Chapter 41: Normal
Tonks smiled as she gazed at the band on her ring finger. It was a simple silver band that shone so brightly; she could see her reflection in it. Pondering it, she slid it off her ring finger reluctantly. Remus had requested that she kept their engagement a secret from the ministry. After a night of arguing, she relented, too tired to protest.
She glimpsed something on the inside of the ring which she had no idea how to read. Mentally noting it down to ask Remus later, she slipped it into the pocket of her Auror robes before walking into the foyer of the ministry.
She cringed as the loud sounds hit her at an almost deafening pitch. Tonks was, again, gone from the ministry for so long; she had forgotten how it feels like; the bustle of the Ministry, her Auror robes weighing down on her shoulders as if a reminder of her responsibility as an Auror.
It was with this thought that an unwelcomed flash back hit her.
"Well?" He practically demanded roughly after he handed her the robes and she put them on tentatively. Technically she was not an Auror, yet, and trainees have their special robes to put on when they go on missions. However Mad-Eye insisted she wore the official maroon robe of an Auror for this important task.
She watched her mentor size down his spare robe to better fit her petite, almost pixie like, frame in comparison to him and shove it at her.
Tonks was dying to find out how she looked and normally, she would have scurried over to the mirror by the desk to take a look at herself but she knew Mad-Eye would bite her head off if she did. Being a new trainee, she was positively terrified of Mad-Eye Moody's sharp and surly tone and on top of that, she worshipped him. So his words are practically the law in her eyes.
"Does it fit, girl!" Mad-Eye barked, "Stop fidgeting with it, we're going on a mission, not a party!"
Tonks looked at him with wide stormy grey eyes and nodded, "Yeah, it's so bloody uncomfortable though, so heavy," She blurted, feeling the weight of the leather robe tugging on her shoulders.
"Yeah, well, it'll keep you sufficiently warm, give a good balance and offer some protection from stray spells," Mad-Eye lectured and Tonks drank it all in eagerly, "The weight will be nothing on you after I'm done with you. And you'll do well to remember that weight on your shoulders. What you feel doesn't have a rat's arse on what the duties of an Auror entails and the importance of it,"
Mad-Eye looked at her with pride, as an Auror, shining through his entire being and Tonks could've sworn he almost smiled.
"What have a rat's arse has to do with my coat?"
Tonks chuckled to herself, looking at her feet, letting her black hair curtain her face. She still remembered the look of disbelief and infuriation on Mad-Eye's face after she has said that. You're gone now and Merlin, I'm starting to feel this weight again.
Truthfully, Tonks dreamt of her mentor every night and in her dreams, he would simply be sitting there, talking to her. During other nights, he would just sit there, staring at her with a fond smile and she would hug his arm like she does with her dad when she was still a child. She kept her dreams to herself, not wanting Remus to doubt about her ability to return to work after Mad-Eye's death and she has had enough with the ministry doubting her ability in her grief. Besides, Mad-Eye would give her a good rap on her head with his wand if he caught her slacking off her duties to grief for him.
Seeing the atrium of the ministry and hearing all the sounds in her time as a trainee here, it all rushed back to her. Voldemort's wrath, Dumbledore's death, her duty all seeped away into the background of her mentor. And Merlin knows it still tore at her heart to remember him.
"Why if it isn't Auror Tonks,"
She looked up upon hearing her name and smiled at Kingsley Shacklebolt who was in a half bow with a smirk on his face, "Quite fooling around, Auror Shacklebolt,"
Kingsley grinned and then it faded, "I'm sorry about Alastor, I truly am, Tonks,"
Tonks accepted it with a forced smile before he wrapped an arm around her shoulders to give her a side hug, "I just miss him and seeing all this…" She gestured around her.
"I know, it's like you start remembering things you didn't even think you remembered," Kingsley squeezed her shoulders, "and with everything else happening too quickly after that, I'm surprised you're back so soon,"
She smiled faintly, "Well, Mad-Eye would have his knickers in a twist if he knew I was skiving off work,"
"He is tremendously proud of you, even if he wouldn't tell you that himself," Kingsley said, staring off in a distance in recollection, "he told me you are his 'greatest achievement and success', the day you received your badge, did you know that?"
Tonks felt her eyes welling up but she blinked back her tears, "No, I didn't," She shuffled her feet awkwardly as she tried to swallow the lump in her throat, "Thanks King,"
"Come on, everyone can't wait to meet you," Kingsley's face split into a contagious grin and Tonks can't help but smile.
The Auror office slapped her with even more memories and she felt almost light headed. Every corner, every single thing reminded her of Mad-Eye.
"If it isn't the greatest Auror in history!" A loud strident voice snapped her out of her thoughts and she was swept off her feet and into someone's arms.
"Tommy, let her breathe!" Kingsley chuckled.
"Our Auror supreme here don't need that!" Tommy exclaimed. Tonks laughed at the antics of his colleagues. She has always seemed a wonder to her colleagues as she's the only female Auror left at the moment after one has just retired, and a metamorphagus to top it off, "How are you, Auror supreme?" Tommy grabbed her face in his overly large hands and scrutinized her, his eyes squinting.
"I miss you too, Tommy!" Tonks laughed. Thomas Brister was easily the busiest and one of the most capable Aurors in Office. Tonks met him during her trainee years and had depended on his help, more than once, on ridiculous tasks Mad-Eye gave her to avoid running laps as a punishment for her failure. He has dark green eyes complimented with flyaway dirty blond hair; basically the man who had the females at St Mungos reeling every time he brought in an injured suspect that require medical attention.
More than once, Mad-Eye had also entrusted Tonks with him when he had to go away on a case that was deemed confidential.
"Sorry about the last time you were back, I was out on a field trip. Couldn't bump into you. Only heard these guys mumbling something about our girl wonder becoming different," Tommy scowled towards the office at large.
Tonks hid her blush, remembering her depression the last time she came in. It was a while ago and she was having trouble finding a balance between being a member of the Order and a Death eater and it tore at her conscience.
"'cept, I can't see anything different about our girl here, apart from the queer change in taste of hair colour," Tommy deliberately raised his voice, shooting meaningful glances around.
Tonks rolled her eyes and scrunched up her nose as she morphed her hair electric blue. Tommy and Kingsley laughed heartily and she smiled, cherishing the laughter she had in her life now, which was far and few between.
Tonks spent her day with Tommy, coincidentally (or not) being assigned to a raid with him. At the end of the long day, they had sealed off 3 illegal shops for transacting in the black market of dark artefacts. Upon handing those relevant artefacts to the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office and left the rest in the safe vault in the Auror office for further scrutiny. Tonks leaned against the heavy door of the vault and slammed it shut wearily.
She was beat, her limbs soft and her head hurting. It was supposed to be an easy mission of strutting in and waving their badges around, for Tonks to get off to a soft start. But Tonks should've known; being paired up with Tommy and working as an Auror, it can't be easy. Out of the 3 they raided, 2 of them were manned by dark wizards and Tonks was dismayed to find her wand reacting to the idea of using Dark magic upon encountering them. Even without the use of Dark magic, Tonks didn't know if she should be pleased or disgusted to feel the improvement in her dueling abilities; thanks to the training for Voldemort, no doubt.
Even Tommy noticed the difference. However that didn't prevent them from gaining an arsenal of wounds. Tonks had a large gash over her side, which was hastily sealed in the midst of a battle, and a bruised head from falling.
"Okay there?" Tommy patted her shoulder and she nodded with a weary smile. Tommy had scraps on his hands and a dislocated shoulder to boot. He had gained more respect from Tonks after he fixed his shoulder by himself with a few tugs and pushes after a raid and went on to the next.
"Just a headache, a nap should fix that," Tonks double-checked the door to ensure it's sealed before leaving with Tommy at her side.
"And a man to warm your bed?" Tommy grinned, nudging her.
Tonks blushed and Tommy caught on quick.
"For real?" His eyebrows disappeared into his fringe of hair. This was part of their normal banter and Tonks normally coped well, with it being a joke and all. But Tonks surprised herself with how shy she was when there really was a man in her life, "who's the guy?" Tommy teased as they entered the lift and headed home.
Tonks shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant but Tommy was observant and pestered her all the way out of the ministry. By the time they made it to the streets, Tommy was practically tussling with her to force a reply out of her and Tonks was pleasantly surprised to see the man in question leaning up against a pillar, seeming to be waiting for her.
His face brightened as he saw her but something flashed in his eyes as he saw Tommy too, his thick arm thrown casually over her shoulders. Her heart broke when Remus averted her eyes and walked away, attempting to put up a ruse and pretend he didn't know her. She frowned but he didn't see. Tonks shrugged off Tommy's arm and walked straight up to her fiancé.
Remus caught her eye and shook his head, trying to seem inconspicuous, but Tonks laced her arms around his and all but dragged him to Tommy.
"Tommy, this is Remus Lupin, the love of my life," Tonks surprised herself and Remus when the words flowed out of her mouth. Tommy raised an eyebrow as he looked over Remus, "Remus, this is Thomas, my colleague and friend,"
"Hello," Remus extended a hand and Tommy shook it, still staring at Remus.
"Stop staring, Tommy!" Tonks punched his arm heavily, an arm still laced around Remus'. Tommy, on his part, seemed in shock. An awkward atmosphere ensued and Tonks hurriedly ended their abrupt encounter, kissing Tommy on his cheek before slipping into an alleyway with Remus to apparate.
"Dora…" Remus looked almost as dumbstruck as Tommy was. His eyes looked at her in awe.
She grinned at him and disapparated with a soft pop. Remus was still in disbelief and hurriedly disapparated after her. They both appeared on the greens on the outskirts of Mad-Eye's house, which is now Tonks' and Remus' house.
"Dora," He took her hand before she could make her way into the house. Gently, Remus turned her to face him, "Why did you do that?"
Tonks smiled at him, encircling her arms loosely around his neck, "Why not? Tommy is my friend and I would love for my friends to know you,"
Remus opened his mouth to reply but thought better about it.
"You don't like it?" She frowned, studying his expression, puzzled.
"I'm just…" Remus averted her eyes and looked down, "I have never been treated like that before, I'm a-"
"Wonderful man," She interrupted with a tone of finality in her voice that allowed no room for argument, "The woman who was not proud to have you doesn't deserve you," Remus searched her heart shaped face. Her jaws were set stubbornly, her pale visage serious this time and there were no mischievous sparkle in her grey eyes.
He couldn't hide a smile as he leaned in to claim her lips eagerly. Tonks responded passionately, fisting the lapels of his coat and pulled him closer to her.
When her lungs burned for air, Tonks pulled away but he held her and leaned in persistently. She threw her head back and laughed. She cupped his cheek which was warm under her hand and gave him a filthy look full of promise.
Remus hurriedly averted her eyes, a trace of a blush on his cheek, "Are you tired?" he placed his hand over hers, which was on his cheek, "you're freezing," His hand was warm and rough.
Tonks sighed and nodded, "My head hurts," She groused, digging the ground with the toe of her boot which had blood all over them.
"Come on, inside, you'll feel better," He held her cold hand in his larger and warmer one and they headed towards the house. Tonks felt her skin tingle in a reassuring manner as they both passed the wards that Mad-Eye set and Dumbledore reinforced, the thought of both men making her cringe. If Remus noticed, he didn't probe about it but squeezed her hand.
It was a considerable long way to walk, especially in Tonks' tired state. Mad-Eye had erected wards farther from his property, than where a regular wizard would, for safety purposes. After Tonks felt the second wave of tingling on her skin, she squealed. Remus smiled knowingly at her as she threw her arms around his neck, choking him.
The broken, dull and filthy white fence that surrounded the house was replaced with a new strong picket fence. The new fence was brown, an earthly colour that resembles that of the bark of a tree. She practically skipped to it, touching the new fence.
"Careful for splinters," Remus teased and Tonks elbowed him in the rib. The fence felt like real wood. It was smooth.
"Remus, did you make it yourself?"
He ducked his head and averted the awe struck glint in her eyes. A flush was creeping onto his cheek as he shoved his hands into his pocket and shrugged, "It's not difficult. My dad used to do woodwork for the house too. And I was idle so…I hope you like it," He babbled, still averting her eyes, not seeing her amused smile, "I thought you might want it brighter but I have no idea what colours you might fancy on this-"
"Remus," She rushed up to him and clapped her hand over his mouth, "you're babbling, so much." Remus, on his part, looked thoroughly scandalized for being silenced. Tonks grinned, kissing the back of her hand, which was over his mouth, teasingly before making her way to the house.
Remus watched her walk with a fond smile. She walked with haughty strides, those that Sirius and members of the Black family tend to have, and yet refuse to admit she does. His reverie was cut short as Tonks took a tumble on the path to the house, in the front yard.
"Dora!" He ran forward, hearing her curse and yowl. Remus found her sitting on her bum amidst hostile weeds that Mad-Eye bewitched, to guard his house. Despite his amusement, Remus got to his knees and pried them off her hand. He had spent the whole afternoon in the garden and can't seem to find a way to stop these weeds. He did freeze the weeds with immobulus but after a while, they were freed again.
Once her hand was freed, Tonks summoned her wand wordlessly and the weeds stopped in an instant before slinking away from her and Remus. After the weeds dispersed into the soil, Tonks sat, unmoving. Her eyes staring at something else faraway.
"Dora?" He touched her shoulder gently, "are you hurt?"
Tonks looked at him, her grey eyes guarded and it stung Remus, "No," she replied hurriedly, "I used to take a tumble in this garden everyday when I came to this house for training,"
"Sorry I didn't remove them, I didn't think you would want to-"
"No, keep them here," She interrupted him, grasping his arm, something wild flickering in her eyes momentarily. Remus didn't want to probe her here but resolved to talk to her about it later.
"Okay, whatever you want. Come on, get up, it's cold here," Remus scooped her into his arms, silently unlocking the door and opening it non verbally.
"The arm chair," Tonks mumbled as she saw that there were some changes to the inside of the house as well. Remus knew what she was referring to and brought her to that special armchair he had cleaned and kept. He flicked his wand non-verbally over her once and cleaned the soil and mud off her before placed her gently on the arm chair. It had a tall back, grey, old and had frayed ends about it but it was soft and kept her warm.
Her petite frame fit snugly into the piece of furniture.
"Dora," Remus sat on the arm and she mumbled a response before burrowing her head snugly into his side. He wanted to broach the subject about her mentor again but didn't know if he should. After the visit to Dumbledore's office, she seemed to be coping better than before. However, today, Remus spent the day worrying after her as she was returning to work and it was the place where she had the most memories of her mentor. Upon her return, the look in her eyes as she saw the house confirmed the grief she still felt, "can I talk to you?"
He glanced down at her. Tonks opened her eyes and looked up at him, listening.
"I know you miss him dearly and there's nothing wrong with that," He took both her hands in his and rubbed them warm again. Remus gauged her response as he brought up the issue of her mentor and she seemed to take it well, curious to hear what he would say, "but please don't hide yourself away with the grief. I'm worried about you Dora,"
Giving him a small smile, Tonks stood, pushing him into the now empty armchair. She then proceeded to sit in his lap. Remus frowned as she took his face between her hands and looked into his eyes.
"I'm sorry; I don't intentionally do that… Remus, please look," She said, her voice barely above a whisper and Remus blanched at what she was implying.
"No, I'm not going to pry into your mind," He insisted, breaking eye contact. Tonks sighed and he saw her rolling her eyes from the corner of his eye.
"Stop being so chivalrous," Tonks mocked a scowl and held his chin to direct him to make eye contact again, "only by looking, you'll truly understand,"
Remus made to object again but he noticed the stubborn look in her eyes and knew she wouldn't give in. With a reluctant nod, he established eye contact, willing himself not be distracted by her stormy grey eyes, her gentle hands on his face and especially her body pressed up against him as she straddled his lap.
"Legilimens," He casted the spell and she let him in. He saw everything. The memories which Mad-Eye left her, her captivity with the werewolves, Mad-Eye's death…
Remus was, admittedly, not the best legilimens there was but he could feel her strong walls by the side, protecting what Tonks didn't specifically let him see. He grudgingly admitted to Snape's ability to teach her Occlumency. Remus withdrew from her mind after witnessing Mad-Eye's murder.
On her part, she was calm and quiet. He wanted to say something, at least something to show his appreciation or his condolences but he realised there was nothing to be said. Remus let out a shaky breath and pulled her into a tight embrace. Tonks went willingly, burying her face into the crook of his neck. They stayed like this, content, for a long time and Remus thought she had fallen asleep until she shifted and muttered, "Remus,"
"Yes, Dora?" He smiled when he felt her hands and they were warm.
Remus let out a deeply relieved laugh as she sat up, "I'll get some pasta ready for you, I know you're disaster in a kitchen," He teased and she swatted his shoulder. Tonks scrambled off of his lap, "you can get a bath in the meantime,"
A smirk, "how will you join me if you're cooking?" A knowing glint.
Remus chuckled, unable to prevent his face from heating up at the thought.
"You're such a prude," Tonks called back, laughing as she slipped into the bathroom, kicking off her boots.
Remus mulled over what he saw in her head. If he was to be truthful, the memories she shared with him have shaken him. It wasn't merely seeing, it's feeling with her. When the memories of Mad-Eye's death flashed across his eyes, he felt pain and a chill in his bones, which he had not felt since the death of his mother.
Mad-Eye's death was gruesome, even at the hands of a werewolf and to think Tonks has had to watch. Greyback has done so much to the people he loved; he'll be damned if he let that slide. The sound of broken pottery interrupted his reverie. He glanced around to spot a broken bowl on the floor.
"And I thought I was the clumsy one," He spun around to see Tonks standing at the door, amused.
"An accident. You bathed quickly," Remus smiled, charming the ladle to stir the sauce on its own while he cleaned up the broken shards.
"Remus, what does the engravings on the ring say?" Tonks asked, scrutinizing said object.
He smiled, "Ego diligo vos praeter vitae ipsum," Remus offered fluently, "Latin,"
She raised a brow, surprised, "I didn't know you speak Latin,"
"My mother, she studies Latin in her free time," Remus watched her unblinkingly as she slid the ring back on her finger with a smile, "and it means…" Dora looked up at his pause, "I love you more than life itself,"
A/N: Firstly, I have been a huge fan of music videos of Remus and Tonks so I decided to make my own a while back! I hope you can spend sometime to check out my third video and give some comments! www. (youtube) . c o m (slash) watch?v=x010WGFemnE sorry about the annoying url, fanfiction won't let me put a link. I hope you like it!
Back to this story! Just a relaxed chapter for the soul before things get bad, and of course they will get bad ;) I realised I've never written one chapter that is peaceful throughout like this one so I hope this is a treat! About the Latin, I'm not too sure if it's correct so hopefully; if you speak Latin, let me know if it's wrong! The next chapter, I'm already halfway through it and it is half fluff, half angst!
Please drop me a review for this chapter! Thanks!