Ella is settled at Mum and Dad’s, the moon has risen, unfairly forcing me to say goodnight to Remus until the morning, and I am settled on the couch- the only other place I’m allowed to be until Tuesday. Previous to Remus going down to the basement to transform, I asked him to search through Ella’s old baby things for the baby name book we bought at Flourish and Blotts before she was born.
So, now I’m settled on the couch with a pot of tea, some biscuits, the baby name book, and some parchment and quill. A hand knit afghan from Molly Weasley is draped across my lap. Just as I flip open the book- the fireplace roars to life.
“Tonks!” Kingsley yells, looking around the room. “Sorry,” he adds, seeing me sitting on the couch.
“Ya know, I’m really beginning to hate the sound of your voice,” I say, half joking, half completely honest.
He shakes his head. “I know, Tonks, and you know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important. Justin is on medical leave, so we’re short staffed.”
Justin? Hell! What about me? For a minute I debate telling my boss that I’m pregnant, supposed to stay in bed until Tuesday morning, and that my husband is indisposed, and I’d much rather be here waiting up for him. But the second I consider telling him the truth- I hear the voices of other Ministry employees in the background. I groan.
“What is it anyway? Can you guarantee I won’t see any action tonight? Remus will flip if he knows I was sent to a duel or something.”
Kingsley looks down, shuffling through the papers in his hand, and pushes one through the green flames into our living room. “Greyback. Unfortunately the attack is over, there’s nothing to do but reconnaissance. It’s a gruesome scene, Tonks, I didn’t particularly want to send you there, but it’s the best I can do. Hey-” he adds, a spark of curiosity igniting his expression. “It’s unlike you to want action, say, are you-”
“I’m just not feeling 100%,” I interrupt quickly. It’s not exactly a lie- I’m feeling 200%. “The battle at the Riddle House wore me out, I’m not young anymore, boss.”
He contemplates the thought with a ‘hmm’ and looks back up at me. “Will you take the assignment, Tonks? If you do- I’ll- guarantee you two extra days off, for your birthday next month.”
I swallow. I don’t have the heart to tell him the full moon is on my birthday, and Remus is already lamenting it, and I probably could work anyway. Instead I smile. “I’ll go, but you can bloody bet I’m not turning in my paperwork until Tuesday.”
Kingsley laughs. “See you Tuesday.”
I groan as Kingsley’s head disappears from the fireplace, and throw off the afghan, leaving my tea, and my book abandoned. I glance over the report as I make my way through the living room and up the stairs.
I fetch my cloak, debating whether or not to leave a note for Remus, but ultimately decide that batting my eyelashes, smothering him with kisses, and telling him in person is better than a hastily scribbled note. I slip into my cloak, grab my badge and wand, and Disapparate over to Wales.
I don’t think anyone can realise how quickly a pack of Werewolves can decimate a family, and then disappear. Without a tip, or tracking the pack, it’s nearly impossible to catch them in the act. By the time the neighbours hear the screams and Floo the authorities- it’s over.
It’s a chilly night near Cardiff when I Apparate in and the moonlight casts an ghostly glow over the white brick home. I set a temporary alarm line around the perimeter of the house- it won’t protect me from an attack, but if anything crosses it, I’ll be alerted.
Up ahead of me I see a number of silvery slicks spread across the grass, polka-dotting the otherwise perfectly manicured suburban lawn. I know what it is.
“Lumos!” I say, shining my wand up ahead of me, illuminating the grass. The scarlet red liquid shimmers in the yellow light of my wand, and the scent turns my stomach (I’m glad I didn’t eat any of those biscuits before I left).
I walk around to the backyard, finding much more blood, and some torn, bloodied clothing, a wand (Ah, a wizarding family) that’s been snapped in half, and several Werewolf tracks in the soft mud.
Suddenly my alarm goes off, and my heart races as my eyes dart around toward the intruder.
“Who’s there?” a voice calls out into the dark. “You from the Ministry?”
I feel a little more at ease. “Stay where you are please,” I say, rounding the house, seeing a tall, lanky gentleman standing near the front porch. “I am an Auror dispatched from the Ministry of Magic.” He looks to be an upstanding gentleman. His wand isn’t drawn anyway.
“Name’s Gareth Cadwalader, I live next door. I Floo’d the Ministry.”
“Thank you, Sir. Did you see anything this evening?” I ask.
“No, but I heard it though. Awful sounds. I could hear the Pritchard’s screamin’ – they’re the family who lives- lived here. Naturally, I ran out to see what all the fuss was about, and I heard the wolves snarling. I got back inside right quick-like, and called the Ministry.”
“Did you see the wolves?”
The man turned and pointed over toward his house some 100 metres in the distance. “No, not really, Miss. I could hear’em though, and see their shadows.”
“Do you think they were just regular wolves, Sir?”
He begins shaking his head emphatically. “Oh no, mam. We’ve not had wolves in this part for some time. I have no doubt what they were- ruddy, bloodthirsty, evil-”
I’ve heard enough. I know what most people think. “Thank you, that’s all for this evening. May we call on you at another time, if necessary?”
“Thank you, Sir, good night.”
After I send some minimal evidence off to the Ministry for evaluation, I Apparate home long before sunrise. I hang my cloak upstairs, warm up my tea, and plop down on the couch with my cosy afghan, starting in on my paperwork.
I didn’t even realise, as I fill out page after page of reports, that the sky has gone from indigo to violet, to fuchsia, to orange. Finally the basement door creaks open, causing me to throw the parchment and afghan off my lap, grab my wand, and scramble toward the kitchen.
Before I can reach him Remus has collapsed against the kitchen wall, clutching his stomach, his skin pale and clammy, an open wound across his forehead and along his ribcage.
“No, Dora, you should be resting,” he wheezes, trying to wave me off. “I couldn’t get my shirt on,” he adds, almost shamefully.
“It’s all right,” I offer. “I’m fine. Here-” I say, slipping my arm around his waist, letting his arm come to rest around my shoulders. “C’mon, let’s go upstairs.”
We stumble awkwardly out of the kitchen and toward the staircase. “I’m too heavy- you’ll hurt yourself- the baby- I’ll be fine.”
I grab hold of the banister, hauling us up the stairs, one at a time. “Nah, s’all right,” I groan, giving him a sideways glance. “Was it a bad one then?” I ask, feeling stupid. “I mean, was it worse than last time?”
“No,” he pants, “’Bout the same, really.”
I lead him into the bedroom, easing him gently down onto the bed, helping him settle himself comfortably against the pillows. He sighs raggedly, letting his head fall into his hands. “I should be caring for you; not vice versa.”
“Oh hush,” I say, unbuttoning his pants, sliding them over his hips and down his legs. “Don’t be macho,” I joke, trying to smile. “I care for you because I love you- not out of a sense of duty, Remus.” I lean down, pressing a kiss to the edge of his lips, and pull the sheet up to the middle of his chest. I wave my wand over his forehead, whispering Episkey, and then heal the cuts along his ribcage. “Better?”
He sighs, and catches my hand, pressing a kiss to my knuckles. “I don’t deserve you.”
I shake my head. “Stop; we’re happy, we deserve one another, that’s all there is to it. I’ll go fetch some tea.”
I hurry downstairs and bring a tray back up with tea and toast. I don’t imagine Remus is hungry, but I can hope.
I return to the room to find he has drawn the curtains and is smoothing his fingertips over the freshly healed wound on his forehead.
“I brought some toast. I-”
“Where were you?”
I scowl in confusion. “Downstairs?”
“No, last night, where were you?”
I swallow. Damn. I find myself asking the dumbest possible question. “How’d you know?”
“There’s dirt from your boots all over the floor. Where were you?”
I cringe and climb up on the bed, batting my eyelashes, tracing my finger along Remus’ hairline, and around his ear. “Um, Kingsley called- and before you freak, I asked for the easiest assignment. All I had to do was collect evidence.”
Remus puts his hand over his eyes, squeezing his temples. “Dora, you’re on bed rest for the weekend. What if something happened? Where did you go?”
I take his hand and lace my fingers through his. “Just out to Wales to investigate an attack.”
He sits up abruptly, clutching his head. “What kind of attack?”
I bite my lip apprehensively. “The ferals.”
He closes his eyes and falls back against the pillows. “Dora-”
“I know,” I whine, bringing our conjoined hands up to my lips. I kiss the back of his hand and rub it on my cheek. “I didn’t know what to tell Kingsley. I was careful, darling, I promise. All I did was gather some clues- I was back home, resting on the couch in a couple of hours.”
“But what if-”
I interrupt him, and carefully snuggle in closer. “Let’s not argue now, OK. You’re tired, I’m tired, and-”
“And you’re just hoping I’ll forget about it.” Remus replies, closing his eyes
“No,” I say innocently, in my best impression of my impish daughter. “I know it was wrong to go out, but I didn’t know what else to do- it looks like the ferals will be attacking every moon. Maybe we’ll just have to let Kingsley in on our secret.”
“I don’t suppose you came up with any names to distract me with?” he asks vaguely, opening one eye to look at me.
I shake my head and burrow a little closer. “No, but how about a nice kip, and then I’ll pop downstairs and get the book and we’ll toss names around this afternoon, ya?”
“Right after we have a discussion about unnecessary risks?” Remus asks, wincing as he slips an arm around me.
I sigh and know he’s right. It was stupid of me to gamble with our baby’s life. “Anything you say, my love.”