At five minutes before six that evening, Tonks found herself once more at Mad-Eye’s doorstep, reciting her security question and hearing the locks click. Once the door opened, she followed Mad-Eye, passing through the double doors into the sitting room where she saw Dumbledore and Kingsley waiting.

“Nymphadora,” Dumbledore said pleasantly, motioning for her to take a seat in the chair across from him. “Right on time, my dear.”

“I’m in, sir,” Tonks stated.

“Wonderful!” Dumbledore smiled broadly at her. “Might I ask if there was something in particular that aided in your decision?”

“I went ‘round to my parent’s house today for tea-- I didn’t say anything specific to them.” Dumbledore waved his hand airily at her, and she understood that he trusted she had kept her word. “I was watching them sit and chat about the rubbish in the Prophet, and it hit me, sir. My dad, he’s a Muggle-born, and my mum willingly took being disowned by her mad pure-blood family so she could marry him. Took a lot of courage, it did…they fought back in their own way, you see? I want to fight back in my way.”

“Indeed, Nymphadora. I daresay, we may need your parents as allies at some point, but we will see to that when the time comes,” Dumbledore said. “Now, there is much to say before our meeting this evening. Things you need to know before we proceed. Some things will be a shock, I’m sure, but I need you to listen now. There will be a time for you to ask questions.”

Tonks nodded her head.

“First, Voldemort is back. Harry Potter witnessed his re-birth, fought him in a duel, and narrowly escaped with his life.” Tonks was not shocked by this news. To hear it put so plainly by Dumbledore was almost a comfort compared to the uncertainty she felt from the Minister’s claims.

“Second, there is a prophecy about Harry and Lord Voldemort that Voldemort desperately wants in his grasp. We must not let that happen. As a member of The Order, you will be aiding in guarding both Harry and The Prophecy.” It occurred to Tonks, as Dumbledore mentioned guard shifts, that she was going to have to be clever to make this work with her job. She glanced at Kingsley, who nodded to her encouragingly.

“The last bit of information I have to relay tonight pertains to your cousin, Sirius Black.” Tonks raised her eyebrows in slight surprise as she waited for Dumbledore to reveal how her convict cousin had anything to do with The Order. “Sirius is innocent. Framed by a person we thought to be dead for thirteen years.”

Tonks stared at Dumbledore with a look of shock on her face. “Sirius Black is innocent?” Tonks asked, shifting her gaze from Dumbledore to Kingsley, and back to Dumbledore again. “Then why isn’t it known, sir? Why is the Auror office still hunting him?” Tonks wasn’t sure why she was taking this bit of news from Dumbledore so quickly at face value, especially since for most of her life she had known her second cousin to be a murderer. Something about her old headmaster made her believe and trust what he said; aside from her parents Tonks was sure she didn’t trust anybody else in this world more than she trusted Albus Dumbledore.

“Ah, a fetching tale for when we have more time,” Dumbledore said, rising to his feet. He handed Tonks a small slip of parchment. “Keep that parchment with you, as you will need it shortly. I expect you have some questions for these gentlemen, so I will therefore leave you in their capable hands. I have a few tasks that need tended to before our meeting tonight.” Dumbledore turned toward Mad-Eye and Kingsley. “Alastor, Kingsley, please fill Nymphadora in on the details, and bring her to Headquarters promptly at 8 o’clock.” Dumbledore exited the room swiftly, leaving Tonks, Kingsley, and Mad-Eye in the sitting room, staring quietly at one another for a few moments.

“So, You-Know-Who’s actually back, there’s some bloody prophecy to worry about, and Sirius Black is innocent.” Tonks broke the silence, smiling. “And here I thought my lunch break was odd….this takes it to a new level.” Mad-Eye shook his head while Kingsley smiled at his colleague. “You know,” she said looking suddenly thoughtful. “Mum never really believed Sirius murdered all those people. Cried for ages when they took him to Azkaban; she wrote letters to the Ministry constantly until they got shirty with her and told her to stop. Reckon she never actually stopped writing. Told Dad she stopped so he wouldn’t think she was still bothering herself silly over it anymore.”

“Touching,” Mad-Eye said gruffly. “We’ve got a lot to discuss before the meeting so let’s stop cryin’ in our tea and get on with it.”

“First off, Mad-Eye,” Tonks said, smiling. “You never served me tea. Second, I did not shed one tear. But you’re quite right, let’s get on with the discussion. I was crap at Divination so let’s start with this prophecy business.”

Tonks sat and listened, asking questions here and there, for over an hour. Mad-Eye and Kingsley explained the prophecy Voldemort overheard about the Potters, and how Harry or Voldemort were the only two who could retrieve it. They explained about Peter Pettigrew being the Potter’s actual Secret Keeper, and how his betrayal led to their deaths. They told her about Sirius Black’s Animagus form and his escape from both Azkaban and the Dementors. Mad-Eye also told her some of the names of other members of The Order she would be meeting tonight. “You’ll be meeting Sturgis Podmore, Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Hestia Jones, a few of the Weasleys, Remus Lupin--,”

“Remus Lupin? You mean the bloke who taught at Hogwarts and had to leave cos he’s a werewolf?” Tonks asked.

“That’s the one. Wasn’t sacked, mind. Dumbledore would have kept him on, you see, but Lupin insisted on resigning,” Mad-Eye said with a huff. “Fool of a lad let the whole thing get to him.”

“You know him well, then?”

“That’s right. Served with him in the First Order.” Mad-Eye’s tone seemed to soften, as if he was speaking of Lupin as a dear family member. “Good man, Lupin. His life’s been a long run of tough shakes. Had some good years while he was at Hogwarts, but it’s been tough goin’ ever since. They were all friends, you see; Lupin, James Potter, Sirius, and even that rat, Pettigrew. Lupin lost everything the night the Potters died and Sirius went to Azkaban.”

Tonks looked at Mad-Eye with a slightly surprised expression. He rarely spoke openly about people he cared about. Giving his head a slight shake, as if to bring him out of his thoughts, he looked at Tonks and spoke with his usual gruff tone. “That’s enough of that. We’ve still got things to discuss before we leave.”

A half an hour before eight o’clock, Mad-Eye decided they had discussed enough. It was time to leave for Headquarters. They headed out the door, pausing for Mad-Eye to set his complicated locks and walked to the side garden. Kingsley reached out his arm for Tonks to hold.

They arrived, for once, with a smooth landing for Tonks. “Thanks, mate,” she said to Kingsley. “Maybe you should Side-Apparate me everywhere so I have more of a chance of staying on my feet.”

“Have you got the parchment Dumbledore gave you?” Kingsley.

“I do,” Tonks replied, removing the small slip from the pocket of her robes. She read it and looked up at the two men. “Wicked, a Fidelius Charm. Is Dumbledore our Secret-Keeper?”

“Just think over what you read so we can get under cover,” Mad-Eye said gruffly.

Tonks took a look around the street where they had Apparated. There was an unkempt square across the street, shabby door fronts with peeling paint, rubbish here and there around the steps. “This looks like a right depressing old neighborhood. Who do you reckon is going to attack us here, Mad-Eye? The bloke on the corner sleeping it off under a blanket, or the bag lady pushing her trolley through the square?”

“Either one could be a Death Eater in disguise.”
Tonks rolled her eyes a bit at Mad-Eye’s paranoia, but closed her eyes and read through in her mind the words on the parchment. The headquarters for The Order of the Phoenix is located at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. As she opened her eyes Tonks saw the door fronts of number 11 and number 13 move aside to accommodate a door labeled 12. They walked up the steps to the front door, Kingsley looking behind him speaking a warning to Tonks. “When we walk in, make sure you’re quiet. As hard as it is for you, try not to fall on your arse.”

“Because quiet and me get along so brilliantly.”

Walking into the dark, musty hall, Tonks started to ask Kingsley where they were when she caught her toe, lurched forward and landed hard on her hands and knees with a loud thump. “Bugger, that hurt!” she yelled, looking around for the offending obstacle. As Kingsley turned back to help her up from the floor, Tonks heard a loud wailing voice behind her.


Before Kingsley could help her to her feet, Tonks had shifted to Auror mode. She deftly sprang to her feet, wand drawn, scanning the hall for her opponent. Her eyes settled on the portrait hanging in the entry hall that seemed to be the source of the noise.

“Are you completely incapable of keeping your two feet on the ground?” Kingsley shouted over the noise of the portrait, who was continuing to wail her tirade.

Mad-Eye stumped forward and attempted to pull a set of black curtains over the portrait.

“You know perfectly well I’m as likely to fall on my arse as I am not to!” Tonks yelled as she heard footsteps loudly thumping from somewhere in the house. “And why the ruddy hell is my loony old Great Aunt screaming obscenities at me?” The disembodied footsteps turned out to be two men running through the hall, rushing to help Mad-Eye subdue the portrait. “All the talking you two idiots did tonight, and you didn’t see fit to mention that we would have a run-in with a mad portrait who seems to hate me?”

“We should have warned you about the portrait. But, seeing how I’m not keen on being on the receiving end of your wand, do you think you could lower it?” Kingsley asked.

Tonks lowered her wand to her side and realized that there were two new people in the hall with them. Since the portrait had finally stopped screaming, Tonks turned to see who had joined them. The shorter of the two men, who had long dark hair and striking grey eyes, spoke up.

“Shape-shifting freak, eh? You should count yourself lucky….usually my mother saves that lovely string of insults for Moony here.”

“Sirius Black,” Tonks said in an even voice, taking in the appearance of her second cousin. “You know, I should hex you. Mum cried for a month after you were locked away.”

“Nymphadora Tonks,” Sirius said with a smile on his drawn, but still attractive face. “Please apologize to your mother for me. She was the only member of the Black family I really ever cared for.”

“Hopefully soon I’ll be able to bring her your apology. In the meantime, call me Nymphadora again, and I’ll hex your bollocks off,” Tonks said with a grin, placing her wand back inside her robes. “Just call me Tonks.”

“Tonks, then,” Sirius said smiling even broader, as he reached out to shake her hand. “I reckon Dumbledore’s right. You’re just what we need around here.” Sirius clapped a hand on the taller man’s shoulder. “This old man is my mate, Remus Lupin.”

Tonks looked to the man next to Sirius and saw a handsome, friendly face that gave her a slight grin. She felt herself returning his grin and reached out to shake his hand, not paying attention to what the others were saying around her. There was something about him that made her not want to turn away from his gaze. Tonks took in his features—scars and lines on his face, shaggy brown hair flecked with grey that hung across his forehead, eyes that appeared slightly guarded yet friendly as the smile reached them. This is Remus Lupin, the werewolf? Wearing a dress shirt and tie under his wizard robes Tonks thought he looked more like a scholar than a Dark creature.

“Are you going to hold his hand all night or can we move down to the kitchen?” Mad-Eye’s voice finally shook her from her thoughts.

“Jealous are you? I could hold your hand later if you want.” Tonks gave a quick wink to Mad-Eye before turning back to Lupin. “Nice to meet you, Remus Lupin.”

“Tonks.” Lupin nodded his head slightly at Tonks and released her hand.

The group headed for the basement kitchen where the meeting would take place. Tonks walked through the door, and saw a fair number of people already gathered. An odd assortment of wizards and witches, most of whom were much older than Tonks, sat chatting in groups around the kitchen. There were some, such as the Weasleys and Mundungus Fletcher, who she recognized right away. She was in the same year at Hogwarts as the Weasley’s son Charlie, and had visited The Burrow a few times over school holidays. And Mundungus Fletcher was involved in enough back-alley deals that there wasn’t an Auror in the department that hadn’t dealt with him at one time or another. Tonks was surprised to see him here as an Order member. She’d have to remember to ask Mad-Eye about that later.

“Wotcher, Dung.” Mundungus was sitting, leaned back in his chair, talking to Bill Weasley. At Tonks’ greeting he looked up, his eyes wide in surprise, and promptly fell back in his chair, crashing to the ground.

“What the bleedin’ ‘ell are you doin’ ‘ere? I ain’t sellin’ me goods or causin’ no trouble!” Dung said, gathering himself off the floor.

“Keep your knickers on, I’m not here to arrest you today.”

“Calm down, Dung. Tonks can’t beat you up here at Headquarters.” Kingsley laughed as he sat at the table. “She’s the new recruit.”

“Are you afraid of the adorable little pink haired lady, Dung?” Sirius asked as he took a seat across from Kingsley.

“All I’m sayin’s don’t pick a fight wi’ that one, Sirius.” Mundungus said with a scowl, picking himself and his chair off the floor.

“Tonks, I think you should come sit with me, and tell me why Dung here is afraid of you,” Sirius said, pulling out a chair.

“Let me give Molly Weasley a hug first, then I’ll tell you what happened when Dung threw a Stinging Jinx at me while I was arresting one of his so-called business partners.”

Tonks went to greet Molly, who was speaking with Professor Minerva McGonagall. They all chatted for a few moments, and Tonks promised to visit Molly later in the week to catch up properly over tea. Feeling excited for the meeting to get under way, she went to sit down next to Sirius to wait.

Just as she sat down, the door of the basement kitchen opened. Tonks looked up at the new arrival hoping it was Dumbledore. To her surprise, through the door came Severus Snape. Black robes billowing behind him, looking exactly as Tonks remembered from her time at Hogwarts: black brooding eyes, greasy black hair falling to his shoulders, hooked nose, and the ever-present scowl on his face. His eyes scanned the room, taking inventory of the people crowded throughout the kitchen, his eyes finally falling on Tonks.

“Nymphadora Tonks,” Snape addressed her with a sneer, his eyes scanning over her. “You’re the new recruit Dumbledore mentioned being in attendance this evening? I see you continue to do ridiculous things to your hair.”

“Ah, Professor Snape,” Tonks returned brightly. “I haven’t seen you much since my Hogwarts days and yet, I see you continue to be a grumpy old tosser.”

Sirius howled with loud, bark-like laughter. “I was going to come to your defense, Tonks, but it seems you scarcely need my help! First Dung, now Snape….I think you’re my new favorite person.”

Snape glared at Sirius, his black eyes alight with anger. “Good to see your house-sitting is going well, Black,” Snape said in a menacing voice. “What an amazing service you provide to The Order.” Snape swept past them to a seat in the corner.

“You’ll find that Tonks rarely needs someone coming to her defense,” said Kingsley, in what seemed like an attempt to distract Sirius from Snape’s comment. “Tell me, Tonks, why does Snape get the pleasure of calling you ‘Nymphadora’?”

“Fair point, Kingsley,” Sirius chimed in. “You threatened to hex my bollocks off not ten minutes ago if I made the mistake of using your lovely name.”

“Didn’t you know? Professor Snape is scary.” Tonks said with a smile, tossing a pointed look at Snape sitting in the corner with a scowl on his face.

“I have a hard time seeing you bullied by a professor, Tonks.” Kingsley said with a smirk.

“Well, you’re right about that,” Tonks said. “It really all came down to common sense. You see, our dear professor used to issue me a detention for speaking out of turn each time I asked him to call me ‘Tonks’ instead of ‘Miss Tonks’. He also issued a detention each time my hair displeased him, which was almost always. So, I decided to let him call me ‘Nymphadora Tonks’ in order to spend less time in detention. I certainly was not going to stop morphing my hair since I knew it wound him up.”

Remus, who had so far been quietly watching the interactions going on around him, finally spoke up. “Smart decision, Tonks. Perhaps if Sirius had been that pragmatic he would have spent less time in detention.” Tonks smiled at Remus across the table.

“Unlikely, Mr. Lupin,” Dumbledore said as he entered the room. “Mr. Black seemed unable to keep himself out of detention for even a week’s time no matter what. I must say it seems to be a Black family trait.” Dumbledore gave Tonks a wink.

The arrival of Dumbledore called for the meeting to begin. Various reports were given by different members of The Order. Mundungus was actually able to, much to Tonks’ surprise, give a report on the word on the street from some of his “business associates”. She learned that within the Ministry, herself, Kingsley, and Arthur were needed to both spy for The Order as well as keep a close watch for people they think would be sympathetic to their cause. There were missions Dumbledore was planning for tracking known Death Eaters and trying to locate those who were still missing; he would assign those missions around guard duty as they came up. She also learned that with every mission, each member was assigned a check-in person to confirm the mission ended safely. Written reports could be left at headquarters for Dumbledore, with other relevant reports of day-to-day findings given at Order meetings.

Molly Weasley was in charge of the duty schedule for guarding Harry, as well as night guard of the Hall of Mysteries. According to the schedules Molly passed out, Tonks’ first guard duty of The Prophecy would be the following evening. Tonks thought her cleverness at balancing her job with Order duties would be quickly put to the test while trying not to fall asleep at her desk after being up all night.

After all of the necessary reports were given, and Dumbledore was finished speaking of mission procedures and upcoming missions, Tonks was introduced. Dumbledore explained to the group what her role would be, and revealed what he thought were her qualifications that had earned her a spot in The Order (receiving a huff of impatience from the corner where Snape sat). Tonks turned toward the corner, scrunched her face in concentration and morphed her pixie hair from pink to black, and her nose to an exact replica of Snape’s. She threw him a smile before facing forward to pay attention, leaving her Snape features in place. Dumbledore caught sight of her new appearance and gave a cough in order to conceal his chuckle.

The meeting came to a close with Dumbledore announcing the next meeting date for the following week. Sirius turned to Tonks, looking ready to start chatting, when he caught sight of her Snape-like features. He took in her appearance for a moment before throwing his head back in a roar of laughter. Snape rose from his seat, muttering “fool of a girl” in a low voice, before he swept from the kitchen like an irritated bat...

Molly bustled about, insisting that people stay long enough for a cup of tea. Tonks thought she would stay long enough to talk over one cup and then head home. Especially since she had to follow her work the next day with her first over-night guard duty.

“My dear little cousin, you’ve made my day,” Sirius declared with a large smile on his face.

“Since I’ve done you a favor and brought you humor for the day, why don’t you do me a favor before the next time I come over?”

“Anything you want. Especially if you can wind up Snape again at the next meeting!”

“Well, I can’t promise you anything there,” Tonks said, morphing her nose and hair back. “But if you move that ill-placed piece of furniture in the entry that sent me to the floor, I’ll see what I can do.”

“The troll leg? A Black family heirloom, that is. In which case I will gladly cast an Incendio Charm in its direction,” Sirius said with a grin.

“No need to burn the house down, I just need it moved.”

“You’re not planning on making another grand entrance?” Remus asked, his lips turning up in amusement.

“Well, Remus, as much fun as that was, I think I’d prefer not to be verbally abused every time I walk through the front door.” Tonks smiled back, rising from her seat. “Now, if you boys will excuse me, I’m going to see if Molly needs any help.”

Tonks helped Molly prepare tea for the group, managing to break only one cup in the process, which Molly quickly put right with a flick of her wand. She decided to introduce herself to some of the other Order members. Tonks realized as she moved through the room that she actually recognized a few people, and was able to put faces to the names Mad-Eye had recited earlier. She chatted with Hestia Jones, who, being a Healer at St. Mungo’s, had helped her before with an Auror-related injury. Emmeline Vance, she realized, owned a rather fussy little shop in Diagon Alley that sold fancy tea sets; Tonks had never set foot inside the store for fear of upsetting every piece of ceramic in the shop. She said a quick, polite “hello” to Sturgis Podmore and Dedalus Diggle, who were having an animated chat with Bill Weasley about Goblins.

As Tonks walked through the kitchen she felt someone’s eyes following her. Looking around as she moved through the different groups she caught Remus watching her. She gave him a small smile as they made eye contact. The smile he gave in return seemed shy, almost boyish. Yet Tonks thought his scars and grey streaked hair showed he had lived beyond his thirty or so years. He was so quiet and reserved, barely saying anything the whole evening; she found herself feeling shocked that this mild man was a werewolf. Of course, she knew how Ministry portrayed werewolves: savage, blood-thirsty beasts that didn’t deserve the same rights as other wizards. But this man seemed to be about as savage as a Niffler. Tonks wasn’t so foolish that she didn’t understand he actually did turn into something quite dangerous once a month, but her first impression of him was that he was probably the most cautious werewolf alive.
Tonks made her way back across the kitchen, heading toward the table where Remus was sitting with Mad-Eye, Sirius, Kingsley, and Arthur Weasley. In true Tonks form, she caught her boot on a raised piece of stone on the kitchen floor, fell forward, and landed sprawled in Mad-Eye’s lap.

“Oof! Thanks for the soft landing, mate,” Tonks said with a smile, giving Mad-Eye a loud kiss on the cheek.

Sirius and Remus looked at the scene with amused looks on their faces, taking in the odd sight of the grizzled old Auror with a petite, pink-haired witch on his lap.

“Up you get, Tonks,” Mad-Eye said lifting her up by the waist and righting her to her feet.

“Are you always this much trouble?” Sirius asked, pulling out a chair.

“Tonks never met an object she couldn’t trip over,” Kingsley said. “But, she’s learned to stay on her feet when it counts.”

“What a lovely compliment, Kingsley. You certainly have a way with ladies,” Tonks said, punching him in the shoulder. “But, yes, it’s true. I am always this much trouble. These blokes here.” Tonks jerked her thumb at Mad-Eye and Kingsley. “Are right used to my clumsiness. It’s also true that when I’m on a mission I’m unlikely to fall flat on my face. Must be Mad-Eye’s influence. You can’t hear ‘constant vigilance’ a million times without it finally sinking in a bit.”

“You should get going soon, lass. Get some rest before your over-night guard shift tomorrow,” Mad-Eye said. “I’ll drop an invisibility cloak by your cubicle tomorrow.”

“You should come by after you’re rested from your shift and keep us old gits company,” Sirius said, indicting himself and Remus. “You can tell us all about your trouble-making ways at school. It seems like you may have had as much time in detention as I did.”

“As much as I would love to fill you in on which professor gave me the most detentions, I’ll be walking straight up to the Auror office after my shift ends for a full day of following up on Sirius Black sightings. It’ll likely be a couple of days before I come ‘round again,” Tonks said. “Perhaps you could go ahead and be sighted somewhere tropical and sunny, and I’ll get sent to check out the tip in person.”

“Tropical and sunny would be lovely, but I’m on house arrest in this terrible house, so it’s unlikely I can help,” Sirius replied, a dark look momentarily flitting across his face before settling back to a smile. “Here I was hoping you’d come cook for me! Molly’s a lovely cook, but she’s not coming back until next week when the Weasley invasion begins.”

“Is the entire Weasley family coming to stay? Don’t they have something like a dozen children?” Tonks said with a wink at Arthur, who simply shrugged his shoulders and gave her a smile. “Well, I suppose after a lie-in Saturday morning I can bring some takeaway. You certainly don’t want me to cook unless you really do wish the house to burn down.”

“Brilliant! Moony, old man, we’ve something to look forward to.” Sirius grinned and clapped Remus on the shoulder.

“Right, until then, I’m leaving you lot to go home and get some sleep,” Tonks said, rising from her chair. “Kingsley, be a dear and walk me to the front door so I don’t fall to the ground and wake up that loony bat in the portrait. I’m not keen on being told twice in one night what a shameful, shape-shifting freak I am.”

After saying a quick goodbye to the room, Tonks turned to look at Remus one last time, each of them smiling a small smile at each other. She decided she needed to get to the bottom of just who Remus Lupin really was. Werewolf? Scholar? Professor? She thought perhaps she had never met such an intriguing man before, like a puzzle she was hoping to solve.

After Kingsley walked her to the front door, Tonks giving the troll leg umbrella stand a wide berth, they stepped onto the front stoop, down the steps, and around the corner to a quiet alley in order to Disapparate. Tonks was certainly ready to get home for a night’s sleep; she couldn’t recall a day recently that had drained her as much as today. She said goodnight to Kingsley and turned on the spot, landing at the front door of her tiny flat close to the Ministry. As she let herself inside, she finally let the events of the day wash over her. Questions flooded her mind. How could she return to her job tomorrow and continue on like nothing had changed? How would she manage to keep her Order missions secret? Would she be able to balance the rigorous schedule of being an Auror and a member of The Order? The answer was she had to. She knew she had to. This cause was worth fighting for; too close to her heart for her to fail. After she’d readied herself for bed, she comforted herself with the thought that she had yet to fail at something she had put her mind to, and she didn’t reckon she would start now.

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