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Old 09-14-2008, 02:48 AM   #537 (permalink)
Cassirin

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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
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Made of Awesome | Ern-la the Best-wa | TZ's Apogee

Sorry it's been a while, friends. I so appreciate hearing back from (New Ravenclaw) Morgan and my old friend Handy Andy last update. I plan to write this fic to completion, but it would be sure nice to know there were a few friendly faces out there. If you read from time to time but don't have anything to say, please at least wave at me so I know you all are still here.

Disclaimer: Dialogue from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince occurs in this FF. I do not own HP and I get no profit from borrowing. That is all.





Perhaps it was the mark of a bad Auror that Tonks didn’t feel worse about skipping out of her patrol to run up to Hogwarts. She had a twinge of guilt as she ducked out of the line of sight from the Scup and headed up the long hill toward the school, but it faded almost immediately as she recalled the urgency of her mission. It was about Remus, so it was her priority.

The gates were locked up tight when Tonks arrived, leaving her to pace back and forth in front of the bars. She ran her fingers along each cold metal spear before ending up in front of the crest. This was frustrating. When the Aurors had an appointment at the school, the gates were always hanging open.

In more reasonable circumstances, Tonks might have considered several different ways to get a message to Dumbledore or to get into the school. As it was, all she could think of was urgency. What was going on with Remus? She sent an indignant Patronus up the hill, demanding entrance and reprimanding whoever it encountered for keeping her out.

Maybe hours later, or perhaps just a few minutes, Tonks spotted a figure making its way slowly down the hill. Could he move any more slowly? Tonks expressed her displeasure by pacing back and forth in front of the gate until the figure turned into Argus Filch.

“Filch!” She threw herself against the gate, clinging to the bars. “What in the name of Merlin is going on here? The gate is locked up tight, and I have no way to get in. What if it had been an emergency?” The bars held fast beneath her white knuckles.

“Seems to me that in times of trouble, best thing for a gate to be is locked,” the surly man growled at her as he dangled the ring of keys from a gnarled fist.

“I’m an Auror. I’m security for the school, and I can’t get in to do my job,” she slapped at the bars again, her anger bubbling to the surface. It wasn’t just anger, either. It was frustration and fear and absolute desperation. “Filch!”

He fiddled with the lock for longer than was necessary. “Don’t suppose you have an appointment? The gates wouldn’t be locked if someone knew you were coming,” Filch seemed to smile at her, although his smile was missing a few teeth and looked more like pain than good cheer.

Tonks didn’t bother to respond. Of course she didn’t have an appointment, but Dumbledore would see her. He had to see her! Filch turned wordlessly and led the way up to the school, and it galled Tonks that he left the gate unlocked behind them. NOW it was unlocked?

They had made it all the way to the Entrance Hall before Filch spoke again. “Dumbledore isn’t here.” He grinned that horrible grimace again.

“Where is he?” Tonks’ voice rose to an undignified squeak. “You should have said.”

“Don’t know rightly, and you didn’t ask,” Filch cackled as he left her there, turning to head down towards his office. He’d been an awful and frightening man when Tonks’ attended Hogwarts, and he still was. She crossed her arms across her chest and headed up the stairs toward Dumbledore’s office, hoping Filch was wrong.

He wasn’t. The gargoyles argued back when Tonks tried to find out about where Dumbledore had gone and when he’d get back, and it finally just closed its eyes and began to hum loudly.

Tonks sighed heavily and tried to tune out the humming. Apparently, the gargoyles couldn’t carry a tune worth a knut. Her whole body was still buzzing from distress, and she didn’t think it was possible that she could just wander back down to the village and pretend as if her world wasn’t spinning in an ever tightening circle around Remus. Besides that, she was sure to get caught off her patrol if she headed down now.

Being in no hurry, Tonks headed back toward the Entrance Hall in a circuitous route. In truth, she wandered blindly around the school, thinking more deeply about all the worst case scenarios than she was about where she was headed. It didn’t matter, regardless, because she didn’t want to leave until Dumbledore came back.

When she hit the empty seventh floor corridor, Tonks paused at the top of the hallway. She’d just heard a vague scuffling ahead, although there didn’t seem to be anyone there. Her hand was on her wand when she heard a loud oath, followed by Harry appearing as if poured out of thin air.

“Harry?”

The bespeckled boy comically tried to spin on one leg and landed on the floor in a tangle of limbs. He pulled himself up and adjusted his robes in a hurry, seeming to think that if he could do it fast enough, she would forget about his fall. “What’re you doing here?”

Tonks chewed on her bottom lip. Although she had no desire to share her personal life and concerns with a teenager, Harry was particular friends with Dumbledore. She hazarded a guess. “I came to see Dumbledore.”

Teenager? The boy had eyes like ancient gemstones, dazzlingly green and holding so much more weight than she’d estimated. She felt scalded and laid bare. “His office isn’t here. It’s round the other side of the castle, behind the gargoyle…”

“I know,” Tonks shook her head impatiently at him. Harry didn’t know anything more than useless Filch or the humming gargoyle. “He’s not there. Apparently he’s gone again.” It was a last ditch effort, hoping for any shred of information about where Dumbledore had gone and when he’d be back.

Harry’s actions were a clear dismissal. “Has he?” He shook one foot a bit and tentatively put his weight on it. “Hey – you don’t know where he goes, I suppose?” His brilliant eyes looked up with renewed interest.

“No.” Her voice seemed to go flat in spite her best efforts.

Those penetrating eyes were on her, and Tonks cursed her wandering through the school. There was no reason for her to be up here if she was looking for Dumbledore in his office. “What did you want to see him for?”

Tonks was ready to move on, her mind already considering sending Kingsley an owl when she got back to the village, or even sending one to Dumbledore, wherever he was. She didn’t want to talk about anything personal with Harry. Or really with anyone. “Nothing in particular,” she hedged. “I just thought he might know what’s going on… I’ve heard rumors… people getting hurt.”

As if Harry had some sort of idea what she was referring to, he nodded. “Yeah, I know. It’s been in all the papers. That little kid trying to kill his…”

Oh. That story. It had been splashed across the pages of the Prophet a while back, but it wasn’t at all what she was referring to. “The Prophets often behind the times,” she cut him off. With a flash of sudden inspiration, Tonks recalled that Harry and Sirius had often communicated last year. Perhaps Remus included communicating with Harry as part of the mantle of protection he’d inherited when Sirius died. “You haven’t had any letters from anyone in the Order recently?”

“No one from the Order writes to me anymore. Not since Sirius,” Harry said sullenly, and Tonks felt once again sharp disappointment. Would no one ever be able to tell her a thing about Remus? What if he was hurt or in Azkaban already? She felt as if she was trying to claw her way out of a pit with impossibly steep sides. No matter how hard she fought, she wasn’t finding anything out.

Despair filled her eyes with tears, and Harry, dear sincere boy, stumbled over his words. “I’m sorry. I mean… I miss him, as well.”

“What?” Well, now the boy was just talking nonsense. He missed Remus? How had he known she was thinking about Remus. Or was he talking about Dumbledore again? Did Harry miss Dumbledore? “Well, I’ll see you around, Harry.”

Tonks shoved her hands in her pockets and scurried away down the corridor the way she’d come. She had barely cleared the first stairwell before the tears overtook her, and Tonks wiped uselessly at her eyes as she huddled against the wall. It would be terrible to be found sobbing in the corridor by someone, but she couldn’t seem to pull herself together.

Several long moments later, Tonks continued to the next stairwell with red eyes. She was five minutes from the front door of the castle, fifteen from the front gate. In half an hour, she could be in the village. Perhaps she’d blow off the rest of her patrol and visit Aberforth for some of his fine firewhiskey. If she was headed for hell, she might as well have company.
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