“Here, Moony, everything we can get rid of goes in this pile, all right?”
It was the first night at Headquarters. Remus Lupin was quite glad to have a settled place to stay where he could be around friends and still have a safe place to transform. He was helping Sirius Black clean out the basement kitchen of his home. He levitated a chair with one leg over to the designated discard pile and sneezed as a cloud of dust overtook him.
“Oy, what was that for?” He asked his best mate. He turned around to see Sirius coated from head to toe in gray dust, coughing in a valiant attempt to expel the nastiness from his lungs.
He wiped his eyes. “Cleaning charm on the curtains bloody backfired.”
Almost without fail, Molly Weasley bellowed, “Sirius Black! Watch your language!” from somewhere inside the house.
Remus almost had to stuff his sleeve in his mouth to keep from laughing. At least Headquarters would never be short of entertainment.
Two hours later, he and Sirius had finished with the kitchen and were taking a break with a couple of Butterbeers when there was a loud crash from the front hall. Both wizards put their drinks down and pulled their wands, heading for the source of the crash. There was a woman with bright pink hair laying face down on the rug with the odious umbrella stand lying beside her.
“’salright, it’s just me,” the woman muttered, pushing herself up.
Sirius began to laugh and lowered his wand. “I’ll never understand how you passed your Auror exams.” He extended a hand to help her up, “Hello, Tonks.”
“Wotcher, Sirius. I almost failed Stealth and Tracking, cousin dear. I only passed because my examiner was asleep and didn’t notice my tripping over him.” The woman replied, taking Sirius’ hand and dusting off her robes as she stood. “Oh, hello,” she said to Remus, having just noticed him. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
He chuckled to himself, the girl was quite charming. “No, I don’t think we have.” He extended a hand, “Remus Lupin.”
She grasped it warmly, smiling. “Nymphadora Tonks. But call me Tonks, I can’t stand my first name. I love my mother but I don’t think I’ll ever understand her.” She laughed and rolled her eyes. “I don’t think anyone in our family can give a child a normal name.”
“You’re related to Sirius?” Remus questioned.
“Second cousins, or first cousins twice removed, I don’t know how you’d phrase it. In short, yes.” She blushed at her rambling.
“Then you’re right, no one can give a child a normal name. Must be a Black family curse,” Remus laughed again. He liked the girl’s spunk, even if she was a bit clumsy.
“Oy, I resent that Moony!” Sirius protested as the group moved back to the kitchen.
“Resent it you may, Padfoot, but you can’t deny that it’s true,” Remus moved to the cabinet to get Tonks a Butterbeer. She accepted it gladly.
Sirius grumbled but subsided as a flustered Molly entered the kitchen area. “Is everything alright, dears? I heard a crash!”
Tonks laid her head down on the table, her hair turning from bubblegum pink to fire engine red. “I tripped over the umbrella stand,” she muttered into the scrubbed wood table.
“Oh,” Molly smiled a little. “Hello, Tonks. It’s a wonder you didn’t wake the portrait of Sirius’ mother.”
Remus and Sirius shared a somewhat frightened look at the thought of waking Walburga Black’s screaming likeness. “Avoid her at all costs,” Sirius told his cousin.
Tonks, her hair back to normal, looked at him. “How is it that you and Mum are the only normal
people in this family?”
Everyone laughed when she realized her error in including herself in the insane portion of the Blacks.
I can’t believe I tripped over that bloody thing. Actually, I can.
Tonks hit the heel of her hand to her forehead. Way to make an impression on the man, Nymphadora.
Use of her first name with herself was restricted to times of great annoyance, such as this.
It’s not like I have a real reason to be embarrassed, I mean, he’s friends with Sirius for Merlin’s sake!
Sirius and Remus had filled in her on a few of their Hogwarts stories over dinner. It had just been the three of them and Molly and Arthur, as they were all living at Headquarters now and the Weasley children were still at school for another day. Molly had shown her to her room and said, “You may have to do a little cleaning, we tried to get everything but with men helping… There’s no telling what will happen.” The women had shared a smile before Molly left to clean up the kitchen from dinner.
And now I’m alone with my thoughts, a trunk full of personal items and a somewhat dusty room. Lovely.
As she worked on putting her clothes away and cleaned up a few minor cobwebs, her mind floated back to the topic of Remus.
She told herself firmly. You’re going to be living here and working with him. That is all. No sissy, falling in love business.
She stopped. Did I just say love?
She groaned aloud, banging her head gently against her wardrobe. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she chanted.
“I know you are but what am I?” a voice said.
Tonks jumped and pulled her wand, wheeling around to the doorway of her room. Sirius leaned against the doorframe, hands up in surrender. “What are you thinking?!” Tonks demanded. “I’m fresh out of Auror training! You’re lucky I didn’t Stun you!”
Sirius chuckled, lowering his hands. “Never surprise Aurors. They will threaten you,” he pretended to make a note on his hand. “Especially Nymphadora.”
She picked up a pair of socks from her trunk and flung them at him. “Prat. What do you want anyway?”
He threw the socks back. “Headmaster’s here. First meeting’s in about ten minutes, in the kitchen.”
Her mouth went dry. “Oh, alright.”
Sirius closed the door behind him as he left.
Do I really know what I’m getting myself into?
Three days later, Remus was wandering down one of the many hallways of Grimmauld Place looking for Sirius when he discovered Molly sorting through potion bottles in a cluttered room on the third floor. He knocked gently on the door frame so as not to startle the older woman. She turned around and smiled at him, picking up another bottle and setting to one side.
“Hello, Remus dear,” she said.
“Hullo, Molly. Might I inquire as to what you’re doing?” Remus crossed the room to stand beside her.
She gestured to the potion bottles, “Just sorting. I found them in what’s now Tonks’ room and thought I might as well go through them. I’m not leaving them around for Fred and George to find. Merlin knows that would be a nightmare!” She laughed.
Remus smiled at the thought of the pranksters finding a box of assorted potions and what trouble would assuredly ensue. “Find anything interesting?”
“Actually, yes,” she picked up a small, squat bottle with a golden stopper at the top. The liquid inside had a faint mother-of-pearl sheen to it. She held it out to Remus. “Recognize it?”
“Is that Amortentia?” He asked, remembering a long ago Potions lesson with Horace Slughorn.
“Right you are,” she smiled at him and unstoppered the container, inhaling deeply. “It’s old and weak, I doubt it would do anything to you were you to drink it, but it still has the smell.” She smiled to herself, probably thinking of Arthur.
Remus accepted the proffered bottle from her and sniffed warily. He smelled the light scent of candy floss followed by the warm scent of vanilla. He caught a whiff of a third flavor that he eventually identified as cinnamon. He handed the bottle back to Molly. “I think I’ve changed since my sixth year at Hogwarts.”
“Why’s that, dear?” She put the stopper back in the Amortentia and set it on the opposite side of her table, away from the other potions.
“I actually smelled something just now. Then, I never did,” his tone was gently perplexed.
Molly gave him a motherly smile. “You’re older now, Remus. Of course you’ve changed.” She turned back to her work, Vanishing a nasty green potion out of a tall bottle.
I know I smelled candy floss recently and I know it wasn’t at a shop.
Remus thought to himself as he wandered out of the room. He almost ran smack into Tonks.
“Oh!” She exclaimed, startled. “Wotcher, Remus.”
He laughed to himself. “Afternoon, Tonks. Have you seen your reprobate of a cousin around lately?”
“I think he’s up with the hippogriff, what’s his name again?” Remus noticed that her hair was blue today and smelled a faint whiff of a sweet perfume.
“Buckbeak. That explains why I couldn’t find him earlier. Many thanks, m’lady,” he gave a slight bow. She curtsied, inclining her head to him.
He began to walk toward the stairs as she headed off into the room he has just left when he paused. “Tonks?”
“Yes?” She turned around to face him.
“May I ask why your hair changed colors?”
Tonks laughed a little at the man with one foot on the bottom stair, his own gray-brown hair falling into his dark blue eyes. “Oh, I’m a Metamorphmagus.”
He smiled at her, “That explains it then. Good day, Nymphadora.” He turned and walked up the stairs quickly.
She barely had time to register that he had used her first name when Molly Weasley walked out of the door in front of her. “Oh! Wotcher, Molly.”
“Hello Tonks, love,” the Weasley matriarch said. She held a potion bottle filled with a silvery liquid in her hand.
“What’s that?” The younger woman inquired.
Molly removed the stopper from the bottle, “An old vial of Amortentia. It’s too weak to really cause any side effects; I was just taking it to show Arthur.” She offered the potion to Tonks. “Do you know much about love potions?”
“No, I don’t,” Tonks said, taking the Amortentia from her. She inhaled, breathing in the scent of soap, freshly dug earth and dark chocolate. The last scent niggled something in Tonks’ brain, but she pushed it aside to deal with later.
Molly smiled as she accepted the potion from her, a twinkle in her eye. “It smells differently to everyone, according to what attracts them.” She put the golden stopper back in place. “I could tell you stories about this potion that would surprise even you.”
Tonks and Molly spent the whole rest of the afternoon in deep discussion about Molly’s teenage years and stories of love potions.