Disclaimer: I don't own anything in this story. The world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, and I am not her. If I was, Tonks never would have died.
Author's Note: Rated T for language, violence, and sexual situations.
Our story begins soon after the dementor attack at the beginning of OotP.
Special thanks to The Sword of Magus 90 ITA for help with the title!
Buttocks Still On?
She stared in the mirror, wondering exactly how to do her hair that night.
Red, long, and curly? Definitely not.
Short, spiky, & pink? Ick.
Blond ponytail? Too perky.
Purple, above the shoulders? That's it.
She didn't usually put this much thought into her hair. It's not as if she couldn't change it on a moment's notice. But for some reason, she felt unusually nervous about the night's mission, and it was a way to calm herself.
Nervous, yet excited. It was her first real Order mission; guard duty hardly qualified, in her opinion, though it was without a doubt very important. She had volunteered for this to put herself out there, show the other members what she was capable of. She wasn't the type to always have to prove herself, but she could tell what most of the others thought at the meetings: Juvenile, the youngest in fact. Inexperienced, barely out of post-Hogwarts training. Too cheerful, didn't take anything seriously.
Of course some, such as Mad-Eye & Kingsley, worked with her and knew better. Others, like the Weasleys and her old teachers, had known her for years and saw beneath the brightly-colored exterior, although Molly tended to treat her like one of her own kids and every time she spoke to Professor McGonagall she had flashbacks of detentions. Maybe if she stopped calling her "Professor." Minerva? Way too weird. Eh, someday.
If she was being honest with herself, she was excited about the actual mission, as well. It had been awkward, trailing a boy she had never even met for the last month. She didn't get too close, but from what she had seen he seemed lonely. And sad. And who wouldn't be excited, meeting someone she had heard of for the last fourteen years? Bloody hell, sound like a love-struck schoolgirl. This is a rescue mission. Could be dangerous, could be Death Eaters. Could fall off my broom. Probably the most likely, at that. Wand ready, coat on, boots tied, & with a firm nod to herself in the mirror she was off.
"Alohomora," said Kingsley, and the front door of 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, audibly unlocked. The group made their way into the kitchen of the Dursley home, and while trying to make room, she bumped a plate left on the counter. It fell to the floor with a crash.
"Oh for God's sake, Tonks!" exclaimed Mad-Eye, while the others just shook their heads. Unabashed, she glanced up at the stairs as she heard a creak, and then she saw him - The Boy Who Lived. She couldn't see much, as it was dark, but she could tell he had his wand pointed at them. As brave as they say, for a fifteen-year-old boy to be willing to take on nine adults.
"Lower that wand, boy. You'll take someone's eye out," growled Mad-Eye.
"Professor Moody?" the boy questioned.
"Not sure about 'professor' as I never got around to teaching, now did I?" Mad-Eye replied. "Get over here."
Noting his uncertainty, Remus spoke up. "It's all right, Harry."
"Professor Lupin, is that you?" he said confusedly.
"Why are we standing in the dark?" she said in her throaty voice, impatient to really see him. "Lumos." As the room lit up, she craned her eyes forward. Slightly shorter than herself, she expected, but with the look of someone who had recently had a growth spurt. Skinny, dark tousled hair, glasses, and a puzzled expression. "He looks just like I thought he would." Did I just say that out loud? "Wotcher, Harry!" she said with a grin. He gave her a slight smile in return and finally lowered his wand as he came down the last few stairs, shoving it in the back pocket of his jeans.
"Don't put your wand there!" yelled Mad-Eye. "Better wizards have lost buttocks!"
"Who do you know who's lost his buttocks?" Tonks looked at him curiously, but was shot down with a growled "Never mind" as he walked away, examining the house.
"I saw that," he added as she rolled her eyes.
"Can't get away with anything..." she mumbled under her breath with a slight chuckle.
"Are we leaving?" Harry asked, with such hopefulness it made her ache.
"Yes, we've set up headquarters somewhere safe. Sorry it took so long," said Remus. "Let me introduce your escort, Harry. Alastor Moody, whom you've, well, sort of met already. Kingsley Shacklebolt. Elphias Doge. Deladus Diggle. Emmeline Vance. Sturgis Podmore. Hestia Jones."
"And this is Nymphadora -"
"Don't call me Nymphadora!" She glared at him, her hair turning violently red briefly. "It's Tonks."
"- Tonks, who prefers to go by her last name," finished Remus.
"So would you if your fool mum named you 'Nymphadora'," she muttered as her hair reverted to the purple.
Harry felt relieved. He never knew when Dumbledore was going to allow him to leave each summer, and given the events of last term, he wasn't sure he'd be going to the Burrow at all. Although it didn't sound like they were headed there ...
He remained standing at the bottom of the staircase, looking back at these strangers who all seemed to know him. He never got used to that. The woman who held the lit wand was directly in front & therefore received the most attention. He could have sworn her hair changed color when Lupin introduced her, but he supposed it was a trick of the light. She was young and rather tall, with a pale heart-shaped face, purple hair, and dark eyes that sparkled. Dark eyes that were sparkling directly into his at the moment. Embarrassed, he turned his head, but she didn't seem to mind, since her cheerful smile remained on her face, a dimple in her left cheek giving her a slightly lopsided appearance.
"Harry," Lupin said, "You had better get packed. We need to leave soon."
"I'll come help!" said Tonks brightly.
"Very clean, these Muggles, bit unnatural, really," commented Tonks as they walked upstairs, looking around with interest. "Oh, now this is more my style."
Harry's room was, quite simply, a disaster. Books and clothing were strewn about, and the owl cage looked neglected.
She looked at herself critically in the mirror on the inside door of his open wardrobe. "Do you think Moody really knew someone who lost buttocks? What d'you suppose that would be like?" She turned around and twisted her head to see behind herself, and, with a pained expression, she proceeded to shrink one half of her rear end, then both.
"Odd, yeah?" she said as she returned herself to normal.
"Er, yeah - um, how did you do that?" he asked, gaping.
"Oh, I'm a Metamorphmagus, I can change my appearance with a thought," she explained. "I got top marks in Concealment and Disguise during Auror training; it was great, no studying at all. Wish I could have skipped studying at Hogwarts."
"You're an Auror?" said Harry, looking impressed and surprised. People are always surprised.
"Yes," replied Tonks, trying and failing to hide a proud smile. Becoming an Auror had been a long-term goal, one she had worked hard to accomplish. "Kingsley is, too, but he's higher up than I am. Only finished my training and qualified last year. I nearly failed Stealth and Tracking; I'm so clumsy, you heard me break that plate in the kitchen?"
"Can you learn to be a Metamorphmagus?" he asked her, unconsciously brushing his scar with his hand.
"Sorry, no. Metamorphmagi are extremely rare; born, not made. Bet you'd like to hide that scar, huh?" Her eyes traveled up to his forehead, but she quickly glanced away, feeling rude. "Anyway, we're supposed to be packing."
Harry began to gather books in his arms, but she stopped him. "It will be much quicker if I just pack, " said Tonks, waving her wand around the room. Books, clothing, and other miscellaneous items flew into a heap in the trunk. "Ah, my mum can get everything fit and folded neatly, but I don't know -" She flicked her wand again, but all that happened was a few socks flipping over. She shrugged and shut the lid of the trunk.
Tonks wrinkled her small nose at the feathers, droppings, and what looked like tufts of mice fur in the owl cage. "Scourgify!" A bit of the mess vanished. "Oh, well, I never got the hang of any of these household spells."
She turned around and looked at Harry, noticing his startling green eyes. "Got everything, then? Wand in your jeans? Buttocks still on? Excellent. Grab the cage and let's go. Locomotor trunk."
They waited in the kitchen, each with a wand in one hand and a broom in the other. Tonks stood in the open back door, Harry directly behind her and the others arrayed past him. Scanning the sky, she awaited the signs, tensing as she ran over the trip in her mind, noting the possible complications.
"Harry, just keep following Tonks, whatever you do. Stay on her tail," Mad-Eye instructed. "If someone is killed, don't stop, just keep flying. If we're all gone, head east and others will take over."
"Stop being so optimistic, Mad-Eye, or he'll think we aren't taking it seriously." Tonks glanced back at Harry and winked, trying to relieve his apprehension as much as her own. She whipped back around with a serious expression as Remus noted the wand sparks of the first signal.
Mounting her broom, she waited for the second signal, and as green sparks shot into the sky, she kicked off hard from the ground and soared into the sky. Tonks loved flying. It always made her want to laugh out loud. The wind whipping through her hair, seeing objects on the ground get smaller and smaller. It was just so much fun! She climbed for a bit and leveled out. They made several course changes as Mad-Eye called out directions, and once he suggested they climb even higher for some cloud cover.
"We aren't flying through clouds!" she shouted crossly. "We're already frozen; I'm not about to get soaked, too!"
Several times she checked behind her to make sure Harry was still there. He was, as Mad-Eye had suggested, staying right on her tail, keeping his eyes directly on her broom. Spying Big Ben ahead, she decided to have some fun. Throwing a challenging grin back at Harry, she accelerated until she was nearly at the clock and then whipped around to the right. As she came around, she saw Harry heading towards her from the left, looking startled; as expected, he'd not been paying much attention to where he was going. She'd catch hell from the others later, but it was worth it.
"We should turn around and double back, in case we were followed," yelled Mad-Eye.
"ARE YOU MAD, MAD-EYE!" Tonks screamed.* "We're nearly there. I can't feel my hands as it is!"
Ignoring Mad-Eye, Tonks descended until they touched down in a small square with spotty patches of grass, stumbling only slightly when she landed. She rubbed her hands together to regain feeling while waiting for Harry to read the note from Dumbledore that revealed the location of headquarters. She glanced around to make sure no one was watching, smirking slightly at the gaping expression on Harry's face as the house addressed 12 Grimmauld Place began to slide into existence between two Muggle homes.
Once they entered, Harry paused in the hallway, obviously confused, while the others filed past him. Tonks brought up the rear, and as she passed Harry, she gave him a flirtatious smile and winked, hoping to make him more at ease. She glanced back to see if she'd had any effect and tripped over that cursed troll leg umbrella stand. Bane of my existence. She couldn't get through a day without tripping over it, but fortunately today it did not wake up the portrait of Sirius's mother. She passed Molly when she entered the kitchen, who was probably on her way to settle Harry.
Tonks slid into a seat next to Bill. He smiled a greeting, rubbing her shoulder.
"Have a good flight, then?" he asked. "Mad-Eye doesn't look too happy with you."
"If he'd had his way, we would have arrived sometime next week," she grumbled, then quieted as Kingsley glanced their way with raised eyebrows.
When the meeting was over, most of the members left, and Remus went to seal the door behind them, Tonks on his heels. As she waved her wand at the door and muttered incantations, she cast a sidelong glance at Remus but turned away quickly when he returned the look.
The door sealed, she followed Molly back towards the kitchen. She wondered what delicious meal the witch would make tonight, when all of a sudden there was a loud CRASH and she found herself laying flat on the floor. Oh no. The troll leg. Again. In front of Remus. And Harry. Bugger!
"TONKS!" Molly glared at her in exasperation.
"I'm sorry!" she cried. "It's that damn troll leg, that's the second time tonight -" She was cut off by a loud, horrible screech.
The curtains covering the portrait of Mrs. Black flew open. "Blood traitor filth! Half-breeds, freaks! Abominations in the house of my fathers!"
Sirius charged in. "Shut up, you hag, shut UP!" With a tremendous effort he and Remus pulled the curtains shut. The old woman's screeches faded away. Still lying on the floor, Tonks saw the bliss on Sirius's face as he stared at his godson.
"Sirius!" Harry exclaimed, rushing to him.
"Harry," Sirius responded feelingly, pulling him into a fierce hug.
Tonks turned away from what was obviously a private moment to find Remus standing over her with his hand outstretched.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she said over and over as he pulled her off the floor, trying to ignore the way her heart thumped when his hand touched her. When she was on her feet, she beamed gratefully at him, but Remus only gave her a small smile in return before dropping her hand and walking away.
Tonks sighed inwardly as she dragged the heavy umbrella stand back to its original location. She was mature enough to admit to herself that she had been very taken with Remus Lupin from their first meeting weeks ago. She was sure that he was aware of her feelings, because Sirius took great pleasure in teasing them every chance he got. Unfortunately, he continued to treat her like a colleague, nothing more, just like every other woman in the Order.
Dusting herself off, she followed everyone as they returned to the basement kitchen, snickering at the Dungbombs outside the door.
Author's note: *This phrase was taken directly from page 57, American paperback edition, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling. All credit goes to her for that great line; I just had to borrow it.