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Old 08-26-2006, 04:30 AM   #320 (permalink)

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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Hogwarts RPG Name:
Phoebe James
First Year

x7 x8

Ministry RPG Name:
Genevieve James
Law Enforcement

Ministry RPG Name:
Carrigan Howard
Accidents & Catastrophes
Made of Awesome | Ern-la the Best-wa | TZ's Apogee

How about a little compromise? I'll post now, but it'll be the whole update? Hehe... I unpacked my book. I had to. Anyway, this is the canon section I know you all have been mentioning. If you follow along, you'll find that course of events and dialogue is the same. I did leave out some dialogue, because I wanted to and I'm in charge. It's hard not to be sloppy since everyone already knows this scene, but I did my best.

Tonks could feel the train revving beneath her feet as she raced from one car to another. They were uniform, window following window, sliding door after door. She was certain she’d get a crick in her neck as she ran, her head jerking back and forth to check through windows on each side of the corridor.

Near the end of the train, Tonks slowed and turned for a second glance. One of the cars had the shade left down, and that single variance was enough to convince her to stop. Unless he was shoved in the loo, she had run out of options. She swung open the door, and her body sagged at the empty compartment. Another dead end. Perhaps he’d snuck off the train in his cloak, although there really wasn’t any need for such secrecy…

She could have slapped her forehead in complete self-disgust. How could she call herself an Auror when she’d forgotten that very crucial Invisibility Cloak? Pray that Proudfoot never found out… or worse yet, Dumbledore. She flicked her wand and almost smiled at the sight of Harry Potter staring angrily under the seats. Poor fearful dust bunnies.

“Wotcher, Harry,” Tonks flicked her wand again, and he was scrambling into an upright position, attempting to look dignified and grown up in spite of the dust in his hair and the blood smearing his face. Oh, to be 16 and contain that sort of righteous indignation. If she were the Tonks of a month ago, she’d have to laugh at him. There’d be no helping it, not with that ‘I meant to be Petrified and bloody on the floor’ defiant look on his face. She missed the Tonks of a month ago, for the Tonks of now couldn’t even muster a half-smile.

The train jerked once again, and this time it didn’t stop. She could feel the long slow pull of a train gathering momentum, and Tonks wasted no time heading back out into the corridor. She let Harry collect his dignity and follow at his own pace, although she wanted to herd him like a mother hen. Hopping from the moving train, Tonks turned to be sure Harry made his landing. He teetered for a moment, and Tonks glanced away before he could catch her watching.

The students were gone. The boats and carriages had all departed, and Tonks breathed in the crisp night air. It was fall. The seasons had changed, and she hadn’t noticed. It was appropriate, really. Spring felt built for new love. Summer was a time for romance. Winter was a time for endings and emptiness, and Tonks felt like winter. Merlin, she was sick of her melancholy mood.

She found herself studying Harry, studying the mess of blood smeared across the lower half of his face, studying that fire that lit those green eyes. He was a passionate one, Harry Potter. He was cursed and blessed to care about things with all he had. He loved deep, but he lost deeply. Sirius had been mad about Harry, and Tonks was only getting to see why.

“Who did it?” She forced her mind back to the present, handing over the cloak once again. Back to business.

“Draco Malfoy,” Harry nearly spit the words out. Of course! He’d been the last to leave the train, and Tonks wondered that it hadn’t occurred to her before. Her little Slytherin cousin was the devil’s own spawn, or so she heard. “Thanks for… well…”

Tonks hurried to fill in the empty space. “No problem,” her tone was business-like, designed to keep him from feeling any more embarrassment. “I can fix your nose if you stand still.” She almost did smile at the brief flash of panic on his face, but she merely waved her wand and watched his nose shift over to where it belonged. Ouch.

She nodded towards the school glimmering at them from the top of the hill. “You’d better put that cloak back on, and we can walk up to the school,” she turned from him as he hid himself. They needed to know Harry was safe in case anyone was worried, and she wanted someone waiting at the gate for them. If she had her choice, Tonks wanted it to be Hagrid. The half-giant was someone she’d come to rely on for his cheerful and unobtrusive demeanor. Plus he’d probably invite her into his cottage for some firewhiskey and let her stare morosely at her mug while he talked. Good friends didn’t let you sulk properly, but a friendly acquaintance always did.

She struggled for a long moment to come up with enough happy feelings to form the Patronus messenger, finally opting for the satisfied vindication she’d felt this afternoon when she’d told Remus off properly. Thoughts of Remus brought a different memory, and the Patronus exploded full size from her wand and loped into the dark night.

A noise of… protest? Surprise? Perhaps complete shock and disbelief. Regardless, the noise died in her throat as the Patronus that was so familiar to her, the sleek and stealthy fox, was replaced by an overly large wolf. It took focus to make her breathing stay normal, and she nearly missed Harry’s query.

“Was that a Patronus?” She couldn’t see him, but she imagined those intelligent green eyes squinting at the silvery shape. Did he know? Could he guess why her Patronus had changed shape? Did he pity her?

Her voice seemed oddly mechanical as she answered. “Yes, I’m sending word to the castle that I’ve got you or they’ll worry. Come on, we’d better not dawdle.” She redoubled her pace, and it was only by faith that she knew Harry was still at her side. He peppered her with questions about how she’d come to be on the train, and Tonks answered them in that same mechanical tone. Only a fraction of her brain was occupied by Harry’s line of questioning. The rest was considering the change in her Patronus.

He fell silent as the trail got steeper, the only sound between them was the rustle of their cloaks as they walked and Harry’s occasionally labored breathing. The gate was finally in sight, and Tonks felt nothing but relief. She could be rid of him, and rid of the nagging possibility that if her Patronus had changed, perhaps the old Tonks was dead forever.

Hagrid wasn’t waiting for them at the gate, and Tonks fell back to wait for him. She watched with disinterest as Harry attempted to take the gate down on his own, that quick temper of his rising as he tried first to charm the lock open and then became irritated by being unable to climb the wall. Tonks stared up at the castle, willing a torch to appear. Quick before he asked anymore questions or decided to curse without abandon.

“I suppose I’ll just have to sleep out here and wait for morning,” Harry finally snapped, and Tonks gave him a level look. He’d have to curb that or he could expect the same fate as Sirius. Maybe she should tell him that…

“Someone’s coming down for you. Look,” she glanced back towards the castle, and Harry followed her gaze. A torch bobbed down the long lawn, and they watched it move in silence. Tonks was sure they were both relieved to be done with each other. Still, it was no comfort to be giving him over to Snape, especially when the man looked so rapturous about it as the circle of light showed his self-satisfied smirk.

“There is no need to wait, Nymphadora, Potter is quite – ah – safe in my hands,” she imagined he’d rub his hands together in glee if he didn’t have that torch to hold tightly. Harry moved from her side to stand in the dark shadow Snape cast.

It was important that Snape realize Tonks didn’t summon him. She’d never summon him, especially not after the way he’d acted at their last meeting. She’d face death with only a bowl of potato leek soup rather than ask for his help. “I meant Hagrid to get the message,” her voice was firm, as was her expression.

“Hagrid was late for the start-of-term feast, just like Potter here, so I took it instead. And incidentally, I was interested to see your new Patronus.” She couldn’t comment, but Tonks took a step in his direction. If he dared to… The gate slammed shut inches from her face. “I think you were better off with the old one. The new one looks weak.” The sneer was clear in his voice, even if all she could see of his face in the torchlight was the hook of his nose and the breadth of his forehead.

Anger burned through Tonks, and her wand hand clenched and unclenched. She hated him. She loathed him. She loathed him and hated him and wished him death, but first some very unpleasant sort of suffering involving bubbles and the color pink. If Harry weren’t there, his glasses glinting as he regarded her solemnly, she’d probably have more than a few words for Snape, and this gate wouldn’t be enough to keep her out.

“Good night. Thanks for… everything,” Tonks was almost certain that Harry was trying to pull her attention from Snape, and it mostly worked. She nodded at him.

“See you, Harry.” They disappeared up the path, the torch bobbing smaller and smaller as they moved away from her. A bad end to a bad day. And there hadn’t even been firewhiskey.
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