Hmm, I probably should be starting another fic, but I have no problem working on multiple ones at the same time. I'll finish them though, no worries there. ^_^ So this fic I got the idea when I was listening to a few songs while watching the Harry Potter trailers on youtube. Does anyone else notice that when Remus and Tonks comes on, there's a huge 'emotional' on the screen? That just makes me so sad knowing their ending. Anyways, so I got these various ideas that I've incorporated into my stories. Now I would have tried to push the ideas into my other fics, but then it wouldn't fit right, so I decided to write this one. For some reason I really like the idea of this new fic, personally. In a lot of the chapters I'll be making references to some songs that I heard and use them along with telling the story. I hope you're not too confused by my note haha, sorry about that. Please read and enjoy the story. Thank you. Thank you for reading and reviewing. ^_^
Chapter 01 – So Close to the Dancing Fire
At the end of a winding road where those who did not know the way would be forever lost, sat a large glass house, modern, concealed within miles of rolling hills and hidden under the stars and clouds. It was a large house, built by magic and improved by technology. It was home to two people, a black sheep from the house of Black, and a colorful metamorphmagus.
The front door to her large but messy modern house suddenly felt so heavy. Nymphadora Tonks, a young witch with a pale heart shape face and a naturally colorful personality, returned home late in the evening, yawning and about ready for a quick meal and hop into bed. Her bubblegum pink hair had lost its glow by around five in the afternoon as her eyelids grew heavy. That day, work had been nothing but the usual for her, having to follow up on false claims of Dark Arts being practiced and Dark Objects being present, and then writing reports until her hands felt like they were about to fall off. Tonks took a few steps into the large house where the bright lights suddenly blinded her. She grumbled as she toppled over onto the long leather couch scattered with magazines and various containers of food.
"I wish Lexi would tell me how to turn off the sensors on those stupid lights," Tonks thought to herself, wishing that wherever the house's owner was, she'd suddenly trip and fall as revenge for the lights blinding Tonks every night. The house's owner was Alexis Black, of whom Tonks fondly referred to as Lexi, Tonks' last remaining cousin from the Black family that isn't mentally insane, locked up in Azkaban, or wants her dead. A brief image of the petite, pixie woman a year Tonks' senior laughing at her made Tonks grumble and shake her head again.
She sighed and pushed herself off the rather comfy sofa and over into the kitchen in search of some food. The kitchen that once was clean and organized when Alexis still lived there looked like a battlefield after the girl had left for France, leaving Tonks alone with the house a year ago. Tonks looked around and her eyes brightened when she found her Chinese take-out in the nearly empty refrigerator from the night before. The thing about Ted Tonks, Tonks' father, being a muggle was that he also greatly influenced his daughter and niece in the way of the muggles, particularly about the knowledge of take-out food and muggle appliances.
Wasting no time, Tonks stuffed her face full of the fried rice that she quickly heated up with a charm she'd learned from her mother, another member of the ancient house of Black, a black sheep, Andromeda Tonks nee Black. Her attention turned to the pile of mail on the window sill. She walked over to pick up the pile, forcing herself to at least sort through the mail before she fell asleep. Tonks frowned when she saw the sender of the first letter on her pile.
Good evening to my fiancée Tonks, from Evan Rosier.
She tossed the letter away with her free hand while scooping up rice with a fork using her other. Her fiancé Evan was the arrogant aristocrat type and each night she'd go home to another letter from him, boasting about the growth of his company and such matters that she really didn't care about. She'd dated him once back in school. He was a Slytherin while she was a Hufflepuff, an odd mix already. She thought she'd fallen in love with him. That is until she realized she'd long fallen for someone else, a familiar and friendly face from her childhood who had acted as a close friend to her all throughout those years. She'd fallen for an old bookworm professor with a furry little problem, and after two years of unrequited love, Tonks still wasn't sure if she was completely over the bookworm or not. She sighed and when she thought of him, his light brown hair flecked with grey, his youthful but tired appearance, and his sweet, warm and tender, alluring blue eyes that had so much depth, she nodded and knew she still felt something strong towards him. So why was she marrying Evan Rosier and not him?
That was a question that had another long story that came with it. Tonks subconsciously placed her palm gently over her flat belly as she continued sifting through the letters. A lot of them were greetings from old friends and she tossed them aside, seeing no importance in them just yet. Her eyes slightly lit up when they fell on a tan envelope marked with a boxy elegant scroll that she would recognize anywhere. Tonks quickly opened the letter and read it.
I know I should be happy but…what do you mean you're engaged? I don't get it. What the hell happened to Moony? You were just mooning over him on your last letter and now you're engaged…to Evan Rosier? Bloody Rosier, really? And why does it look like you were crying over this letter? What happened? I just pushed my next line of cases over to Pierre and I'm coming back to England RIGHT NOW! Hell, it'll take a day or two to sort everything out but I'm coming back there. Something is definitely wrong and I won't be returning to France until you tell me exactly what happened. You better be there and ready to talk when I get back.
From a very surprised and worried Alexis Black!
P.S. Read the prophet. I saw it this morning and meant to check if Moony's alright.
Tonks couldn't help but smile a little after reading her dear cousin's letter. It was nice to know that someone cared enough about her to travel all the way back from France even without knowing what in the world was wrong. She laughed wryly. Leave it to Alexis to make such good use of question marks and exclamation points. Tonks turned from the letter and looked down at her left hand for a moment, trying to admire that large diamond on the sparkling engagement ring. It was beautiful in all honesty, but somehow, it didn't feel right. It didn't fit.
The Daily Prophet was the next thing that sat on her pile of mail. The bolded headline on the prophet was the thing that caught her attention. She skimmed it once, her eyes widening with shock. Afterwards, Tonks' eyes raced down to the article and skimmed it quickly until she found the gist of what happened and his name on there. Her heart was racing now and without a second thought, Tonks rushed out of the house, leaving the door ajar while she slipped her boots back on and hopped outside to apparate. The newspaper was still in her hand when she left and the headline was still flashing in bold black printed letters.
HOGWARTS D.A.D.A. PROFESSOR A WEREWOLF!
Standing outside Remus Lupin's apartment in a lower place of Diagon Alley, Tonks banged loudly on the front door. She drummed so loud she swore she heard a yelp from one of the neighbors inside their homes. Tonks tapped her foot impatiently by the door, holding the newspaper tightly in her hand in a vice like grip.
The door slowly opened and she was met with a tired Remus Lupin. Tonks' eyes softened a bit looking at his state. She'd forgotten a full moon had passed by. "Hello Nymphadora."
"Don't call me Nymphadora Remus," Tonks retorted without malice but as a force of habit whenever someone called her by her dreaded first name. She handed him the newspaper. "What happened?" she asked in a more stern voice. "Was this the reason you'd quit teaching?"
Remus had returned from Hogwarts just a few days ago, looking down, depressed, and thoroughly beaten by the pull of the moon. Tonks had spent the night talking with him, happily avoiding her date and dinner with Evan and his parents as she and Remus drank and read in companionable silence beside his fire. He'd told her he quit his teaching job at Hogwarts, but he never told her why and the look in his eyes told her not to press. She didn't understand however, because Tonks knew that Remus loved his teaching job.
He rubbed his face and let out a heavy sigh as he moved away from the door, silently inviting her in. "Take a seat, we'll talk," he spoke softly.
Tonks was still worried. As if the headline and article in the prophet hadn't done enough damage to the poor man's ego, Tonks could see the stiff movements in his joints were serving as awful reminders to him about his lycanthrope identity. She walked in, but instead of taking a seat she took a gentle hold of his arm and carefully walked over to their seats beside the fire together. As an engaged woman, Tonks knew she should be trying to pull further apart from Remus, but she just couldn't control herself, not when they have known each other for so long. She'd been by his side when he lost all his closest friends in one night and he was like a very close friend to her over the years as she grew up.
"Can you tell me what exactly happened? You loved your teaching job," she spoke softly.
Remus nodded. "It was something I'd love to do for years on end," he smiled a bit bitterly. "Unfortunately, after an…accident…with Severus Snape on this last full moon, Severus let it slip to the students that I'm a werewolf. Afterwards, I'm forced to quit my position. I heard from Minerva that the owls were already coming in, questioning Dumbledore about his judgment letting me teach. I didn't want to make it harder for him by staying for another year."
"Snape," Tonks hissed. "He'd do anything for that position. Remus, are you alright?"
As he thought about that night, Remus remembered that though he lost his teaching job, he'd regained something far more valuable than a job that night, something in terms of an old friend. He shook his head and smiled, looking up at Tonks with a little bit more mirth than before. "I'm fine actually. I'm used to it. I'll just have to go and look for another job soon."
"This headline just made it harder for you though," she sighed, glancing at the dreadful Daily Prophet. "Are you sure you'll be ok?"
"I'll be ok Nymph…" he paused and smirked at the teasing warning look Tonks gave him. "Dora, I'll be ok. I lost my job but through that experience I regained something far more important," he smiled to himself.
"What is that?" Tonks asked curiously, chucking the paper into the blazing fire and watching as the stupid headline burned in the dancing flames.
"I'll reveal it to you when the time is right," Remus nodded. "It'll be soon though."
"Whenever you want Remus," she smiled slightly.
"So Alexis wrote to me this morning," Remus began. "She's returning so suddenly?"
Tonks smiled fleetingly and nodded, fidgeting with a loose thread on her left glove. "I came home this evening and found a very expressive letter from her on my window sill." She spoke in a soft voice, very uncharacteristic from her natural blunt and loud expressions. Tonks' eyes were shifting between Remus and the warm, dancing flames that entranced her.
"What's the reason?" Remus asked. He knew just as well as Tonks that Alexis Black had decided to leave England for France because of a very large reason and was bemused as to what big thing had happened that had caused her to return so suddenly.
"Uh…me actually," Tonks replied. "You know."
"The engagement?" Remus asked. His tone was suddenly sad. He had been one of the first people Tonks informed about her engagement to Evan and she still remembered the way he looked that day, the way all the light and hope seemed to have left his eyes when she visited him at Hogwarts to tell him the news.
Tonks nodded but didn't speak anymore. Instead she placed a hand over her flat stomach and her eyes grew distant in thoughts.
"I'm happy for you," Remus suddenly spoke. What he said was true, however there was more to that truth than Tonks ever knew. Remus knew she'd fallen for him, but he'd deemed it as a silly crush because after all, he'd been her friend and support beam for years. He too knew he felt something for her, but in no way was Remus going to let Tonks sacrifice everything in her life for him and his lycanthropy. Tonks was going to marry Evan Rosier, a man with the looks, power, and money. Remus should be happy for her and ignore all the longing desires he had within him. He was too old, too poor, and too dangerous for her. He should be glad she was finally seeing the light and not depressed over the thought of him not loving her.
"Really?" Tonks asked softly in a shaky voice.
Remus nodded, though he wanted to tell her the entire truth, how he cared so much for her as well, how he held the same feelings she once held for him as well, but she was engaged and he'd already lost his chance.
"Lexi should be back some time tomorrow," Tonks spoke. "She's determined to shake the explanation out of me by force if she has to. That's the impression I got from her letter."
"Why would she need an explanation?" Remus asked. "Don't you want to marry Evan?"
Tonks only stared at her abdomen and the unfitting yet beautiful ring on her hand.
Remus leaned forward from his chair. He held himself back from taking her hand and feeling her soft, smooth skin under his as he spoke to her. He had to fight and constantly remind himself not to get lost in her eyes. He must get over her because she was over him and he should be happy. Tonks deserved much more than a tattered old werewolf with no job.
"Everything will be fine in the end. Things always have a way of just falling into place," Remus tried to smile to and comfort her. He was also trying to comfort himself as well. Maybe after Tonks gets married, he could finally convince himself once again that he was meant to be alone for life because of his lycanthropy. "I won't press on," he smiled warmly. "Because if I know the Black blood well, Alexis would press it out of you." That caused a small smile to appear from Tonks' red lips. "Would you like some tea?"
"Coffee please, Remus," she smiled, missing those nights where they'd just talk and talk.
"How are you going to sleep?" he smiled but still began to make her coffee anyways.
"Believe it or not, coffee helps me sleep better," she smiled, following him to the kitchen.
As if her clumsiness thought then would be a good time for a visit, Tonks tripped over one of his wooden stools. Luckily Remus had caught her in time, his solid strong arm wrapping protectively around her waist as he pulled her up. His hold on her lingered for a moment, and Remus forced himself to let go while Tonks longed for that second of closeness to last just a little bit longer, like he did. Together they were lost in each others' gaze for a moment, a lingering moment. Tonks' dark, soulful eyes met Remus' soft blue, tender ones. They both forcibly blinked and broke apart abruptly, hearts flustered and yearning for more.
"You're still awfully clumsy as ever Dora," Remus chuckled a bit longingly.
Tonks wished she wasn't engaged to Evan and subconsciously rubbed her stomach as unwanted memories of a night full of mistakes flashed back into her mind. "Yeah I should probably work on my coordination," she smiled. Tonks knew she would have to as soon Remus wouldn't be able to catch her when she fell anymore and if she fell she'd hurt not just herself…
It was Tonks' seventh year, her last year at Hogwarts and she was eighteen, about to take her N.E.W.T. exams. That night had been the night of the Graduation Formal, a ball where only last year students were allowed to attend and it was a dance looked forward to all year for the students. It was the equivalent of the muggle prom to many. Unfortunately for Tonks, her relationship with her cheating boyfriend Evan Rosier had just ended after she found out he'd been cheating on her with Amelia Greengrass, a Slytherin in their year. Tonks had spent the past three nights crying. She thought what she had with Evan had been love, but she obviously was wrong. Perhaps she didn't know what love really is. That night she had taken her broom and snuck out of school, choosing rather to spend the night alone beside a river she didn't know the name of rather than attend the ball and break into tears again.
A warm hand was suddenly placed on her shoulder, causing Tonks to turn around from gazing at the flowing river. Her eyes were red and her face was stained with tears. She looked up to see the kind and gentle face of a young but tired Remus Lupin looking at her with a warm gaze. He lifted her up to her feet with no effort at all and silently wiped her tears.
"Dora why are you here all alone?" he asked softly while wiping away her tears gently.
She shook her head. "I don't want to see his face," she sobbed weakly.
"Why did you choose to miss the dance for him?" Remus asked in the most gentle and velvety voice she could ever hear. "Tell me who made you cry," he asked in almost a whisper.
Tonks shook her head again and rested her head on his shoulder in defeat. "I don't want to think about it anymore," she replied weakly.
Remus wrapped his warm, protecting arms around her in a loving embrace. He held her tightly for a moment, silently reassuring her before letting go. Remus held her by her arms and looked at her gently. "Whoever he is, he's not worth your tears. Only cry for those who love you, but remember, those who love you won't make you cry."
She smiled a bit. Remus always made her smile for no apparent reason, even when he's not being funny. They've been friends for years, ever since Sirius brought him home many years ago, and they've stayed friends ever since, mainly because Tonks needed the strong, protecting man that he was in her life and she always loved talking to him.
"Aren't you going to return to the dance? If you miss it you'll regret it. Trust me."
Tonks shook her head again. "I'd rather dance here than there," she joked.
Remus suddenly smiled. "Whatever you want Nymphadora," he spoke in a lighter tone. Tonks watched as he suddenly pulled his wand out and muttered some spell under his breath. There was suddenly a small record player sitting on a table beside them. Remus was magically in a neat and sleek black dress robe while Tonks was in a beautiful soft pink strapless dress. Her eyes brightened and a smile failed to conceal itself on her face. They both stood under the soft moonlight as Remus flashed a Marauder like smirk.
"I know I'm too old for this, but I don't want you to pass this night without dancing since it's a dance most girls your age look forward to all year," he smiled shyly. "Nymphadora, may I have this last dance?"
Tonks smiled, looking up at the man who seemed so young and attractive and smiled. Remus definitely knew how to cheer her up, it was almost like a natural thing to him. "Yes."
Remus chuckled as he gently placed his hand on her waist and took her other hand, holding her close. Tonks felt her heart beat rapidly as she stared into his tender blue eyes. Her heart skipped a few beats when he smiled and then raced to catch up on those missing beats afterwards. Tonks definitely had never felt that way with Remus Lupin before. Her stomach was in knots, but it was such a good feeling that she yearned for it to last forever.
"Nice choice of location," Remus teased and made her laugh softly.
"Only you could make me laugh with tear streaks still on my face," she sighed.
"I'm glad then. And besides, I'm gaining a little out of this as well," he smiled. "I never did get to attend my last dance at Hogwarts either."
"Why is that?" Tonks asked, following his footsteps while they swayed.
"Unfortunately it was on a full moon." He tucked a strand of pink hair behind her ear.
"Well at least you get to sort of experience it now," she smiled and he laughed.
"Anything to get you to smile again Nymphadora," he laughed. Tonks realized how pleasant Remus' laugh was and how addicting it sounded. "I usually wouldn't do something like this. You seem to bring out a different side to me," he commented.
"This side seems just as nice as the other," Tonks commented. "And Remus you've got to stop calling me Nymphadora."
"I can't, I think it's getting stuck," he teased, feeling young again even under the moon.
Tonks glowed as she danced with him. She'd never expect that her last dance at Hogwarts would turn out like that. She always thought she'd spend the night with Evan, but being with Remus gave her a much warmer, tender feeling than Evan ever did.
"This is…a wonderful way to spend my last dance. I feel so special," she smiled.
"I'm glad you saved the last dance for me then," Remus teased.
Her dream suddenly ended when Tonks wanted it to last forever. It was that night that Tonks realized she was falling for Remus Lupin, all because of his inability to do nothing when he saw her cry. Tonks woke up in the morning, her body feeling weird, as if she yearned for something, warmth perhaps. She rolled over on her empty bed, nearly falling on the floor. Sitting up and rubbing her eyes awake, Tonks yawned and forced herself into the bathroom. Once she was done and her work robes were all set, she made her way downstairs. That morning she took a quick glance around the warzone of a house and made a mental note to herself to clean the place up before her partial OCD cousin returned, otherwise Alexis would reach a breaking point and end up cleaning the house inside and out for a whole week.
Tonks' eyes fell on the cool, charming face of a young man three years older than her, age twenty-five. Cold, baby blue eyes met hers and gave her a flirtatious look that if given four years ago, Tonks' knees might just have buckled. She gave them a quick, uninterested glance, unaffected by his charm as she flashed him a smile.
"Did you have a bad night's sleep dear?" Evan asked in a sickly smooth and haughty voice with innuendo as he wrapped his long, muscular arms around her.
Tonks shook her head. She didn't feel protected in his hold, she felt absolutely nothing. "Evan why are you over so early in the morning and how'd you get in?"
"You left the door open," he smirked. It was a sly, attractive smirk, one with a hidden agenda that Tonks had gotten used to when they were dating but now, she was kind of sick of it. "I came over early to see if you were free for lunch or dinner. We need to have another meeting with my parents. They want to choose a name already," he sighed.
"I'm not too sure when I'll be home though. Work's been pretty busy lately," Tonks replied. "Besides, names already? I don't even know if it'll be a boy or a girl."
"I just hope the baby will be a metamorphmagus like you though," Evan smiled and kissed her cheek. "It's quite a useful ability to have."
Tonks rolled her eyes. She didn't know if she should take it as a compliment or not.
"Do you want me to walk you to your work place?"
"I don't mind. I don't want to trouble you Evan," Tonks replied, trying to be happy.
"Let's go then. I need to pay a visit to Dolores Umbridge anyways. We've got something to discuss," Evan smiled as he put his arm around Tonks' waist, pulling her a bit forcefully closer to him as he once again proved to her that he was the dominant one in their relationship and soon to be marriage as well. Tonks only rolled her eyes and rubbed her abdomen.
When they arrived at the Ministry, Tonks parted with her fiancé with a simple, dry goodbye kiss on the lips as Evan headed for Dolores Umbridge's office while Tonks headed for the farm of cubicles the Auror department was. After Evan had left her, Tonks remembered the few pointless conversation topics she'd had with Remus the night before while sitting beside his fire and chatting. A smile danced across her face as she made her way down to her own cubicle, smiling and greeting many of her fellow Aurors along the way.
"Tonks, I need you to ask Mad-Eye if he can take this case for me," Kingsley Shacklebolt suddenly spoke, pulling Tonks back as he sifted through a large pile of papers. Kingsley was a tall, black wizard with broad shoulders, bald, and a gold loop earring that sometimes made him look like a pirate. He had an oddly deep and reassuring voice however, and hearing him speak somehow made Tonks' burden lighten a bit.
She laughed and shook her head. "Mad-Eye's retired Kingsley," she reminded him. The poor guy hadn't gotten used to not having Mad-Eye Moody around the office screaming constant vigilance every five minute just yet.
A disappointed look crossed the black wizard's face. "Aw, well you wouldn't be able to take this report over for me would you?" he smiled hopefully.
"I nearly forgot," Tonks teased as she nodded. "Kingsley Shacklebolt hates paperwork."
"Ain't that a fact," Kingsley nodded and handed her a file. "I just need you to take this down to the Beast Division on level four and return this to Sierra Rhodes and tell her she made a mistake with some of the names," he briefed. "Tonks are you ok? You look a little pale."
"I'm always pale King," she lied and smiled through tired eyes. "That's all?"
"That's all. See you later Tonks," he grinned and weaved around her, leaving.
Tonks didn't take a second glimpse at the file in her hand. She decided that she was going to drop off her pile of reports and robes in her cubicle first before journeying over to the Beast Division where she was sure Sierra already hated her enough for various reasons. As Tonks neared her cubicle, she quirked an eyebrow towards the commotion. There were two people standing at the entrance to her cubicle. One was a very beautiful woman, twenty-three, with soft but defined features, looking as muggle as a witch could ever look in her simple black designer flannel and white skinny jeans. Her hair was black but with blonde highlights, a result of her rebellious nature during school, and the pixie like woman was waving her arms frantically trying talking to another wizard, a face Tonks had seen before around Dolores Umbridge's company.
"Non, non. Vous ne comprenez pas! Je n'ai pas besoin d'un traducteur qui ne parlent même pas anglais correct!" Alexis spoke quickly to the man.
"But mademoiselle, Madame Umbridge zed dat it v'ould be feeting for you to be accompanied by y translator du'ing yur veesit 'er," the man replied in a heavily accented voice.
Tonks' eyebrows shot up and realized why her dear cousin Lexi had reverted into speaking French to the man. She could barely understand him as it is. Tonks must have caught the two people's attention when Alexis' eyes fell on her and she was flashed one of the brightest grins of the century.
"Tonks!" Alexis beamed her airy angelical voice high. "You're late," she laughed.
"Mademoiselle," the man spoke again, regaining her attention.
"Go tell Umbridge that Alexis Black does not need a translator who can't even speak proper English! Good day monsieur!" She then turned to Tonks. "The Toad's watching me."
The man huffed and stormed away, heading towards the lifts for Umbridge's office no doubt. Tonks turned to her cousin and couldn't hold herself back from laughing. They pulled each other into a tight, sisterly hug as Alexis spoke something in French so fast Tonks couldn't even understand what sort of words came out of her mouth. She knew her cousin was witty but to pick up on a language so fast, she was a complete natural for the romance language!
"Lexi slow down," Tonks laughed a bit softer than normal. "You're speaking French."
"Sorry," Alexis laughed. "I'm just so happy to see you! And aren't you glad that I don't have an accent like him?" she teased, pointing in the direction the man went. "Anyways, I forgot to inform you but you're coming with me for the day."
"I'm happy to see you too cuz and what?" Tonks replied, completely surprised.
"I already got it through with that Scrimgeour guy. As a lawyer, I have the option to request an Auror to aid me in my work, and it just so happens that I was able to pull a couple strings for you to be the Auror assigned to me," she winked. "Though I was a bit surprised when I jumped into the office, hoping to surprise Mad-Eye Moody and scream constant vigilance in his face, but I ended up with Rufus Scrimgeour. Why didn't you tell me Mad-Eye retired?"
Tonks shook her cousin slightly. Being away from Alexis for so long, she'd forgotten that the girl, though not spared of the many Black family genes passed down through her father, she still was also a motor mouth. The girl could speak faster than the Knight Bus could go.
"Lexi breathe!" Tonks cut her off. "What's this case I'm accompanying you in?"
Alexis leaned in closer to Tonks. "Nothing," she whispered and smirked. "I already got that handled," she laughed quietly and pulled back. Tonks should have expected it. Alexis never needed help with her work, being the devoted lawyer that she was. Her smirk made Tonks smile however, missing her dear cousin and the way her smirk gave off an aristocratic hauteur but was deep and somewhat meaningful as well in certain situations.
"Merlin I missed you," Tonks grinned. "So I get the day off?"
"Not quite," Lexi replied in a more mature tone. "You're taking the day off to explain to me what exactly happened with that letter you sent me. Sorry I would have waited until you got off work, but I honestly don't want to stay in Britain any longer than I have to."
"I understand," Tonks nodded, knowing clear and well that Alexis didn't even want to come back if not for her utter confusion and worry about Tonks' love life that desperately needed help and guidance. "Let me drop this file off and we can go home to talk."
"Tonks what's with all the commotion?" a soft and cheerful voice asked.
Tonks and Alexis both turned to see the shocked expression of a lean, slim and slender woman with sharp features and beautiful dark brown hair in sharp curls. She was Evelyn Stronghold, a long time friend of Tonks and Alexis and had once come close to becoming Alexis' sister-in-law. A wide, joyous grin broke across her face as she jumped and hugged Alexis tightly, definitely not expecting the Black to return so unexpectedly.
"Alexis!" she shrieked so loud the whole Auror department stopped momentarily.
"You're choking me," Lexi gasped, struggling to get out of the bear hug.
"Oh my goodness dear," Evelyn smiled. Though she was in her early thirties, she was still as hyper and bubbly as ever. "When did you return and what are you doing here?"
"I actually just got back this morning. I'm here on an emergency visit to my dear cuz."
Evelyn made a little pout. "So you won't be staying here long?"
Lexi shook her head apologetically. She looked like she wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible, not wanting to be questioned by Evelyn, her ex-fiancé's older sister. "I'll be returning to France as soon as literally possible. Hell, I'd apparate back if I have to. Err, it's lovely to see you again Eve. But I sort of have somewhere important to go," she smiled.
Tonks suddenly found herself being pulled away from her cubicle. Luckily she'd managed to grab the folder Kingsley asked her to deliver before she stumbled behind Lexi, falling gracelessly into the lift. Tonks groaned and pushed herself up, glaring at her cousin and silently demanding an explanation as to why she'd been pulled out of her own cubicle when she hadn't even gotten the chance to sit down yet.
"Sorry cuz," Lexi smiled apologetically. "Eve is Deacon's older sister and if we didn't leave in about three seconds she was going to talk to me about him and I don't really want to be reminded of the past right now. Like I said, once I'm certain of what's going on with you, I'll be out of Britain faster than the Knight Bus could arrive."
"Alright," Tonks sighed, rubbing her forearm. "We'll find some place to talk, but I need to deliver this file to the Beast Division first. Accompany me there?"
"If she doesn't I will," Evan's haughty voice sounded as he walked into the lift. "I didn't expect to see you back so soon Alexis," he spoke, smirking at her.
Lexi glared at the man. She obviously didn't approve of Tonks' fiancé, knowing him all too well from their school years and knowing what he'd done to her beloved cousin before. Lexi crossed her arms and gave him an icy glare. "No worries, I'll be out of here before you know it."
"Be sure to come back to our wedding though," he smirked, taking Tonks' hand possessively as he openly checked Alexis out from head to toe. "You've lost weight."
"Gee, how bluntly nice of you," she replied. Tonks knew that arrogant stance was passed down from the Black family and only sighed at the disapproval she already got from her cousin.
The wrought golden grills to the lift slid open just as an icy mechanical voice announced that they had arrived at level four of the Ministry of Magic. Tonks was quickly heading for the Beast Division to get the case into Sierra's hand, eager to leave with her cousin. Evan had his arm lightly around Tonks' waist while glancing at Alexis who walked on the other side of Tonks, still wearing her icy expression from seeing him.
"Will you ladies be free for lunch today?" he asked in a flirty voice.
"Sorry Evan," Tonks replied dryly. "Lexi and I have some catching up to do."
"That's too bad. How about dinner then?" he asked, smirking. "I want to inform your dear cousin of the happy news," Evan smiled, his grin looking like the devil in Tonks' eyes.
"There's more happy news?" Alexis asked skeptically as she eyed Tonks.
"We'll talk later," Tonks whispered to her.
"I've got my cousin booked for dinner if you don't mind Evan," Alexis smirked.
"How can I help you today?" Sierra Rhodes asked in a happy voice until her eyes fell on Tonks and Evan. "Oh it's you," she snarled. "What do you need?"
Tonks handed her the file and couldn't wait to get out of there soon enough. "Kingsley told me to give this to you. He said you made some mistakes with the names."
"Oh so you're onto Kingsley now?" Sierra sneered.
"What are you talking about?" Tonks asked but then rolled her eyes.
Alexis simply crossed her arms and shook her head, massaging her temples with one hand as she was beginning to get an idea of what sort of situation her dear cousin had gotten herself in to. She feared she was going to have to stay in Britain a bit longer than expected.
Tonks was about to leave when the black door beside the counter suddenly opened. Curious, she turned around just to glance, but her eyes lingered a little bit longer when she saw Remus Lupin walking out. He wore a threadbare overcoat over shabby jumper and trousers, running a hand through his light brown hair while wearing a tired expression on his face and sighed heavily. Tonks suddenly turned around to greet him and smiled. She noticed that his deep blue eyes lit up significantly when he saw her.
"Nymphadora!" he smiled. "I didn't expect to see you today." Remus' eyes fell on the man who stood beside Tonks with his arms possessively around her waist. He sighed inwardly to himself, realizing how fitting the couple looked together and that he should get over his feelings for her. Remus had already decided that he would say nothing about how he felt for her, and so should start truly being happy for her for finding someone else. He forced a smile on his face, while secretly wishing he was in the man's place. "That should be me," he thought.
Tonks smiled as Remus walked over. "Me neither," she smiled. "Guess who's back."
"Alexis!" Remus grinned, greeting her and shaking her hand kindly. "Glad you're back!"
"Aw Remus I missed you," Lexi smiled kindly, forgetting about the thorn at her side that Evan was being. "How have you been?" she asked with a bit of worry.
"Better. Thanks for your encouraging letter," he smiled. "Oh…and you are?"
"Evan Rosier," Evan smiled arrogantly as he and Remus shook hands. "Nymphadora's fiancé," he added, smirking a bit snidely at the kind man. "I didn't know you're friends."
"Don't call me Nymphadora," Tonks warned with a bit of edge in her voice as she glared at him. Tonks noticed Alexis crossed her arm again and was contemplating something. She chose to ignore it and turned to introduce Remus. "Remus Lupin. Now, what are you doing here?"
"I had to go complete the paperwork after what happened at Hogwarts, you know," he replied in a gentle, tired voice. Normally Remus would be opposed to people knowing he's a werewolf, but since it's been placed on the Daily Prophet, he could no longer hide.
"You're friends with a werewolf?" Evan asked, his eyes growing cold towards Remus.
"Yeah, something wrong with that?" Tonks replied sternly. "Remus here happens to be a very good friend of mine," she spoke in a voice daring him to challenge her.
Suddenly, Evan smirked which caused and steely snicker to come from Alexis. "Lovely," Evan replied. "I hope he could attend our engagement party then. This August. We haven't decided on a certain date yet though. But you are officially invited Mr. Lupin," he smirked again.
"Err, thank you Mr. Rosier," Remus replied a bit uncomfortably. "I have to go now. Have a good day Nymphadora," he smiled. "You too Alexis, drop by if you can."
"Actually," Lexi suddenly spoke up, a grin crossing her face as she gave Evan what looked like an I-dare-you-to-counter-me smirk. "Remus I was wondering if you're free and we could sit down and have a drink later?"
"I have some appointments scheduled all throughout today," Remus frowned. "But I'll be free all day tomorrow if you'd like to drop by. There's also something I want to discuss with you girls as well," he smiled softly.
"That sounds great!" Alexis grinned. Tonks quirked an eyebrow. She thought Lexi was getting out of Britain as soon as she could. No matter, Tonks kept quiet. "We'll see you tomorrow Remus. Tonks has a day off tomorrow as well I'm sure."
After Remus left, Alexis turned to face Tonks and gave her that look Tonks recognized. She knew she might have to skip lunch and dinner explaining to her cousin what had exactly happened, or at least try to. Alexis had a stubborn nature to her and she was one of the few people who could press Tonks into truthfully revealing anything without the use of magic or Veritaserum. It was all in her eyes that bore straight through Tonks' defensive barrier, a trait perhaps many of the Black family possessed, even Tonks' mother.
As you've noticed...Tonks is a little dreary and less cheerful than she'd normally in this first chapter. Spoiler: It will change, but there's a reason for her dreariness. I've already dropped a huge hint somewhere ;D
So tell me what you think. Good? Bad? Terrible? Shoot me? (sorry don't own a gun)