her wand at the gum.
It shot from her hand straight up Remus Lupin's nose, and the class let out a collective gasp and then burst into laughter, a few people giving appreciative whistles and applause.
And no-one was laughing harder than Remus Lupin himself; the words "Absolute classic!" could be distinctly made out between gasps. With the gum up his nose, he nearly snorted, which made him laugh even harder, his eyes dancing. When the laughter died down, he tapped his nose with his wand twice and the gum shot out and zoomed around the room into the bin by the door.
"Excellent choice, Nymphadora!" he smiled broadly.
Tonks was struck speechless momentarily, half joyful, half stunned, not only that he knew how to undo the spell, but also at his unexpected mirthful reaction. Eventually the first thought that came to her mind was,
"I just asked not to be called that"
"You did. On pain of being on the receiving end of waddiwasi; and since I was, I felt I'd earned the right to use it once, as I was otherwise an innocent victim."
Tonks wondered whether being oddly charming was Remus Lupin's secret weapon against Dark Wizards, because it was worryingly disarming. She felt a warm flush but she couldn't help laughing along with everyone, even though she'd come out wrong-footed in her attempt to appear cool.
That spell had been passed down the generations at Hogwarts, only entrusted to the most cunning of pranksters. She was the first girl to learn it in over a decade. She didn't think anyone outside of her group of friends knew it. That had been why she'd thought it would look so impressive.
"How did you know…?"
"Ah, that spell is a personal favourite of mine" this time she was sure his smile was just for her. And she had the distinct feeling that despite things not going as she'd planned, she had made a good impression. The light in his eyes was both playful and a strange sort of admiring at the same time. Tonks felt with a thrill of pleasure that she may have won over Remus Lupin already.
Everyone left Lupin's class excited and raring to go. Stealth and Tracking, was next though, and was a disaster for Tonks. After alarming her house elf for a fourth time by accidentally whacking it with the curtain she was supposed to be concealed behind, she gave up chasing after it and the poor thing escaped to the Ministry Healer with a severe case of jitters.
The class was taught by Professor Slindra, a raven-like woman who was the polar opposite of Remus Lupin, had a voice that could chill Ogden's and a creepy habit of appearing suddenly behind you when you were having a grumble to the person next to you.
She was very unsympathetic to Tonks' insistence that it was,
"A natural flaw. Almost a disability, I swear. And completely incurable, believe me I've tried."
"Try harder," Slindra scorned.
"Getting rid of those ridiculous boots would be a start. You look like you have two club feet."
The people within earshot turned their sniggers into coughs at the snap of Professor Slindra's head, but were unable to hold back snorts of laughter when raven-bitch turned her back and Tonks morphed and did a rude caricature impression.
If Slindra caught her, she at least pretended not to that time. Tonks wondered absent-mindedly how to get in touch with Professor Snape, because she had a feeling those two would get on like a broomstick on fire.
Though undoubtedly the clumsiest student in the class, and possibly in the history of Auror Training, Tonks was not the only one who having difficulty. Yillium Gibbons kept getting somehow tangled in his own gangly arms and legs, and tripped himself up almost as much as Tonks did. They shared a moment of sympathising with each other whilst she helped him look for his elf; who'd had enough and run away.
The trainee Aurors' mood, which had dropped considerably by the end of Stealth class, positively plummeted after an hour of non-stop Speed and Stamina broom drills.
Heavy with exhaustion, the only way Tonks could stay awake in Theory and Principles of Magical Law Enforcement, which seemed to be taught by Professor Binns' older, more boring cousin, was to write notes and animate funny cartoons with Yillium in the back row. By the end of the class the rest of the row—Elias "Rutters" Rutherford and Darren "Daz" Briggs—two decent-seeming lads with cheeky grins, had joined them.
Later, the four bonded over the sweet relief of a drink in the Cracked Oak, along with a few others they invited. Even though she was ready to turn in after a long day, it was a laugh and Tonks was happy to have made a few decent mates.
She had given the few girls in her Auror class a quick once-over to look for promising bessie mates, but they didn't seem her type. Before lunchtime they'd already banded into a tight pack, and spent the hour gossiping over the latest Rita Skeeter scandal and complimenting each others' hair and designer bags.
Tonks had eaten lunch with her friend Cel from Hogwarts, who had just been hired at the Ministry as the newest administration assistant in the Department of International Magic Co-operation. They mostly talked about all the cool holidays Cel would get to take for the job, while Tonks tried to not get too jealous, as it seemed to be a solid three years of hard work ahead for her.
Luckily Cel would have the same lunch break as Tonks every day. So she didn't anticipate a lack of daily girl-influence in her life, nor lament that she and the other girls would probably never be friends. Tonks was quite a girly-girl, in her opinion (after all she had been raised by her mother!) But not in the way most girls were; and while she accepted everyone for who they were, she had always refused to be something she wasn't just to get along with people, and wasn't about to start now.
When she finally collapsed into her saggy bed that night, it creaked satisfyingly, and her head was as thick and heavy as a block. She feel into a deep sleep as soon as she hit the pillow.
The next day, when she woke up to her Weird Sisters Dancing Alarm Wizard at an unearthly hour in the morning, the first thing that popped into her head was Remus Lupin, with his warm friendly smile, and she felt a small pulse of excitement in the pit of her stomach. His was the only class she was looking forward to. Though why she was so excited about it when she had a whole three other classes to go first, she didn't know.
A/N: Boom! Here we go! Let me know what you thought! I hope there are still people reading R/T fic out there all these years later! :)