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Muddied Black Blood


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#1
Nicola

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EDIT: Please note that this story was started prior to the release of book 6 (although it will be continued post-book-6). Therefore all interpretations of the way my characters may have behaved is based on what was cannon post OOTP. Book 6 may have changed some things slightly. And for anyone who is thinking what I'm thinking (don't want to reveal HBP spoilers so have to talk cryptically) Ron was wrong! At least in my opinion anyway!

This is going to be a series of one-shots depicting events from the young Tonks' life. I say one-shots because they do not form a continuous train of action, but rather they stand alone as individual episodes. Most of them have been mentioned in passing in my longer (post book 5) fic, and made me want to find an opportunity to write about them in more detail. However, there is no need at all to have read my longer fic - this stands by itself perfectly well. Indeed, my other fic no longer actually exists since the hacker incident, and I can't face rewriting it yet, so decided to try something new.

I would really, really appreciate it if people would reply to this if they read it - even if their comments aren't all positive - I love interacting with readers.


The first part is from Andromeda's point of view – Tonks is a bit young yet to have her own!



Andromeda Tonks had the most difficult letter of her life to write. It wasn't something she had to do, yet with her usual steely resolve, she was determined to do it anyway. One last chance for reconciliation – to mend the ills of the past year. Not that their problems had started a year ago. No, living with them for most of her life had been hell. But it was what she had done a year ago that had deepened the rift seemingly beyond all repair. Did she even want to patch things up? She knew she wasn't sure. After all, they had never got along – their outlooks and objectives in life had always been at opposite ends of the scale – and they had always regarded her as the white sheep of the Black family – the insignificant one- the weird one- the downright stupid one- the one to torment privately and be ashamed of publicly. And Andromeda would admit to herself that at times she had hated them – absolutely despised them.

So why write now? Why this olive branch? Andromeda sighed and dipped her raven feather quill into a pot of shimmering silver ink.

Dear Bellatrix, she began.

Even Ted had questioned her motives in writing to her sisters. He couldn't understand why she would ever want to contact them again after the way they had behaved. But he loved her, and therefore supported her wholeheartedly even when he was at a loss to decipher the complexities of her character. Andromeda thought of the look on his face when she had suggested her sisters as godmothers. He had looked broken, desolate- and yet he had agreed that it was a good idea, because he could see how much she herself wanted it. Would she be betraying Ted if she asked them? She knew he was only trying to make her happy by agreeing.

The quill scratched across the faded parchment.

I would be honoured if you would accept the responsibility of becoming godmother to my baby daughter, Nymphadora.


Honoured, indeed! Andromeda would have laughed at herself if she hadn't been so overwhelmed by other, less positive emotions. The healers had told her it was because of the baby that she was feeling so fraught, and reconsidering her relationships with others so much. Dam.n it! she thought indignantly; this should be a time to rejoice and be happy – I have the wonderful husband I always wanted- we have the most beautiful baby in the world- so why should I have to be so upset all the time? Why do I care about what Bellatrix and Narcissa think?

She laid the parchment aside and took another sheet.

Dear Narcissa,

Why am I still writing this? Why am I so calm and precise, when really I want to scream and curse them to insanity?! Yet her hand continued to move over the page, forming the beautiful loopy letters she had always taken so much care over when writing essays at school. That was the Ravenclaw in her coming out, Andromeda thought, smiling to herself. So, if she was such a confident, assured Ravenclaw, why did she need the respect or attention of her sisters? Why couldn't she be content in her life as it was?

She sighed again, knowing that the real reason was a lot more pathetic than she liked to admit. She was lonely. Andromeda had never felt a part of the Black family, and since childhood had dreamed of the moment she could escape the misery she was compelled to suffer at the hands of her own family. But she hadn't anticipated it happening quite the way it did- thrown out of the house for becoming engaged to a Mudblood'- Andromeda shuddered at the recollection of the word being issued from her father's thin lips- quite literally thrown out by the combined power of four wands – each belonging to a member of her immediate family- the derisive Daily Prophet article on her wedding day that had almost reduced her to tears, replacing her giddy excitement with a cold lump of stone in the pit of her belly- Narcissa making a very public show of apparating away from her when they met by chance in Diagon Alley, more concerned about what Lucius Malfoy's cronies across the street would report back when they snivelled like dogs around his feet- having to live here, in this tiny, dingy apartment after a childhood of luxury, because she and Ted were still only 20 and hadn't had chance to save yet-

Andromeda loved Ted more than anything, and would be forever grateful for his gentle support and reassurance- for bringing forward the wedding date so that, even though they had no money, she would have somewhere to go- for holding her and whispering softly whenever she had a nightmare about her ordeal- for giving her a beautiful little daughter, and letting her choose the name. She hoped sincerely that her writing these letters wouldn't hurt him too deeply. She loved nothing more than sitting in with him in the evenings, holding him close and watching the sun go down outside their tiny window with its warped greenish glass. Or going for long walks in the park in summertime. But no matter how content Ted made her, there would always be a hole where her family should be, and she did miss their presence, however much she was at the same time relieved to be rid of it. A baby, an innocent little child. Surely Nymphadora could hold the power to bring them back together?

Andromeda looked up from her reverie at the sound of a swooshing overhead, and held out her hand for her black screech owl to come to rest. A note from Sirius, asking when he could come over and see the baby again. Andromeda smiled. Yes, she had Sirius. A fantastic friend and her lifelong ally in the Black family. But he was still only 16, and didn't always understand the problems she faced – he thought it would be wonderful to be ejected from the family as spectacularly as she had been, and couldn't wait for the day his mother would blast him from the family tree too. As far as he was concerned, her escape was something to be proud of. A thought occurred to her- but no, she dismissed it almost immediately; Sirius had too many problems of his own for her to compound them further with the responsibility of godfather. He had told her mysteriously that he was hoping to leave Grimmauld Place for good soon, and she could foresee the difficulties that may cause, even if Sirius himself could not.

Andromeda rolled up the letters she had written and gave them to the owl, sighing again as she did so. She was just wondering where Ted had got to when she heard an anxious shout from the other room. She raced through- he was shouting about the baby- what had happened to the baby?

Ted's face was ashen.
"What's wrong? What's happened?" Andromeda couldn't keep her voice from wavering.
"Someone's- they've- the baby- she's different- someone's switched her!"
Andromeda's heart seemed like it was about to vomit itself out through her throat. She swayed slightly and grasped the edge of the cot for support- Bellatrix and Narcissa- which of them was it? Who had dared do this, at the same moment she had been writing to beg their forgiveness?
Cautiously she peered over the edge of the cot. She inhaled sharply as she saw Ted was right. Instead of their mousy-haired, dark-eyed little daughter, there lay a blond-haired, blue-eyed child with rather a large nose. The baby was giggling merrily, as though nothing untoward had taken place. Yet as the peals of laughter rang through Andromeda's spinning mind, they sounded strangely familiar. And come to think of it, the child looked vaguely familiar too- despite the her odd appearance.
She turned to look at Ted.
"Hold on just one sec," she said, gently squeezing his hand. She began to rummage through the carefully arranged piles of junk at the bottom of her wardrobe, for once not caring about the mess she made. Ted looked more confused than ever, and she could see his face was about to crumple as he contemplated the loss of his beloved little one. Andromeda quickly found what she was looking for; she dragged a huge, ancient volume to the bed, and sat down to flick through its pages. Mungo Bonham's Manual to Magical Maladies, Bewitchments and Blessings were the words embossed on its cover; one of the books she had been using in her healer training, before she found out she was expecting Nymphadora.
"Aha!" she exclaimed, and looked up at Ted with sparkling eyes and a beaming smile. Ted looked ever more bewildered.
"Nobody's switched our baby. That's still Nymphadora!"
Ted's brow furrowed, uncomprehending.
"She's a metamorphmagus, Ted. Our little baby's a metamorphmagus!"
Ted's face was a picture – extreme shock mingled with extreme joy, and as he rushed over to hug his wife, he laughed out loud with relief.

Thanks to Kiss.The.Rain for my wonderful avatar


#2
PaulaMcG

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Nicola,
What a delightful surprise! This piece was a pleasure to read as such. And this project means that you'll offer your readers something new to enjoy and discuss every time, because the style of one coherent long story won't limit the continuous development of your writing or any experiments you may happen to become interested in.

Here you excellently tackled Andromeda's thoughts and emotions during a short span, so that I could identify with her and believe that this is how she would remember the day when she found out about her daughters talents (at least if she had a perfect memory of all the significant that passed her consciousness). I was just testing the weird ideas I had when posting on Perspective earlier today.

Her oversensitive state of mind became apparent at the very beginning and was plausible in the aftermath of giving birth to her first baby. You included wonderfully her relationships with her family, her favourite cousin and her husband, as well as the material circumstances of her life. In each of these issues you revealed the facts wonderfully step by step. For instance in Sirius's case, we first had to wonder if he had already run away from home or not. You also painted effectively a picture of the happy quiet love the young couple in love led. The end was obviously a climax. I'm almost convinced that we could share Ted's experience, too, directly for a fleeting moment. The bond between loving husband and wife is so close, after all, in your wonderful descriptions of relationships and interaction.
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<span style='color:Gray'>Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - and <span style='color:Gray'>short stories on Completed General Fanfiction</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - by PaulaMcG (Eija)</span>
<span style='color:Black'>No one knows you like I do / Nobody can know your heart the way I do /
No one can testify to all that you’ve been through / But this will. (Paul Simon & Derek Walcott, 1997.)</span>

#3
Unforgiven

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That was really great, I would like to read more. LOL " Wheres our baby?" HeHe

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#4
LaLaLuna

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YAY! ! Nicola, you know how excited I was to hear you were going to start writing and posting again. These are going to be great!

I love your Andromeda (you know that ^_^ ) and you write these particular characters well.

. . .the white sheep of the Black family. . .that's a great line. I liked that cool under pressure persona Andromeda had about the discovery of their daughter.

Can't wait for more~PPMS

Hanna

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Beginnings:The Great Purification~by Liliana Muddied Black Blood~by Nicola
My Fics
Riddle and Secrets ~ Coming Full Circle ~ Living Memories ~ The Sorting of Priorities
Luna's Loss ~ A Summer's Day ~ Who Would Have Thought ~ Wilted Flower ~ Spring in the Air


#5
bellatrixblacklestrange

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Andromeda's head was spinning that entire chapter. Poor her. She's got so much on her plate and adding to that is the mess of her family. At least she has Ted for unwavering support. :P

The little piece of interaction of the characters at the end made me smile. Ted got all panicky, Andromeda, whips out a book to find the answer. :( Very Hermione like I'd say.

Later! :P
helpful hints when reading HP -

1) If JKR reinforces/repeats it, she means it
2) If something is interrupted, JKR is hiding a key clue
3) There is no such thing as a coincidence
4) Never take a character's word for it.
a. Hermione is almost always right (unless she gets emotional)
b. Ron is almost always wrong (unless he's joking around)

#6
marymcbeth

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Very good Nicola. I'm hooked. I will be watching for more. :(

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#7
*Liliana*

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Wow, I'm totally loving this Nicola! I'm delighted that you're continuing with your writing, because you're such a talented writer. Your fics never cease to amaze me with their empathy or intricate detail.

This is such a great story - you shed light on the relatively unknown life of one of my favorite characters, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! Sorry this isn't a more detailed response, but I have limited internet access right now and I'll have to go. Will read more soon. :blink:

#8
Nicola

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Wow! I can't believe I have had so many replies so far! Thanks so much everyone!

I am going away for the weekend, but will have a new part to post when I get back, and will comment on your replies then.

Thank youuuuuu!:unsure:

Thanks to Kiss.The.Rain for my wonderful avatar


#9
Kyla

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I am hooked. Is there going to be more Andi POV story before you move into Tonks POV. Are we going to get Teds POV. He probable has some very unique stories to tell. A male muggle living with two witchs. Talk about gender divides :P


Is Sirus going to make some visits? And if it is necessary what about the other members of her family? Isnt there someone worth talking about? o@

How was your weekend? ***full of energy to help you post more ?***

#10
Zach

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Nice fic, Nichola. I hope they never end up near little Nymphadora (Narcissa and Bellatrix I mean ^_^)

Zach :)

#11
marymcbeth

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Re-reading your intro, I just giggled at the thought of a Tonks POV fic.

'milk. want some milk. Muuu-uu--uuu-um!'
'stretch! oh! Who's this guy look in my cot? There's Mum. Hi, Mum. Who's this guy?'
'wet. I'm wet. Mu-uuu-uum!'
'oh look. hands. have you ever noticed those little lines around your knuckles. i wonder what they're from?'

OKay, I was on a Hen Night last night and am a little blurry. I'll stop now before I embarass my self further. :P

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#12
Nicola

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You would have thought I'd have learnt by now, wouldn't you? But no... I'm still not saving my fics! I have fortunately managed to salvage about half of the last update (which was deleted when the boards went down) from the recycle bin, but I will have to re-write the rest of it!!! Expect it sometime after Monday when I will have finally moved house and will finally have finished all this blimmin packing!



STOP PRESS!=/!!

Thanks to the wonderful thoughtfulness of one of my lovely readers, my update is NOT lost and gone forever after all!!! Here it is to enjoy for the second time! (although I may be back to tweak a couple of things later!) THANK YOU MaryMcBeth!




From her vantage point beside the lounge window, Andromeda saw the tall, dark figure stride towards her house and felt disappointment swell in the pit of her stomach. The owl had arrived a week ago; Bellatrix wanted to visit her goddaughter; yet still Andromeda had hoped fervently that her sister would not actually show up – to the extent that she had just about convinced herself that she wouldn't.

Bellatrix was an imposing sight – tall, thin, not conventionally beautiful but extremely handsome in a noble sort of way – her looks alone were enough to turn heads. However, what really commanded attention was the way she carried herself – upright, regal, proud, defiant. Turning from the window and letting the linen curtain fall from her fingers and back into place, Andromeda reluctantly scooped up her daughter from where she was playing on the floor. The little girl began to bawl, arms outstretched, as she watched her toys slipping further and further away the higher she was lifted off the ground.
"Shhh- shhh-" Andromeda bounced her lightly and rubbed her back as she walked her around the room. "Aunty Bellatrix has come to see you – you don't want her to see you in tears do you?"
Andromeda was amazed at how her light and cheerful voice betrayed none of her inner turmoil. Nymphadora turned to look at her and she smoothed the child's black curls which had become matted to her cheeks with tears gently out of her face.
Nymphadora had stopped crying abruptly and now looked like she could barely conceal her curiosity.
"Who's Aunty Bettrix?"
Andromeda laughed softly. "It's Aunty Bellatrix – make sure you remember her name when you speak to her! She's my sister. She came to play with you last year – do you remember?"
Her daughter shook her head ardently. The doorbell rang, and Andromeda set Nymphadora back on the ground and took her hand so they could walk to greet Bellatrix together.

At least I'll get a bit of time to put the house in order, was her thought as she smiled insincerely at her sister. Nobody ever tells you that four year olds can create so much mess all on their own!

________


"Come on, Nymphadora. Sit down." Bellatrix waved impatiently in the direction of the child's table and chairs in the corner of the room.
"Are we going to have a tea-party?" asked Tonks, giggling expectantly.
"No, we're not," answered her aunt in a curt tone that banished the grin from the four year old's face and replaced it with a shiver in her stomach. "I'm going to teach you some manners. The kind of manners a member of such a noble family should have been learning from birth. Pick up your cup!"
Bellatrix's command was so sudden and sharp that Tonks jerked in her seat.
"Not like that! Merlin, Nymphadora, did your mother teach you to hold your cup like that?"
Tonks shook her head timidly.
"Well do it properly then. Lift your cup in the correct fashion!"
Tonks did her best to copy her aunt's hand movements, sticking out her little finger at an angle as she raised the teacup to her mouth.
"Nymphadora!"
Tonks jerked her head up suddenly, wondering what she had done wrong this time.
"Honestly, the filthy habits you've picked up from that useless, dirty mudblood father of yours! Try it again, and this time, do not slurp your drink! Sip it like a lady!"

Why was Aunt Bellatrix saying nasty things about her daddy? Tonks' eyes welled with tears, but she was determined not to let them brim over, determined not to show any sign of weakness in front of this horrible woman. She was trembling as she lifted the cup to her lips once more. Glancing up, she saw her aunt's steely eyes glaring down at her with a kind of fury she had never seen before. Tonks shuddered, then heard the smash. Her cup and saucer were in pieces on the floor.

"Stupid, stupid, clumsy child!" Aunt Bellatrix screeched.
Tonks felt bad about breaking the cup, and wished desperately that she could change things, go back and make sure she was holding it carefully. But she still didn't understand why her aunt was so angry about it. If she broke a cup in front of her mother, she simply said a spell and the cup was as good as new. Maybe Aunt Bellatrix couldn't do that spell.
She was still shouting. "What was your imbecile of a mother thinking when she diluted your noble blood with Muggle filth? She smeared our ancient family name and disgraced herself and her sisters! And what for? To produce a worthless half-breed like yourself?! Your blood disgusts me! My goddaughter should have been a child of noble birth! Toujours pur? Toujours bête, ta mere! You're about as much use as Hippogriff dung!"
Now Tonks couldn't hold back the tears, and they came flooding down her face. Why had her mum left her with this awful woman?
"Stand up! Stand up, child, and get over there!"

Something stirred in Tonks' memory, something which told her that she shouldn't stand up, that something terrible would happen if she did. Her chest tightened and her stomach chilled. Where was Mummy? Tonks wanted to run away and hide her face in the folds of her mother's robes, but Aunty Bellatrix was waving her wand around wildly and her flashing eyes were so scary that she felt obliged to do as she was told. She hurriedly scampered over to the spot where her aunt's wand was pointing.

She could feel Bellatrix's glare boring into her from behind as she approached the centre of the room, and found she was unable to meet that stare when she turned to face her aunt. With one swift swoop of her wand, Bellatrix banished all the furniture to the edges of the room, leaving a large empty space around her niece. Tonks wasn't cold, but she could feel herself shivering; goosebumps prickled her bare arms, and her forehead was beaded with sweat.
Her aunt's black eyes were wild and furious as she raised her wand and cackled ferociously as she screeched. "Sanguis Expelliarmus! Consanguineus Purificus!"
Tonks felt herself slightly, hesitantly, lifted off the ground, then with a sharp jerk upwards, she was hovering at shoulder level with her aunt.
Bellatrix was murmuring softly now, rather than shouting; her voice hissing and rasping eerily. "Purificus, Purificus..."

Slowly, Tonks felt her body beginning to spin uncontrollably around the room in a huge circle. It was like being inside a washing machine – Aunt Vicki had a washing machine because she was a Muggle, and Tonks loved to sit in front of it and watch the clothes spin round – it had always fascinated her- but she was going faster now, and faster still- this wasn't fun like the washing machine – she felt sick and wanted to vomit through a mixture of giddiness and fear. What was happening? Aunty Bellatrix was trying to kill her! She tried to scream for help, but no sound came out. She was soaked with sweat and tears, her pretty dress clinging limply to her body as she was thrown violently through the air from one corner of the room to another. Tonks whimpered for it to stop, but Aunt Bellatrix was laughing wildly.
"This'll purify your blood, you pathetic little Mudblood!" she cried between mumbled spells.

________



Andromeda placed a steaming pot of peppermint tea on the table and sat down opposite her visitor. How nice of Sirius to call on her by way of surprise; he rarely announced his visits, yet he always seemed to sense when she needed them most. And for once they could relax and chat like they were kids again, without her having to keep asking him to repeat what he had said because her mind was on taking care of Nymphadora and not entirely on what he was saying. Not that he ever minded of course. He teased her about mollycoddling her daughter, but the truth was, behind his pretence of being aloof and cool he actually adored spoiling little Nymphadora, and Andromeda knew it.

"Where is my favourite four-year-old, anyway?" asked Sirius, setting down his empty mug and leaning back in his seat.
"Oh- she's with Bellatrix-" Andromeda's voice was a little sheepish and coloured by shades of guilt, almost as though she had been caught by a parent doing something she shouldn't.
Sirius raised his eyebrows. "Bellatrix?"
"Yeah, she showed up this morning. She's not been over in almost a year, but she really seems to dote on Nymphadora – she insists on spending all her time here with her goddaughter."
Sirius grimaced.
"And don't look at me like that, Sirius Black! She is family, you know!"
Sirius grinned broadly and shook his head, in mock despair of Andromeda's attitude. "Family? She didn't even come to your wedding! She made your childhood a misery!"
"Sirius-" It was Andromeda's turn to shake her head. "Bygones-"

When Sirius replied, his tone was serious. "Look, Andromeda, it's your life – it's up to you- but I would be wary of leaving Nymphadora alone with her- she's pure evil."
Andromeda looked up into her cousin's eyes, expected to read the telltale glimmers of laughter that would reveal he was joking, but all she saw was an earnest plea to be believed.
She frowned slightly. "No, Sirius," she replied, although she knew her voice was wavering with uncertainty. "She's not evil- just different to us-"
Sirius shrugged. "Just be careful," he warned. "Anyway, are you going to show me this new house of yours?"

Andromeda smiled, glad Sirius had noticed how uncomfortable she was talking about Bellatrix and tactfully changed the subject.

________



Tonks no longer knew where she was. She could hear somone mumbling something - a woman's voice - but it sounded like she was inside the bottom of a thick glass jar and the only sounds that filtered through were distant and blurry. She was exhausted - she wanted to sleep but she couldn't because she was still being thrown violently around the room. She vomited again - she thought she remembered doing the same thing a moment before, but couldn't be certain. Her head felt like it was being banged from the inside by a very large hammer and her stomach was cold.

With an unexpected jerk, her limp body was brought to a stop in the centre of the room. She breathed normally for a split second, suddenly realising that the room was dark even though it was daytime. Was it still daytime? She had no idea how long she had been there - it felt like hours. All she could see were flashing lights of different colours. Maybe she could sleep now... No! Her arms felt funny... and her legs too! They were hot inside... and wait! What was that strange bubbling sound like Mummy's kettle? The heat was spreading throughout her body and she began to scream in agony, her small body crumpled in pain. The noise seemed to be coming from inside her own body... it was re-animating her tired body, the pain becoming more intense by the second. Where was Mummy?

________


"And through here is the dining room, although it doesn't have a dining table yet, and it's looking more like a playroom for Nymphadora by the day!"

Sirius chuckled, but his laughter quickly died away as Andromeda opened the door and released a barrage of bone-chilling screams and fiery sparks of light into the hallway.
It seemed to take him less than a moment to recognise the incantation issuing from Bellatrix's dark lips, despite the ear-piercing shrieks of the flown being flung wildly around the room. He burst throught the door, wand raised, spells already shooting at lightning speed from his lips.
Andromeda simply stood in the doorway, dazed, disbelieving, too stunned to move an inch.
Sirius, on the other hand, was darting around like a Billywig gone crazy, sparks flying from his wand in the manner of a firework display too close for comfort. Andromeda slowly took in the scene in front of her. Bellatrix appeared to have gone into some kind of trance, and was therefore too startled by the intusion to react quickly enough. A blue-tinged silver shard of light from Sirius' wand had already pushed her backwards to the edge of the room, and Sirius was now nose-to-nose with his youngest cousin, wand jabbed towards her, just inches from her throat, his handsome face contorted by a vicious snarl.

As her sister turned her attentions from Nymphadora to Sirius, Andromeda realised with a jolt of icy fear that her daughter was still suspended somewhere near the ceiling. Springing to her senses, she charged across the room just in time to catch the wailing child as she plummeted like a boulder towards the ground. She hugged her daughter tightly to her, planting kisses on the top of her head as she gently smoothed down her hair and wiped the sweat and tears from her face.
"Shhh... shhh... it's alright... it's alright now, Mummy's here... she can't hurt you now... everything's ok, nobody can hurt you... Mummy loves you, Nymphadora, Mummy loves you..." she murmured to the trembling child, barely noticing the tears that were streaming down her own cheeks.

Sirius and Bellatrix were still locked in a kind of stand-off, as though each were daring the other to make a move. Bellatrix's eyes were flashing strangely, a flicker of deranged pleasure clearly apparent.
She was enjoying this! Andromeda realised. Sirius was right. She's pure evil; she tried to harm my child! The full weight of the realisation hit Andromeda like a kick in the stomach. Suddenly, she seemed to gain the inner strength she had been unable to muster in her dealings with her sister over the last four years.
"Get out of my house this instant, and never, ever come back!" she hollered, jumping to her feet to meet her sister face to face; squeezing Nymphadora even closer to steady her hands which were trembling uncontrollably with rage.
"Awwh... can't I hex her some more?" Sirius' tone was light and playful, but his grey eyes betrayed intense hatred and his jaw was set firmly in concentration. He stared at Bellatrix long and hard, then slowly shook his head and stood aside to let her pass to the doorway, never once lowering his wand or ceasing to glare at her retreating back.

As soon as she had left the house, Andromeda felt her knees weaken. Sirius rushed over and she fell into his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. Sirius' words were soothing, and as she began to regain her composure Sirius turned his attentions to Nymphadora. Andromeda stared at her daughter, wondering how she could have been so stupid as to let something so precious be threatened by such severe danger. She had been right to let Bellatrix go, she was sure of that. However, a deep sensation of anger was simmering slowly inside her - she could feel it even through the strange mixture of anxiety and relief she was feeling - and she knew with a grim feeling of realisation that should Bellatrix ever, ever do anything to harm someone close to her again, she would have no qualms whatsoever about doing something almost unthinkably worse. Bellatrix would not get away with it twice, she thought to herself grimly.

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#13
Nicola

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Ok, here's part three. I'm sorry I can't reply to all the lovely responses I got for the last chapter - if anyone has saved their response, please feel free to re-post! Tonks is six years old by this point, and as you will see, very inquisitive. For those readers who were worried about the effect Bellatrix's actions would have on her, I think you will see she is turning out fine. She comes from a loving, caring family, and has (hopefully) pretty much forgotten what happened before. Think she's old enough for a POV of her own now, anyway!

A/N: This update features a pub called "The One-Eyed Witch". However, this name seems rather familiar to me, and I am now desperately hoping I haven't pinched it from somewhere else without giving credit. If indeed, anyone knows another fanfiction in which this name occurs, or if in fact it is mentioned in JKR's books, then please let me know, and I will either credit it or change it. Thank you!!!



Tonks opened one drowsy eye and saw her mother gently shaking her awake.
"Is it morning?" she asked groggily, her mind not yet quite attached to her body.
Andromeda nodded and smiled, then asked softly,
"Do you know what that means?"
Tonks beamed as she stretched her arms and legs out lazily like a cat. One simple word: "Sirius", was her sleepy but contented response.
"Get up then, lazybones", teased her mother, "or else you'll never be ready when he gets here!"

When Tonks emerged washed and dressed and ready for breakfast, Sirius was already sitting at the kitchen table, engrossed in conversation with her dad.
"I've fixed most of the mechanical problems with it - now I just have to work on finding the right spells to get it doing what you want it to without either breaking any Ministry laws or causing it to backfire each time you rev it."
"Mechanical...?" Sirius looked confused.
"It means Muggle problems," provided Tonks knowledgably, helping herself to toast. "What are we going to do today?"
"Aha..." replied Sirius, mysteriously, turning to face her with twinkling grey eyes. "That's a surprise! Now eat up, or we'll be late."
He turned back to Ted to ask some more questions about the bike. Tonks had seen the old Muggle motorbike in her Dad's shed, and had even helped him out with its repair. It had gone from being a heap of rusting junk that had almost made her mother's eyes pop out when Sirius had levitated it up the road to their house, to a gloriously polished machine in perfect working order. She had watched her father lovingly restore the bike - he said it was a vintage classic, whatever that meant - and she had felt a swell of pride on seeing how cleverly Ted had taken it to pieces, cleaned and repaired each individual part, and then put it back together again, each little mechanism in exactly the right place. She listened with half an ear to the men's conversation as she munched her toast.

Suddenly, Sirius turned back to face her. "Right, Little Tonks, ready to go?"
Tonks nodded excitedly and took Sirius' hand. "Has she travelled by floo before?" Sirius asked her mother.
"Once or twice, but not for a while - you'd better hold on to her." replied Andromeda, as she kissed Tonks' cheek and buttoned up her jacket. Ted ruffled her hair, and then Sirius was leading her over towards the fireplace, clutching her tightly in front of him with both arms as he whispered "The One-Eyed Witch!"

The two of them tumbled out of a grate and onto a grubby, sticky hearthrug. The room they had entered smelled strange and was filled with the sound of people babbling. A thick black smoke coiled around their heads, making Tonks cough and splutter. Sirius quickly steered her towards the door, not even stopping when someone spoke to him. "S'up, Sirius?" croaked a rather hoarse voice above Tonk's left ear. She turned to see a squat looking man with a long gingery beard perched on top of a barstool with a large, chipped glass of something red and steamy, and a blackened sooty pipe. His eyes were red and watery and his clothes looked like they had come from the jumble sale they had had at her Muggle primary school. "Can't stop, 'Dung," called Sirius over his shoulder. "Maybe see you in the Hog's Head next weekend?" The man with the pipe nodded slowly and spat on the floor. And then they were out of the door and into the bright sunshine and Tonks couldn't see him any more.
Sirius stopped and brushed the soot off the shoulders of her jacket. "Ok?" he enquired. Tonks nodded excitedly, although she was still wheezing a little from all the smoke. Sirius crouched down next to her, and spoke urgently.
"You must never, never tell your mother I took you to a pub, least of all The One-Eyed Witch, do you understand? She'd hex me as far as Tibet if she found out! It's just you're too young to apparate and this was the nearest fireplace to our destination - I really didn't want to go traipsing six miles over the hills with you, which is what it would've meant otherwise! So, can this be our little secret?"
Tonks nodded, thrilled at the idea of sharing a secret with Sirius.
"Right, that's settled, let's go then!"

There were chairs. Lots and lots of chairs as far as Tonks could see; all arranged in a circle around a patch of grass. She followed Sirius through the rows of chattering people until they came to some spare seats next to a lady with beautiful auburn hair. She rose and Sirius leaned over and hugged her, planting a kiss on her cheek before taking the seat next to her.
Tonks sat down on his other side and whispered furtively, "Is she your girlfriend?"
Sirius laughed. "No, she's James' wife."
"Who's James?"
"James is my best friend. We're going to watch him play Quidditch."
"Oh." replied Tonks.
The lady was leaning forward in her seat now, and she smiled at Tonks, giving her a wink before asking, "Well then, Sirius, aren't you going to introduce us?"
"Sorry. This is Andromeda's daughter, Nymphadora. Nymphadora, this is Lily Potter."
Tonks scowled. "Uncle Sirius, don't call me Nymphadora!" she said emphatically.
Sirius grinned at her. "Well don't call me Uncle Sirius then, or I'll hex you. It makes me sound far too old!"
Lily threw back her head and laughed at this remark, her ringlets bouncing and reflecting coppery glints in the sunlight.
She turned to Sirius and asked, "Where's Remus?"
"Time of the month. So don't be waiting up for your husband - I doubt James will be home tonight!"
Lily nodded. "Of course, I forgot."
"Who's Remus?" piped up Tonks, curious.
"He's another of my friends, but he's not feeling very well today, so he can't come. You'll maybe meet him another time."
Tonks nodded. She began to survery the scene around her with an intense interest. Sirius watched her for a while, then began to chat to Lily. Tonks looked at the rows of people seated on all manner of chairs around the field. At the bottom, the frontmost spectators were perched on wooden benches, whilst herself, Sirius and Lily had comfortable armchairs decked with mulit-coloured cushions right up at the top of the stand. Sirius had told her mum that these were the best seats, but Tonks was worried that she could hardly see the grassy pitch below. She decided to ask Sirius, who explained patiently that Quidditch was played on broomsticks, not on the field, therefore the best seats were the highest ones, as they were closer to the game.
"Is this your first Quidditch match?" enquired Sirius.
Tonks nodded solemnly.
Sirius shook his head incredulously. "Doesn't your dad watch the Quidditch?"
Tonks shook her head. "He likes cricket", she replied.
"Cricket?!!" exclaimed Sirius, with a snort. "Muggles jogging about in white sweaters with silly hats?"
"Hey!" interrupted Lily, slapping him playfully with a rolled-up programme. "There's nothing wrong with Muggle sports!"
She leaned across Sirius closer to Tonks and put her hand to her mouth as though sharing a secret. "My dad likes cricket, too", she said in a stage whisper.
Tonks couldn't help grinning as she digested this nugget of information and realised it meant she had something in common with the beautiful Lily. She was kind as well as beautiful, thought Tonks.

Sirius wormed his way out of his seat.
"Fine, if you girls are going to act all conspiratorial on me, I'm off!"
Tonks stared, aghast, at his retreating back. She turned back to Lily, her mouth open in a dismayed round 'O'.
Lily smiled warmly. "Don't worry, he's not gone really. He likes teasing people like that. Look - there he is", she said, pointing at a small kiosk covered in black and gold bunting.
Tonks stood on tiptoes and craned her neck until she could just make out Sirius' tall form and his long dark hair.
Reassured, she turned back to Lily with a smile. When Sirius returned, they were playing I-Spy.
Tonks suddenly jumped as she felt two arms reaching around her body from behind. She was about to scream, when she saw that the hands were holding out gifts in front of her. "Sirius!" she cried, as she took the flag and omnioculars he was handing to her. "Thank you!"
She looked at the flag curiously.
"What's an Au... Aur..."
"An Auror?" asked Sirius with a smile. "Lily's an Auror, and James too. Aurors are dark wizard catchers. They're very clever people", he said with a wink in Lily's direction.
"Why does it say 'Aurors' on my flag then?"
"Because we are here to see the annual charity Quidditch match between the Aurors and the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, and you, young lady, are supporting James and the Aurors!"
Tonks waved the golden flag with its black writing and watched it flutter in the light breeze. Suddenly it began to cheer out loud, and she almost dropped it in shock. Sirius laughed at her startled expression, and pointed to the pitch. A line of men and women, clad in black and gold uniforms, were filing onto the pitch. They were followed by a line of people dressed in blue and red, at which point the flag began to boo loudly.
"They're the players," said Sirius excitedly. "It's starting!"

Quidditch looked like a very exciting game, but it did go on for a long time. Sirius tried his best to explain all the rules to her, but he leapt to his feet so often to shout nasty things at the opposing team that it ended up being Lily who taught her what exactly game was all about.
"He's not all that good at explaining things, is he?" she asked with a giggle.
In between the exciting bits, Sirius would turn back and chatter to Tonks and Lily. He showed Tonks how to use her omnioculars and she watched the broomsticks whizzing past through the thick lenses. James was dark-haired and seemed like a very good player - he kept catching the large red 'Quaffle' and throwing it through the hoops.
"Would you like to be a Quidditch player?" asked Sirius of Tonks.
Tonks cocked her head to one side and considered. "Maybe..." she responded thoughtfully. "But I think I'd rather be an Auror like Lily and catch dark wizards." She smiled sheepishly at Lily, who beamed back at her before jumping up out of her chair to cheer yet another of James' goals. James was performing a victory loop-the-loop on his broomstick, and Tonks thought he looked very cool, even though he seemed like a bit of a show-off.

During the next lull in the action, Tonks suddenly felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise and she spun round quickly to face a dark figure looming over her from behind. The figure's features were hidden under the shadow of its robes, which it had pulled in closely around its face. She almost leapt out of her skin, and instinctively turned round to find Sirius, yet he was nowhere to be seen. Panicked, she slowly turned back to look at the frightening figure. A strange voice emitted from its mouth, deep and booming, yet strained as though trying not to laugh.
"I am a famous Auror working undercover in disguise... and you... you are an evil hag who has bewitched an entire village and given everyone blue noses and green spots... and I have to catch you!"
"Sirius...?" asked Tonks uncertainly, and the shrouded figure laughed.
Pulling down the cloak slightly, he called over Tonks' head,
"Lily, lend her your wand! Don't worry, she won't break it!"
Lily somewhat reluctantly passed her wand over to Tonks, who looked at it in awe, feeling the smooth wood between her fingers. She grasped it tightly and pointed it at Sirius.
"I am an evil hag and I'm going to give you a blue nose and green spots! And... and... yellow toenails!!!" she cried defiantly.
"Yellow toenails? Urgh!" exclaimed Sirius. "But you can't hex me, I'm an Auror, and I'm going to catch you and lock you in Azkaban!"
"No you're not - you can't catch me!" squealed Tonks, running off and darting in and out of the empty seats. Sirius chased her, wand raised, multicoloured sparks leaping from its tip. Tonks couldn't make any sparks come out of Lily's wand, which was rather disappointing, but she pointed the wand at Sirius anyway, shouting "Green spots and yellow toenails!" before ducking under the next seat.
Finally Sirius pounced on her and lifted her in the air, tickling her all over.
In fits of giggles, Tonks squealed "Stop, Uncle Sirius, stop it!"
"What did you call me?" asked Sirius with a roar, tickling her even more.
Just then, they heard Lily's voice shouting to attract their attention.
"The Snitch! The Snitch!"
Sirius looked up, then pointed up in the sky where the teams were still fighting out the match. Tonks followed the direction of his finger, and saw the two players called Seekers racing down together at top speed. Tonks thought they were going to crash into the ground, they were flying so fast. Screwing up her eyes so she wouldn't witness the smash, she re-opened them a second later to the sound of shouts and cheers.
"Who won? Who won?" she begged of Sirius eagerly.
"The Aurors of course!" replied Sirius, running over to hug Lily.

Tonks looked down at the pitch where all the players were dismounting from their brooms. The Aurors were dancing and singing and waving at the crowds, while the team in blue and red slunk off towards the dressing rooms, broomsticks trailing sadly behind them.
"Come on", said Sirius, and Tonks realised he was now standing at the end of the row of chairs. "We're going to the team party!"
Tonks dashed over to Sirius excitedly, thrilled by this news. "You mean we get to meet the players?" she asked, awestruck.
"Meet them?" scoffed Sirius. "I know them already!"
Tonks pulled a face at him, then had an idea. She scrunched up her face as tightly as possible, and felt her body shuddder. Opening her eyes, she saw Lily staring at her in astonishment.
"Oh, did I forget to tell you?" Sirius asked Lily casually, winking proudly at Tonks. "My little niece is a metamorphmagus, you know!"
"I thought the Aurors would like it", said Tonks to Lily, pointing at her hair which was now patterned with black and gold stars.
"I'm sure they will!" replied Lily, her mouth still hanging ajar. Then she turned to Sirius: "I wish I had been able to do that when I took my Concealment and Disguise exams!"

The party was a marvellous affair, with more food and drink than Tonks had ever laid eyes on, and a band playing in the corner so that people could dance. She had been introduced to James and some of the other players, and now felt very satisfied and honoured to have met such important people. She had then found a pile of old Quidditch comics in a corner of the room, and had settled herself down on a large pile of cushions to read them to herself, leaving the grown-ups to their own thing. The illustrations of Qudditch players in different coloured robes whizzing about from page to page fascinated her, and she decided Quidditch was her favourite sport. Maybe she could persuade her dad to take her out to some local matches when she got home. Or maybe even Sirius could take her, and then she could see Lily and James again... no, Sirius must be very busy - that was a bit too much to expect... still, she could always hope! She glanced back down at the pages, a million questions about the game forming in her mind. This move looked very peculiar - the Wronski Feint, it said it was called.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Sirius' voice, telling her it was finally time to go home. Tonks was surprised, but when she looked out of the window, she saw that the sky was already beginning to darken and the first stars were twinkling above the trees. She felt rather dismayed - the day had been so much fun that she didn't want it to end.
Sirius seemed to see how disappointed she was, because he bent down close to her and said softly, "I'm really sorry love, but I have to do something tonight, otherwise we could have stayed longer. But I'm late already, and my friends need me."
Tonks looked over to where James was standing and realised he was hugging Lily and kissing her goodbye. "Is James going with you too?"
"Yes, he is, but I have to take you home first, and then I'll meet him there." Sirius paused a moment, studying her face with his sharp eyes. "Tell you what, let's do this again sometime. We could go and see one of the league teams next time, and I'll buy you some Bertie Bott's - how does that sound? We may even be able to get tickets to see Catriona McCormack - she's a Quidditch legend!"
Tonks could barely believe her ears - Sirius wanted to take her to more Quidditch matches! She nodded excitedly and wrapped her arms around his neck in a hug. Suddenly her body felt heavy with fatigue and she yawned broadly.
"Can I have a piggyback please, Sirius? I'm tired."
Sirius rolled his eyes playfully, and hoisted her up onto his back, waving to Lily, who mouthed "Take care" as they left the room.
As they walked up the hill to the pub, Tonks asked drowsily,
"Can we play Aurors and Dark Wizards again next time, Sirius?"
Sirius laughed. "I don't see why not."
"Only next time, I want to be the Auror, and you can be the dark wizard", she said through her sleepiness.
"Me? A dark wizard? I don't think so! I don't think I could convince anyone of that!" was Sirius' humourous response, but Tonks had already descended into a deep slumber and barely heard him.

Thanks to Kiss.The.Rain for my wonderful avatar


#14
LaLaLuna

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Awwww, what a fantastic day out! Tonks seems to have adjusted well, I'm happy about that. :crying: The love of her family and "uncle" Sirius, got her through.

I love this chapter because it's mostly through the point of view of Tonks. She's unbelievibly sweet and innocent. Who would have thought Lily was an influence on the young Tonks? And her insight about James being a show-off, hilarious!

"Only next time, I want to be the Auror, and you can be the dark wizard", she said through her sleepiness.
"Me? A dark wizard? I don't think so! I don't think I could convince anyone of that!" was Sirius' humourous response, but Tonks had already descended into a deep slumber and barely heard him.


Yeah, who could he convince? Not me that's for sure and I'm betting Tonks couldn't either. *huggles Sirius*

Hanna :crying:

IKWT!

Beginnings:The Great Purification~by Liliana Muddied Black Blood~by Nicola
My Fics
Riddle and Secrets ~ Coming Full Circle ~ Living Memories ~ The Sorting of Priorities
Luna's Loss ~ A Summer's Day ~ Who Would Have Thought ~ Wilted Flower ~ Spring in the Air


#15
PaulaMcG

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Nicola,
What a wonderful surprise: the lost piece – and a new one! I thought it would take some time for you to rewrite that excellently dramatic chapter, so I didn't expect you to post anything new.


Here's first my review of the previous chapter (which you should perhaps divide into paragraphs again to make it more pleasant for new readers).


I think you did wonderfully with the perspectives. They were not there at the same time but taking turns in a perfectly clear and natural way, so that a reader would not have to stop to consciously think about them.

You wrote Tonks's pov very well, too. I especially liked the paragraph after the cup had got broken. And then it just got better. The subtle hint at the fact that the same abuse had happened a year earlier was excellent. And the description of her experience of the hex was wonderfully terrible.

You stuck to the two povs consistently, though if not Bellatrix's, at least Sirius's pov must have been tempting. But I think this was a clever choice, because you had more interesting details to describe in Sirius's actions and A's feelings than the other way round. Besides, you had the chance to mention Sirius's handsome face. But you also described him as a lovable person in a plausible way through a cousin's eye, without exaggerating, actually hardly even mentioning, his sexy manners.

I really liked the way you stopped to analyze A's strange mixture of feelings at the end. This time you didn't escape her feelings but described them directly – so that the very last phrase ("she thought- ") was actually not necessary.



This latest piece was pure pleasure to read. Both Sirius and Lily were portrayed as extremely charming young adults. And life was – fortunately – mainly carefree when seen through the little girl's eyes.

There were actually rather few details providing any contrast to the loveliness of Tonks's day out with Sirius, but they were well placed. I liked the pub and the glimpse of Mundungus. You allowed excellently the conversation on cricket to evoke in Tonks a thought of Lily having something more general and profound in common with her. There could have been an implied idea that Tonks had learnt she faced and would face special challenges because of her muggle background. I loved the references to Remus, of course, and I really hope James and Sirius were not late. Finally, Sirius's last comment was excellently poignant and thus deserved to close the chapter. I do believe that Tonks would remember the day exactly as you wrote it (if she had perfect memory) and that she will think about those words, though she barely heard them.
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<span style='color:Gray'>Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - and <span style='color:Gray'>short stories on Completed General Fanfiction</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - by PaulaMcG (Eija)</span>
<span style='color:Black'>No one knows you like I do / Nobody can know your heart the way I do /
No one can testify to all that you’ve been through / But this will. (Paul Simon & Derek Walcott, 1997.)</span>

#16
*Liliana*

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"Me? A dark wizard? I don't think so! I don't think I could convince anyone of that!" was Sirius' humourous response, but Tonks had already descended into a deep slumber and barely heard him.

Hmm...I took that as a type of foreboding...Sirius will eventually (and unwillingly) convince everyone he's a dark wizard because of Peter's betrayal. ^_^

What a brilliant story, Nicola - You truly have outdone yourself. Every word choice is directed toward the story, bringing emotion, empathy, and images clearly to my mind. I really like how you're developing the characters; you're making them very much your own. I especially like Andromeda. Now every time I think of her, your portrayal of her will be in my mind.

Sirius' attentive and tender side is something I've never really read in other fanfics, and I'm glad you're showing it. The closeness between Sirius and Tonks is truly sweet, and I'm beginning to understand how Tonks has become Tonks through all the experiences and people she's met.

All I can say now is post more soon! ^_^

#17
makya

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"Me? A dark wizard? I don't think so! I don't think I could convince anyone of that!" was Sirius' humourous response, but Tonks had already descended into a deep slumber and barely heard him.

There is huge irony in that line it's very sad...

This is great and original!!you show the characters wonderfully can't wait for more!!

#18
Nicola

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I really can't believe I have been so long in updating this, and I am truly sorry to all my readers - I hope I haven't lost you! (Although I could quite easily imagine that I have, as I have been neglecting my reading of other people's fics, as well as my writing!)

I feel bad making excuses for the hideous amount of time that has passed since I last updated... but there are a few reasons! I first put this story on hold as I had the idea for What Now? and couldn't resist writing it while it was fresh in my mind. I also took some time off to try some original writing.

I have also been putting off this next installment as it is a Sirius POV. I love Sirius dearly, but really wasn't sure if I could do him justice - he is a very difficult character (which, of course, makes him all the sexier!) Anyway, he was in a bit of a mood and wasn't talking to me for a while, and I found it very difficult to get inside his head.

When the story finally started flowing, in December, I got caught up in all things Christmassy, and then spent Christmas at home with my parents, who have what is possibly the world's most frustratingly bad internet connection... so even when I did have a bit of time on my hands I couldn't get anything out of my head and typed up! When I returned to my house, I went on a training course for work, so was studying like mad in the evenings for my exam (which paid off, because I passed!) Then when I got back to work, all ready to be able to relax in the evenings and do some writing, I found out that my company is having some problems and I was too stressed worrying about how long I will actually have a job to even think about writing or reading! Fortunately things seem to be slightly better now...

Anyway, enough about me, and over to you! I am so sorry that I was unable to reply to your responses to the 2nd post, because they were lost when the boards crashed, so I am going to make sure I respond to all of you this time!


Hanna - Thank you as always for being so loyal! Yes, Tonks has adjusted well; the nasty things she has experienced will remain with her, but they will also shape who she is, and the positive relationship with her parents (and of course, Sirius) has reassured her that life can be good. She has developed the strength not to dwell on things and to get on with life, even at her age. I have always thougth she is pretty feisty, and overcoming the abuse is maybe one reason for her strength of character. I'm so glad you liked this chapter. Tonks is sweet and innocent at this age, but some more things will happen that will toughen her up - maybe you remember some of them being mentioned in my old fic? I'm also happy that the Tonks POV worked - the next installment after today's is the first Tonks 1st person POV, so hopefully that will work out too! It's already partially written as I started it ages ago, so hopefully it won't be quite so long in getting posted! Thanks for the lovely response.

Eija - As always a wondeful long response from yourself - thank you so much! Sirius' POV was indeed tempting in the "torture" installment - although I don't think that the things going through his mind regarding Bellatrix would really have been post-able on a site like the Snitch! Glad you appreciated the need for 2 perspectives, and that I managed to keep them clearly defined. I am also really pleased that you picked up on the "little things" that I put into my stories - sometimes they are foreshadowing and sometimes background, but I don't think everyone realises sometimes that throw-away comments can be important to the storyline! You will hear more about the difficulties of being a Half-Blood in this next chapter. I wonder if in this next installment you will think I have managed to restrain myself from making my beloved Sirius too sexy (as you commented about the Andromeda POV)... hopefully you will be surprised by some of the aspects I have given him... but maybe not. He was difficult to write anyway!

Lils - Thank you for reading and leaving such a fantastic response - I was jumping around when I saw how much you had praised the story - I don't think it quite deserved that much! I am so glad you like Andromeda. I have a very definite idea of her in my mind, but sometimes I don't think I portray her very fairly, as she often seems to be arguing with Tonks in the scenes I post! But with two Black women in one house, what can you expect?! Just a bit too much stubborness and fire for comfort at times! But in reality she is one of the most caring mothers in the world, and will do anything to protect the family that she has already gone through so much difficulty to gain. As you pointed out as well, Sirius does indeed have a tender side, and a huge softspot for little Tonks - although he wouldn't dare show it to the outside world - he is Sirius Black, the epitome of cool - how embarrassing it would be if everyone found out what a softie he is at heart! I'm also glad you commented on how her experiences build up to make Tonks who she is - that is one of my main aims with this story, and hopefully it will continue.

Makya
- Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to this! I really appreciate any comments from readers, and saying that my story is "original" is one of the highest forms of praise - thank you! Hope you carry on reading...

And to all of you... thank you so much for picking up and commenting on the last line of the last chapter. It was intended to be deeply ironic and poignant - I wasn't at all sure I had carried it off, so thank you for reassuring me that I succeeded!


To Marymcbeth, Unforgiven, Bellatrixblacklestrange, Kyla and Zach... so sorry that my previous responses to your comments were lost when the boards went down. I really do appreciate all of you leaving messages on here. I hope that I have not lost you as readers, and that you will continue to respond to the updates. And special thanks, once again, to Marymcbeth who had saved the 2nd chapter of this story (which the boards deleted) on her computer, when I, stupidly, had not saved it at all. You're a lifesaver!!!


Anyway, moving on to the next installment, before my comments become longer than the update itself! As I said before, it is a 3rd person Sirius POV. I am rather nervous about posting it, but here goes!!! I hope there is enough about Tonks in here to fit in with the rest of the story - Sirius did take over a bit, but I felt the need to put the events in context, and to portray Tonks from a different viewpoint.

In the same way, I have omitted the parts of Sirius' day that were not relevant to Tonks' story. It would have gone on forever, and wouldn't have told you any more about Tonks, who is the subject of the story. If anyone wants to fill in the gaps, feel free.

Some of you who were reading my long fic (now dead and not coming back, ever!) before the boards were hacked, may recognise a few scenes from this one... let's see how good your memories are!

And apologies if I get a bit carried away with the motorbike bits - I was absolutely engrossed in the fantastic TV programme "Long Way Round" (about Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman travelling the world on bikes) at the time I wrote most of this!

I have only just realised when posting this that my comment about Remus appreciating art is blatantly taken from Eija's wonderful stories about Remus. Eija, thank you so much for allowing me to use this reference!






The engine spluttered as Sirius approached the streets surrounding his destination. He wondered how long the silencing charm would hold out – Lily might be the best charmsmistress he knew, but she had been feeling a little fragile lately and he was sure that however much she protested to the contrary, the pregnancy had diminished her strength somewhat. If his friends knew he was using the bike for an Order mission, they would be horrified- but he had an urge this morning to feel the wind through his hair, to emphasise his freedom somehow, to prove to himself that he wasn't intimidated by the task that lay ahead- that meant either bike or broom, and he knew which he preferred!

Something in the mechanism choked and wheezed again; still, he doubted that any Muggles would hear; the buttery yellow dawn was only just starting to flicker over the horizon to dilute the watery indigo of the sky. Not that he really cared about Muggle dimwits hearing him anyway – it was quite fun to sneak up behind them and rev loudly right over their heads- having used a concealment charm first, of course, so that the poor buggers didn't know what was going on. He had startled an old man just yesterday, standing at the bus stop – he had turned white as he dropped his shopping bag with a clatter to the floor, and the expression on his face alone had been worth it. But today, of all days, he did not want any delays or distractions. Another warning from the Improper Use of Magic Office would cost him too much valuable time. He was only going this way because he felt an urge to speak to someone who actually understood-

Of course, he hoped she wouldn't guess that this was in fact the reason for his visit; that he needed a boost to his confidence because his insides were churning. Over the last few years, he had acted as her support in matters of the family, and he dreaded her realising that their roles had become inverted- even in her presence he liked to maintain an air of cool indifference where his own emotions were concerned- he was Sirius Black, not an irritating wimp like Peter.

__________


Andromeda was waiting with the door open, leaning against the doorframe. Even at the crack of dawn she succeeded in looking her usual elegant self – the bright colours of her Oriental silk dressing robe accentuating her pale features and raven black hair.

She smiled as he parked up the bike and approached. "What are you doing here at this time of morning?" she enquired.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" he asked, returning her hug.

She shook her head. "It's always good to see my favourite cousin."

Sirius wondered what it was that puzzled him about her greeting, then realised he hadn't informed her she was coming. Why, then, was she at the door awaiting his arrival. She was useless as a Legilimens, or indeed at any kind of Divination, so had someone informed her of his visit? Was he being followed? There had been more and more occasions recently where the Order felt that their security had been compromised – he seriously hoped that today would not be another – it was going to be difficult enough as it was.

Andromeda was now holding the door open for him, inviting him in out of the cold, but he hesitated, resisting the urge to throw a glance over his shoulder.

"Andi," he asked cautiously, "how did you know I was coming?"

Andromeda laughed. "Ted recognised the sound of your engine. You know what he's like – he can distinguish the hum of any bike he's ever worked on! Apparently you may have a problem with your main cylinder, whatever that is, but how he knows just from listening is beyond me! Do you want him to fix it?"

Sirius shook his head and stepped into the house. "Sorry, no time now. This really is a flying visit."

A small head stuck its way through the banister railings and from somewhere under a scruffy mop of multicoloured curls a voice issued:

"Mum, what's hap-" It stopped abruptly, and pulling out her head, the girl stood up straight on the stairs.

"Sirius!" she exclaimed, racing down with arms outstretched. Sirius watched Andromeda's daughter hurtle herself towards him, and gathered her in a hug, spinning her around until she begged him to stop.

He placed her back on the stair, but as he turned back to speak to Andromeda, he noticed the eight year old's face grow sulky. He looked at her questioningly, and was met with huffiness.

"You didn't come to take me to Quidditch last week. Or the week before!" she accused him now.

"Tonks, I'm sorry."

He sensed his cousin stiffen at his use of the name Tonks', but Sirius really couldn't see how it would help the girl to go on calling her Nymphadora when she clearly hated it – and he was also proud to see that even at such a young age, she was every bit as rebellious as he had been – and though he would never admit it to Andromeda, he felt an compulsion to nurture that aspect of her personality – to not let her mutinous urges be quashed.

"Really, I am sorry. I wanted to come, but I was tied up elsewhere."

You don't know how literally I mean that, he thought to himself ruefully. He was still feeling the twinges of the Cruciatus Curse administered by Rodolphus Lestrange. Subconsciously rubbing his wrists where the rope had burnt them, he offered Tonks a compromise.

"What if I come back tonight, and take you for a ride on my bike?" he suggested, knowing she wouldn't be able to resist. He watched her eyes widen as those of her mother narrowed.

"Really? Tonight?!!" Tonks looked out of the window at the motorcycle longingly.

"Well, I've always said I would take you up one day... why not today?" he said, ignoring Andromeda's audible tutting. He understood that she was worried about her daughter, but there was no point wrapping her in cotton wool. They were living in a time of conflict, and to him it was important that everyone should live their lives to the maximum possible – to go defiantly and with no regrets had always been his mission in life. Andromeda, on the other hand, seemed to hold the opinion that as normal a life as possible was what was best for Nymphadora under the circumstances, and she went out of her way to ensure her daughter had the blithe and unconcerned childhood that she had always dreamt of herself. This way of life, however, seemed to Sirius more contrived than carefree- Andromeda protected her daughter to such an extent that she hardly let her see the real world. She was not a bad mother by any means, and Sirius knew that Nymphadora would grow up happy and intelligent- however, he knew she was capable of more than a quiet respectable existence, and wanted to see the feisty Black defiance he had caught glimpses of become a true, strong streak of her personality.

He wanted her to be a fighter, to make her own choices about what it was important to believe in, to know exactly who she was. A person who would stand up and fight if she had to, someone who would never do something solely because she cowered in fear of the repurcussions. She was the surrogate child that he knew now, even at the age of twenty four, he would never ever have, and he wanted to raise her according to the values of his own life. He wanted to influence her, for an essence of his own self to somehow be carried on through her.

James, and even Remus- they were the kind to be fathers, and he was as excited as even Lily and James themselves about the impending birth. But he himself? He could never stay still for long enough, he was too reckless to think about settling down. James tried to tell him that a yearning for stability, for just one woman and one home in one place, would come with age, but Sirius knew instinctively – had always known – that it could never happen. He was on the run, and always would be- settling down would mean facing up to the true extent of his past, and it was not only more comfortable, but more exhilarating too, to keep running. Apart from anything else, he was afraid of losing that part of him that made him who he was – his bold and unruly wilfulness would become crushed and stifled if he tried to change the very core of who he was for the sake of a woman or a child. Even if there were children out there (and if you believed all the gossip, it was highly likely that there might be), he could never claim them as his own, as it would mean admitting an unbreakable tie with someone, a tie that was not of his choosing, unlike the immensely strong bonds between himself and his friends, which had been forged of his own volition.

No, Nymphadora was safe for him, somehow- he could nurture a little being, influence her and teach her all he knew, with none of the responsibility required by parenthood. It suited him down to the ground.

___________


He had to get to the point of why he was there. He yearned to be able to stay a while with these wonderful people, the only family he acknowledged, or who acknowledged him; some of the very few people in the world who didn't irritate him intensely within minutes of meeting. But he was wasting time, putting off what had to be done, and he was already late.

It wasn't as though he were nervous- Sirius scoffed at the thought. No, there was simply an ongoing feeling of dread and a complete unwillingness to do what the Order had requested of him. He liked to think he had put that part of his life behind him, and at the age of 16, he had vowed never to set foot in Grimmauld Place again. So why was he doing it today? Why was he returning? He had stood his ground and refused to carry out tasks that had been put to him before now – why not this time? He knew it was because of both the expectant couples he cared for so much- Frank and Alice... but especially James and Lily. If anything happened to their baby in his account... well, it didn't bear thinking about. He'd die for their child, he knew he would... he just didn't especially want to have to, if at all possible.

He sensed the muscles in his face grow taut as he contemplated once more the effects of the conflict- the force of the realisation of what this war could bring about never lessened- never ceased to smack him in the stomach like an unexpected hex.

"Tonks, go back upstairs now. I need to speak to your mother."

The girl scuttled off so quickly that Sirius was a little taken aback by how sharp his voice must have sounded. He turned back to face his cousin, and saw worry etched onto her face; lines deepening where they shouldn't be at her age. The sight jolted him - Andromeda had always been so beautiful and full of vigour - such weariness was completely alien to her features. Even though she looked puzzled as to the reason for his visit and his agitation, she obviously knew him well enough to be concerned.

He had hoped to conceal from her the true extent of his feelings about his mission- to be blasé Sirius who didn't give a toss about those stuffy old codgers who somehow had the ability to subsist on a mixture of suffocating centuries-old air and a good dollop of pomp and circumstance. Whose diet of pure-blood arrogance and bloody carnage seemed to nourish their twisted spirits rather than destroy them as they would any sane human being. Those for whom being pasty and pale and inbred was a triumph; a matter of pride rather than of concern.

But it had always been harder to pretend with Andromeda- he had had no difficulty in standing up at the last Order meeting and accepting their proposition as though it were as easy for him as riding a broom; his pride had seen to that. But Andromeda knew him. She shared a past with him that even their closest friends had trouble understanding.

___________


He found himself sitting at the kitchen table, with a chunky mug of steaming peppermint tea being thrust towards him. Slowly, he told her of the mission. How he had to go back to Grimmauld Place after seven whole years to spy on his family and to glean any information as to the activities of the Death Eaters. How Regulus had been confirmed as a known follower of Voldemort, and how the Order was concerned about the power the Dark Lord was able to command now he had so many sons of the most powerful wizarding families on board.

"As if that twit Regulus could be anything other than a hindrance to them!" he scoffed, but Andromeda did not laugh.

He did not mention how, suddenly, the images that had softened with time and now only populated his nightmares on the darkest, most sinister of nights, would suddenly have to become real to him again and lose their softened fuzzy edges in the cold light of day. How the shrieks from his mother's portrait were already reverberating around his head, making him nauseous, despite being only a caricature of the real thing, which something in his mind still blocked him from hearing. He did not need to say these things- he would not be Sirius Black if he admitted his fears.

"And anyway," he finished brightly, "I thought I would pop by on my way over, to see if there was anything you wanted from the house- any heirlooms you didn't have chance to grab or anyone you'd especially like me to hex for you?"
It sounded lame and he knew that Andromeda had seen through this feeble excuse for his visit immediately.

She did not say anything, just squeezed his hand tightly, and scrutinized his face. Sirius turned his head away towards the window, uncomfortable under her gaze... knowing that even without any skills of Legilimency, she could recognise exactly the kind of turmoil that was consuming him. If he held her stare much longer, he feared his emotions would spill out, and then he wouldn't be...

Out of the window it was getting brighter. He stood up with a start, suddenly eager to be on his way... to get this crap over with. He had stayed longer than he had anticipated, and, hearing the birds begin to sing, realised he would be too late if he didn't get going straight away.

"Thanks, Andi. I've got to go, but first I just had to, you know, tell someone..." Sirius swallowed, and embraced his cousin.

She smiled. "It's what I'm here for. And don't forget," she added, "You made a promise to a very-excited someone. See you later!"


*******************************************************************


The return journey, without the pressures of the morning, was sheer exhilaration for Sirius. He wheelied through the clouds and sped over treetops so quickly that he sent a shower of flustered leaves in his wake. He tried a couple of loop-the-loops, but admitted ruefully that he still hadn't quite mastered them. Seeing the Tonks' little house come into view, he pointed his front wheel skywards, revved aggressively 'til he saw Andromeda's face peer from behind the net curtains, then swooped down suddenly, shedding the disillusionment charm as he did so, and stopping abruptly just short of the back door. He saw Andromeda cautiously opening her eyes, which she had squeezed shut as he hurtled towards her, and grinned mischeivously as he waved to her. She shook her head, but couldn't stop herself from smiling at his antics.

A door creaked open behind Sirius and Ted emerged from the work-shed at the bottom of the small garden.

"Bloody hell, Sirius! You may not be able to build these things, but you certainly know how to ride them! I've never known anyone so useless with a spanner have such an aptitude for riding bikes." He wagged a spanner at Sirius as he spoke as though to prove his point.

Sirius laughed, shook Ted's hand and slapped him on the back.

"Thanks mate. Actually, don't tell Andromeda, but I'm thinking of entering in a race... you know, one of those long-distance Muggle things..."

Ted looked amused. "And I suppose you'll use all kinds of magic to cheat your way to the finish line?" he enquired.

"Maybe..." was his slightly evasive response.

Ted shook his head and laughed. "Where's the fun in that?" he asked.

Sirius winked. "The girls, Ted. The girls. They love a daredevil hero type of guy."

Ted snorted. "Well, good luck then... anyway, do you want me to get on and fix this? I don't want Andromeda frightening herself to death imagining all the things that could happen on a faulty bike when you take the littl'un up."

Sirius nodded. "Good point, thanks Ted. I'll just go in and say hi to Andromeda." He noted that Ted also avoided using the name his daughter hated, instead referring to her usually as "The littl'un", "love" or "sweetheart".

__________


Sirius grinned as he opened the door, and watched any anxiety on Andromeda's face dissolve as soon as she laid eyes on him.

"Oh, Merlin, Sirius! I'm so glad to see that cocky smile back on your face! I was actually worried about you for the first time in my life this morning! It went ok, then?"

"Yeah- well, not as badly as I had been dreading, anyway. I'm sorry about this morning – I just felt the need to reassure myself that I did have at least one blood relative who wasn't itching to Avada Kedavra me!"

"Two, more like! What about Nymphadora? She's a blood relative too, you know!"

Sirius smiled, then remembered something at the mention of Tonks.

"Oh Merlin, no! I forgot her Bertie Botts'! She's not back from school yet, is she?"

"No, I was just going to get her now, actually," replied Andromeda, picking up a long, black, velvet-lined coat and her bag from the kitchen table. "You'll just have time to nip up to Hogsmeade before we get back... a little hint for you though - she is really getting into Chocolate Frog cards at the moment - they're usually a special treat for her, so you'll really be in her good books if you get her some!"

"I'm already in her good books, remember; I'm taking her flying!"

Andromeda rolled her eyes and shook her head. "And here I was, hoping you'd forgotten. Wishful thinking!"

"As if!" Sirius snorted. Then, more softly, "Don't worry, you know I'll make sure she's safe. No stunt riding!"

Andromeda forced a rueful smile.

"Anyway, you'd better get going - you don't want your daughter to be the last kid left in the playground!"


*******************************************************************


"Sirius Black!!!! I'll hex you as far as Tibet!"

Sirius jumped, then frowned in both puzzlement and amusement by this greeting, as he wondered what exactly he had done to merit such a hostile welcome. Nice to know his presense was appreciated!

As Andromeda was nowhere to be seen, she had obviously been listening out for the crack of his apparition back into the house. She strode into the hallway, hands firmly on hips, and glared at him with such ferocity that he knew immediately that she wasn't joking, as he had at first assumed. The bemused half-smile in his face quickly rearranged itself into a more serious expression. As her piercing amethyst eyes continued to bore into him, he tried his utmost to look innocent. Not that it should be hard - how could he look guilty if he didn't even know what he was supposed to have done? Still, Andromeda was one of the world's few people who could actually make him cower - it probably stemmed from the time she caught him peppering his brother's dinner with Shrinking Solution... no, hang on, she had found that funny... anyway, whatever the reason, she had always possessed a bit of clout that, although he was loathe to admit it, enabled her to maintain a certain hold over him. He knew it would be unwise to try to joke or charm his way out of this one.

"Do you know what Nymphadora went and did today? Honestly, you can be so stupid sometimes, Sirius, I swear it's like looking after two children when you're around!"

Sirius shook his head, and lowered his eyes slightly. darn, that made him look guilty, he knew it! But even though he hadn't been able to maintain eye contact, he still didn't know what had made her so angry. And why was it his fault if Tonks had got into some kind of mischief?

Andromeda was still seething as she began to tell him what had happened. Tonks had apparently told her teacher and some friends at school that her Uncle Sirius was visiting tonight, and that he was going to take her on a ride on his flying motorbike. The headmistress had called Andromeda into her office to express her concern about "Nymphadora's overactive imagination" which could, apparently, be a sign that she was "trying to hide more serious issues at home by retreating into a world of fantasy that was becoming indistinguishable from the real world in her mind".

Sirius laughed out loud. He couldn't help it, it just erupted from him, as he imagined the headmistress' stern face.

"Sirius! It's not funny! I was embarrassed!"

"Sorry," replied Sirius, although he knew the amusement in his voice hardly made him sound sincere. "What did you tell her?"

"I told her nothing! I just performed a memory charm on her. And her teacher and half the kids in the school - it was no easy task, I can tell you!"

"Where is she?"

"She's upstairs in her room. I told her no bike ride as punishment."

"Awwwhh, come on, Andi... that's a bit harsh, isn't it? It's not her fault she was so excited - she's been looking forward to this for years!"

Andromeda's face softened slightly. "I know it's hard on her. But she needs to learn that she can't go round talking about magic to strangers. We've already had to move house once..."

"That wasn't her fault, Andromeda... she could hardly control her morphing at that age..."

"Yes, but I really don't need a repeat performance. I can't have the stress of moving our lives to another place all over again. We're settled here now, we have friends, Nymphadora is happy at school... it'd be as bad for her as for Ted and I if we had to uproot her now."
She paused.
"I don't think you really grasp how hard it is, living between two worlds. Growing up in a family like ours hardly prepared us for behaving with the kind of discretion that you need when you're surrounded by Muggles - we never went anywhere that didn't admit only the finest Wizarding pure-bloods... Merlin, my parents thought Muggle-hunting was a sport! And then, obviously Ted's family are fine about all the Wizarding stuff, with him having been through Hogwarts and everything. It's the normal people you have to be careful of - the neighbours and the other mums at school... Ted's drinking friends... the milkman and the Avon lady..."

Sirius screwed up his nose. "Who in Merlin's name is the Avon lady?"

"It doesn't matter!" snapped Andromeda. "What I'm trying to say is that that girl needs to grow up understanding that there are two different sides to her existence, and that they have to be kept separate. The Muggle side is just as important as the Magical one... but she has to understand she can't mix them willy-nilly. And you're hardly helping - encouraging her to be reckless and stupid like yourself!"

"Hey, come on, that's not fair! I only want her to grow up thinking for herself! She needs a bit of freedom to become independent!"

Andromeda sighed and shrugged resignedly.

"Look, Sirius, just watch what you say to her, ok? She isn't an adult and you don't always seem to realise you have to speak to kids differently - especially one like her with a completely different upbringing to yourself. I know you didn't mean to cause trouble, but just remember how many Muggles she sees every day at school, and that she can't always keep a secret if she's excited about something."

There was a considered pause.
"Oh, and Sirius? Since the memory charms seem to have worked this time, I suppose she can still have that stupid bike ride if she wants to."

Sirius leapt forward and enveloped his cousin in a bear hug. "Thank youuuuu!"

Andromeda rolled her eyes. He knew that she was thinking that he was often even more childlike than Tonks, but what he suspected she didn't know was that his childish behaviour and pranks were often as much for her benefit as her daughter's. She seemed to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders at times, and Sirius and Ted both agreed they had a duty to stop her from worrying so much, and if that meant doing daft things to cheer her up, then so be it.

___________


He quietly knocked on Tonks' door.

"Go away!" came a muffled shout.

"I know the magic password!" he called back.

"No, you don't..." came the adamant reply, although her voice displayed a note of curiosity and rather less huffiness on hearing his voice rather than her mother's.

"Yes I do. It's Alohamora!"

A pause. Then, "No it isn't!"

"Yes it is... look!" He took out his wand and uttered the simple incantation. The door swung open.

Tonks was sitting at her desk, paper spread out in front of her. She looked up as the door opened, but hastily averted her eyes, bent her head and continued colouring vigorously.

Sirius approached cautiously. "Are you ok?" he asked.

Tonks nodded assertively, but to Sirius it looked as though her sparkling dark eyes were trying to force back tears. She chewed her lower lip, whether to stop the sobs or possibly simply to concentrate harder on her drawing, Sirius did not know.

"Can I see your picture?" he asked.

Tonks reluctantly lifted her arms and allowed him to view what she had drawn. His breath caught in his throat. The picture was amazingly detailed, and showed a thin, dark man with long hair riding through a star-filled sky on a motorbike. His face was determined but kind, and his hair flowed softly, despite the severity of his nose and cheekbones. Sirius was genuinely touched by how she had depicted him, and somewhat uncomfortable with the depth of her perception. Could an 8 year old really read him that well? If so, she truly had a talent for seeing the truth in people.

"That's brilliant, Tonks- really stunning," he murmured.

"It's for you," she answered proudly. "But I can't make the stars twinkle- can you do it, Sirius, pleeeease, with your wand?"

Sirius pretended to consider this. "Well," he responded, shaking his head, "it's a very difficult spell, to bewitch a picture. I don't think I can do it by myself, sorry."

"I can help you!" she responded excitedly. Sirius knew how much she liked trying to learn magic spells, and she seemed to have quite a talent. He just had to be careful not to infringe the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery when he taught her things. It was one thing getting himself into scrapes with the Ministry, but another entirely if he got Tonks a reputation for trouble before she even started at Hogwarts.

"Ok then, you point my wand at the stars you want to twinkle, and I'll say the incantation," he suggested.

He held out his wand, and Tonks took it very carefully, as though she held some ancient treasure in her hands. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he always carried his old wand when he visited her; she was such a clumsy little girl that he didn't dare offer her the wand that had chosen him personally – at a time like this, who knew when he might need it? A vision of the previous weekend again flashed across his mind, of himself raising his wand to Locust Malfoy and Snivellus Snake- and he shuddered, dispelling the image as soon as it entered his consciousness.

When Tonks had finished with her drawing, she presented it to him, a satisfied smile on her face.

Sirius praised her talent, once again disconcerted by the frank image of himself reflected in the coloured lines and shapes. He made a mental note to take it with him tomorrow morning when he met his friends for coffee before work. He was sure Lily would like to see it – she was engrossed by anything relating to children at the moment, and she and James frequently asked after her. Remus still hadn't met Tonks, but he appreciated art... although maybe he would simply laugh at how taken Sirius was with this juvenile attempt - he shared Sirius' amusement at how soft James had become since the announcement of his impending fatherhood, and Sirius didn't really want Remus to think he was headed down the same path.

__________


"Come on," he said, "It's time to go and do this for real! Still looking forward to your first bike-ride?"

She shook her head sadly, and some of her former sulkiness seemed to return. "Mum won't let me."

"Yes, she will. I spoke to her."

Tonks shook her head again, more forcefully, her curls bouncing. "No she won't. She's in a mood and she's shouting at me again. She's always angry at the moment. She never lets me do anything."

Sirius sighed, and wondered how much he should tell her. Andromeda wanted to keep her innocent to the horrors of the war for as long as possible, and he had to respect her mother's wishes, even if he didn't agree with them. At the same time, though, it wasn't fair if Tonks honestly thought her mother was an evil old hag - Sirius knew it was only because Andromeda cared for her daughter so much that she was so over-protective.

He slipped an arm round her shoulders, and began, "Look, Tonks, you have to be careful what you say in front of Muggles. They really don't understand magic, and they'll likely as not torment you if they have the slightest inkling that there's something not quite "normal" about you. Kids can be cruel."
Sirius was thinking of the way in which some of the Slytherin kids had treated Remus in some of his physically weaker moments rather than the way in which he himself had bullied Peter and Severus.

"I know," protested Tonks. "But I was just so excited- it just slipped out. Mum sorted it out with a memory charm, so I really don't know why she was so angry."

Sirius chose his words with agonizing care.

"Well, your mum has got other things on her mind at the moment. There are some bad things going on in the Wizarding World and she worries about them affecting her family. She doesn't want any bad things happening to you or your dad."

"What kind of bad things?" inquired Tonks.

It genuinely seemed that she hadn't picked up on anything about the war except her mother's tension. Maybe he shouldn't mention anything that might frighten her. Then he remembered the incredibly candid insight she had shown in her portrait of him and it occurred to him that she was so sharp she couldn't possibly be entirely ignorant of the goings-on around her. Sod it, he thought. Better that she knows the truth than lies awake churning over snippets of overheard news and making a mountain out of a gnome-hill.

"Tonks, what your mum and dad probably haven't told you is that there is a war going on. A very serious war."

Sirius almost regretted his frankness as he took in the look of shock mingled with fear that had overwhelmed Tonks' pale little face. He thought quickly.

"The reason they haven't told you is that they don't want you to to get frightened and upset. But I know that you are grown-up enough to be brave,

#19
LaLaLuna

LaLaLuna

    Countess Devil Spawn

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*HUGS* Nicola you're back! Congrats on passing your tests, but sorry to here about the company you work for, hope things continue to get better though.

This was a wonderful update! And it was great to see it through Sirius' POV. It's nice to see the inner workings of his mind.

And I think you do a great portrayal of Andromeda. You showed all her worries and fears through Tonks. The moving, the unintentional leaks that she has to constantly be on guard and the stress of an ongoing war while trying to raise a child from both worlds.

I recognise the drawing! That was the drawing that Sirius had in one of your other fics. It was a piture that Sirius alwasy carried with him (the old softie :P )

This was great, hope we don't have to wait too long for another installment. (take your time)

Sirius screwed up his nose. "Who in Merlin's name is the Avon lady?"

LMAO

Hanna ^_^

P.S.~Let us know how your original writings are going.

IKWT!

Beginnings:The Great Purification~by Liliana Muddied Black Blood~by Nicola
My Fics
Riddle and Secrets ~ Coming Full Circle ~ Living Memories ~ The Sorting of Priorities
Luna's Loss ~ A Summer's Day ~ Who Would Have Thought ~ Wilted Flower ~ Spring in the Air


#20
PaulaMcG

PaulaMcG

    Author of the Exceptional Martyrizer of Remus

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Nicola,
It was a wonderful surprise that you suddenly reappeared on the forum with a long lovely update.

My favourite parts – as I suppose was appropriate since this is preliminarily a story about Tonks's life – were those in which Sirius and Tonks were interacting and he was thinking about her. And my very favourite moment was Sirius observing how Tonks continued her colouring and tried to hide her tears. It was certainly a climax when we saw the picture. I remember reading a description of it and of its meaning to Sirius before, but it became increasingly real now when I saw Tonks producing it. I suppose it's quite realistic that an eight-year-old girl can be good a drawing her hero (though a motorbike may be hard to depict) and especially in such a half realistic, half idealistic way that the hero himself is more than satisfied. I trust Remus will appreciate this piece of art, too. The drawing was somehow a summary of the whole of this Sirius piece, wasn't it?

Sirius actually ending up telling Tonks about the war gave serious weight as such to the last part of the update. But it also showed how Sirius saw the little girl as not so little – unlike her mother did. In this way you did not limit yourself to telling us about Sirius's thoughts of her but showed us how he treated her. This topic also tied nicely together with the beginning when Tonks couldn't imagine what could have prevented Sirius from taking her to Quidditch matches. The fact that Sirius told her about the war without having considered it beforehand shows a lot about his attitude towards her (as he even asked her to take care of her parents!), but also about his basic temperament and his perhaps somehow careless defiance – even against her parents.

I don't think there was too much about the motorbike. This feature was just wonderfully recurring throughout the story. And this was Sirius's point of view, after all! In your version it seems to me that the bike was his one true love. You know, for a while I thought I was reading about my Sirius, when he thought how he knew he'd never have children. I hope you'll write more about Sirius to show in detail some of the experiences behind his attitudes.

Here when Sirius got absorbed in his thoughts for such long periods, I felt like questioning whether you made him too self-aware (mainly because I've been criticized for something like that). But no, I think you just allowed him to repeat somehow stubbornly his current ideas that he'd always been defiant and that was it. You left space for the reader to wonder what the background, the more nuanced reality and the alternatives could be. Sirius seemed to have incredibly good understanding of Andromeda, even when he was burdened by his task, but it was understandable on the basis of how close they had always been.

And I really admire how you have developed your way of describing the thoughts and feelings of your characters. It was absolutely necessary in this piece. You couldn't possibly have made Sirius say aloud all that you wanted us to know. As he put it, he wouldn't have been Sirius Black, if you'd made him do that. It was wonderful how you made it clear that Andromeda actually got to know everything, anyway, but it was still impossible to say anything too serious.

The part about the confrontation at school was essential to give more insight into Tonk's life as a half-blood. And you also tied it well to the issue of Sirius's attitude towards her. Andromeda reminded him of the fact that he needed to talk to a child (especially a half-blood child) differently – while it seems completely natural to me that a young man like him would not see any reason for that in the same way as the mother would. And she didn't mention the war even in this discussion with him – so the revelations Sirius made at the end were more impressively surprising.

I'm afraid this review was not coherent at all and I haven't dealt with everything I should have. I think I'll continue discussing this update with you in pms. Thank you for this wonderful reading experience, and I'll be looking forward to the next one.
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<span style='color:Gray'>Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - and <span style='color:Gray'>short stories on Completed General Fanfiction</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - by PaulaMcG (Eija)</span>
<span style='color:Black'>No one knows you like I do / Nobody can know your heart the way I do /
No one can testify to all that you’ve been through / But this will. (Paul Simon & Derek Walcott, 1997.)</span>

#21
Nicola

Nicola

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Well, I didn't realise it was quite that long since I had updated - although I knew it had been a long time! Far too long, and I apologise to my readers. I had some problems earlier in the year which prevented me from working on this as much as I would have liked. More recently, however, it has been a case of writer's block. I found this chapter very hard, as it is told from the point of view of a ten year old. It was hard to express some of the emotions and situations without using language that seemed too advanced for a child. You must forgive me if Tonks' vocabulary appears rather advanced at times, and if the storytelling seems a little simplistic at others. She is a clever child though, so I don't expect any of the words I chose would really be above her.

It is rather a short chapter, but I feel it says what I had to say. I have been looking forward to the Hogwarts and post-Howarts chapters for a while - this one was more necessary storytelling than anything else, as the events of this chapter really are significant to Tonks' future. I don't feel it is one of my better-written pieces by any means (as I said, it caused me no end of problems!) but it is important to the story.


Before I start, I must say thanks!

Hanna - Gah! The company I worked for ended up being my biggest problem, as I'm sure you know! Oh well, I am back on my feet now! Glad you liked Sirius and Andromeda - I love them both! Andromeda isn't as bad as she seems sometimes - she just frets a lot about Tonks. And you remembered the drawing! I wondered if you would. Just goes to show how I can't separate my different fics in my mind! Thanks as always for replying.

Eija - Really glad you appreciated my portrayal of Sirius. Usually when I write him, it is in 3rd person, through my own rose-tinted glasses. Here was a chance to get inside his head! The part about him never having children, was of course a reference to Azkaban and his untimely death, although he himself doesn't yet know that the sense of darkness he has about his future is for any real reason. It was very important to me that he should have been a strong influence on Tonks as a child. The fact he treats her like an adult is one of the reasons she likes him best. He doesn't really know how to talk to kids, and there is enough distance there that he isn't over-protective in the way that her parents sometimes are. I'm happy also that you appreciated the references to, and the importance of, the drawing. I'm sure Remus did like it. You may have noticed, by the way, that although she has met Lily and James, Tonks has not yet met Remus. Deliberate? Of course! Anyway, thanks very much for the response.




Tonks ran up to her bedroom and shut the door firmly behind her. Delving under her bed she pulled out her Christmas present from Sirius. The rich black velvet binding felt soft and soothing under her fingers, and she turned the diary to the next fresh, clean page. Her hands were hot and trembled slightly as she took out her best quill and ink. The quill was pink and the ink turquoise; they matched the sparkly flowers she had stuck all over the diary's cover - the stylish velvet had seemed rather boring to her 9 year old eyes. Sirius had known she had a creative flair, so had deliberately bought her a plain book that she could make her own. She had been writing in it for 10 months now, so it fell open now well past halfway.

Her face was burning as fiercely as her hands and her eyes itched. She picked up the quill and began to write.


Nobody tells me anything! Ever! It's not fair. Mum has been crying all day but she won't tell me why. I don't think she can speak, actually. I've never seen her like this before... I've never seen anyone so sad, in fact. I remember her getting angry and upset with Aunt Bellatrix one time; so angry that we never saw her again. (Thank Merlin!) But I've never seen her so helpless and distraught before. She's always seemed so strong. I don't think she's ever cried in her life before today! I want her to stop. I wish I could make her feel better, but even when I hugged her, she just stared straight ahead and played with my hair as though she didn't really realise what she was doing. Dad says to leave her alone a little while, and let him try to talk to her. I hope he can make her feel better. She is just sitting at the dining room table and her face is white. I don't think she brushed her hair this morning. Maybe someone has died. Maybe Grandma or Grandpa or Aunt Vicki. I heard an owl arrive during the night - maybe it had bad news. I'd better go and ask Dad. The really strange thing, though, is that everyone outside seems really happy. There's a street party down the road and lots of fireworks. I bought Mum a party hat with my pocket money from a strange old wizard with no teeth who came to the door selling things... I thought I could cheer her up, but she didn't even look at it. She just stared at the dining room wall as though she found the lumps and chips in the paintwork fascinating. Just like when I tried to hug her. But I did hear her whisper something very quietly; it sounded like "I'm sorry, Nymphadora"... but it couldn't have been, because she hadn't done anything to be sorry for. I think I really definitely should go and ask Dad.

I just saw them through the door. I went downstairs to ask Dad about why Mum is so upset, and when I got to the dining room door, I saw him hugging her. She had stopped crying but she actually looked even worse than before. Her eyes looked strange, as though she couldn't see through them, and she didn't blink the whole time I watched them. Her throat was moving around like she couldn't swallow something, and she was kind of swaying backwards and forwards. Dad was talking to her very quietly but they didn't notice me standing there, and I heard what he said. He was comforting her, and then he began to talk about someone else.
"Come on, love. We have to tell her soon. She is asking questions - you know how inquisitive she gets. She knows something is wrong - she's a perceptive young lass, and I can see it's hurting her seeing you like this."

Suddenly I realised they were talking about me. I was going to say hello then, and let them know I was there, so that they would tell me the big secret, whatever it was, but then Mum shook her head and told Dad "No, not yet", and so I stepped back and made sure they wouldn't see me there. I know I shouldn't have been eavesdropping, but Mum's voice was so croaky and tired that I wanted to find out what was wrong - I was worried about her. She carried on speaking and I had to really listen hard but I did hear what she said.
"All we have so far is an owl from..."
She looked down at the piece of paper in her hand, "...Remus Lupin, calling all of his friends to fight. I think he's one of Sirius' cronies."
Mum's voice went all funny when she said Sirius' name.
"I don't even know what's really happened myself yet. I couldn't possibly tell Nymphadora until I know the truth."
Then Dad spoke, softly and kindly;
"Why don't you contact Amelia at the Ministry and see if she can do anything to help? It might all be a big mistake."
For a moment, her eyes stopped looking like dead fishes' and looked like Mum's eyes again. Dad was still holding her, and he kissed the top of her head. She seemed to spring back to life as though she suddenly had a purpose, and, gathering her parchment and quills together from the bureau, she sat down and began to scribble away. All I could hear was the scratch of her quill, and I crept away and back up to my room.

So what has happened? Why was it so hard for her to say Sirius' name? Maybe it's Sirius who has died! No! It can't be him! Besides, they said it may all be a big mistake. I hope so. Sirius can't be dead! He's one of the best wizards in the world. He can fight 20 Death Eaters all by himself - he can't die! And what does Auntie Amelia have to do with all this. I know she's Mum's best friend, but how can she help? I'm getting really confused now. I just wish somebody would come and tell me what's going on, but Mum isn't herself and Dad seems too busy trying to look after her. But I'm scared. Something is wrong. I wanted to go out and join the street party earlier, but now I just feel sick and my chest feels all squashed, like I can't breathe. I just want to know what's happening!

Amarante, Mum's owl, just arrived back with a large, embossed envelope from the Ministry. I was watching the shooting stars from my bedroom window and saw him fly in through the kitchen window below. I heard the clatter of a chair and Mum running through to retreive the letter, then eerie silence followed a moment later by a huge sob. So she is crying again. And I still don't know why. How can I make her feel better if I don't even know what's wrong? I'm not even going downstairs this time. I hate seeing her like this. I'll only start crying too, and then that'll upset her even more. Dad told me I had to be strong for her. Well, I can't be strong, so I'll just stay in my room. Maybe they'll remember me at teatime. I'm hungry.

Dad just came up to see me. I pretended I didn't hear him knocking on the door at first. I had just heard something downstairs that I had never heard before and never want to hear agian. Mum and Dad were arguing. Mum was shouting "We can't tell her!" and I think she was talking about me. Maybe they are going to get their Marriage Vow dissolved and then Dad won't live with us anymore and it will all be my fault because the argument was all about me and whether or not I was old enough to be told something. I didn't want to listen - I buried my head underneath my pillows, but I could still make out some of the muffled words. So when Dad knocked gently on my door, I thought he was coming to tell me he was leaving, and so I told him to go away.

He came in anyway, and seemed surprised that I had been crying. He asked what was wrong, but then appeared to realise even while he was speaking what the problem was. He hugged me tightly and said he was sorry for not telling me what had happened before, but that he had had to look after Mum.

Then he told me what was going on. I was so keen to hear exactly what he had to say, I remember every word perfectly.
"Sweetheart, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that the war is over. I'm sure you knew there was a war going on, even if your mother and I didn't talk about it much. Well, the Dark Wizard who caused the war has been defeated, and we are safe. So that is the good news. The bad news..." Even Dad sounded like he was about to cry when he said this,
"... the bad news is that some of Sirius' friends, Lily, James and Peter have been killed."

I couldn't believe it. I just stared up at Dad, a lump welling in my throat. Beautiful, clever Lily, and Quidditch James, dead? But they were too young and too... too alive!
"Yes, darling, I'm sorry, but it's true.They were very brave and tried to fight, but they just weren't strong enough - from what I hear, it was the dark wizard himself who killed them."
"Where's Sirius?" I demanded.
I wanted to give him a hug and tell him how sorry I felt for his lovely friends who had looked after me at the Quidditch match.
But Dad shook his head sadly. "Sirius is very upset. He's gone away for a while. Nobody really knows where. He just took his motobike and said something about going travelling and getting far away from it all. I think he needs some time on his own to sort out his feelings. He may not be back for a very long time."
"Can I send him an owl?"
Dad shook his head once more. "No darling. I think the best thing to do is just to forget about him."

Forget about Sirius? Was he mad? Sirius was my friend, my favourite relative, who did all sorts of cool things with me, and treated me like an adult! I stared at Dad incredulously, but he would not meet my gaze. I found myself wanting to talk to Sirius now, just because I knew he would tell me the truth. Because he would treat me like everyone else and tell me exactly why Mum was upset and what the end of the war really meant. But he had run away to Tibet or Azerbaijan or Egypt or Peru or somewhere... and he hadn't even said goodbye to me. I know he was upset about Lily and James, but how could he forget about me and Mum before he went? Dad said he wouldn't be back for a long time. But who would take me to Quidditch? And he had promised to teach me all the secret passageways before I went to Hogwarts next year. Who will do that now? I miss him already. I don't know what I'm going to do without him. Poor Sirius. And poor Lily and James. Life isn't fair.


The ending is a little weak, I know. But how do you end a chapter on the loss of Sirius? :P

Thanks to Kiss.The.Rain for my wonderful avatar


#22
LaLaLuna

LaLaLuna

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OH Nicola! This was a wonderful chapter!

I know how difficult it is to talk with the words of a child, but I think you did an excellent job!

I wanted to cry with Tonks several times throughout the different situations of her entry. The observation of everything through her eyes were just. . .well done. . .Tonks was able to "see" everything, but because of her age, she couldn't put it all together (as most children).

Andromeda's emotional state and actions tie in with your other fic "For A Friend". Ted's awesome love and support toward his wife and his gentlness with his daughter makes him a hero (in my eyes at least). He had so much to contend with. . .his wife's life has been sent into a spiral. His daughter's has been pulled from under her...

My thoughts are so jumbled about this and I may not be making any sense, but know that this was packed with emotion. Well written.

Hanna

IKWT!

Beginnings:The Great Purification~by Liliana Muddied Black Blood~by Nicola
My Fics
Riddle and Secrets ~ Coming Full Circle ~ Living Memories ~ The Sorting of Priorities
Luna's Loss ~ A Summer's Day ~ Who Would Have Thought ~ Wilted Flower ~ Spring in the Air


#23
*Liliana*

*Liliana*

    The Storyteller

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So excited you're still going with this, Nicola. It's one of my favorite fanfics on the site. ^__^

This story was packed with wrought emotions that, even through a child's eyes, made it so real and vivid. I could not only feel but understand the despair and melancholy that pervaded over the Tonks' home at this time.

It must be utterly horrifying for Andromeda. Now she's really alone in the world without any member of her family. And you portrayed the ten year-old's understanding very well; I could actually see little Tonks think and act like you said she might. I especially enjoyed the run-on sentences you used in the diary entry - makes it seem more like the harried mind of a worried child.

I also admire the way you showed, and not only told, Andromeda's anguish in this story. With every addition - in the gaze of her eyes, the way she held her daughter closer to her during so many losses - kudos to you! You can really paint a picture, Nicola.

I can't wait for the next chapter, wondering what changes this might bring to Tonks and the rest of her family. PPMS. ^__^

#24
PaulaMcG

PaulaMcG

    Author of the Exceptional Martyrizer of Remus

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Nicola,
I was happy to find an update on this thread, as I assume you are now more inspired than ever to narrate Tonks's whole life. I can't help wishing all your fics complemented each other as parts of the same reality – even "What Now?" I'd like to suggest that you mention the characters of that story in your signature, too. (By the way, thank you for mentioning me among others.) I actually just started playing with my own interpretation of the not-so-happy ending to NT/RL you offered to us in that fic. Perhaps Tonks only assumes that Remus is in the gutter, while he's actually managed to finally escape the romance and found a new purpose for his life, teaching pacifism to the werewolves- All right, I know I'm most probably in the minority with this interpretation as well as with the way I still interpret JKR's Lupin after HBP.

I can understand why you don't want your Remus to have ever as a teenager or a young adult met the little girl – over ten years younger than him. The way Andromeda checked Remus's name in the letter when talking to his husband gave me the impression that she had never met Remus or even heard of him before Halloween 1981, either. I wonder why your Sirius had not introduced this friend of his to his favourite relatives, since I doubt the poor werewolf had too many close friends. It seems your Remus and Sirius had not been in particularly bad terms for a long time, as Remus seem to have believed in or at least hoped for Sirius's innocence. I really like the detail of Remus urging friends to fight and at least insist on a proper investigation and trial. You must have mentioned this in some other fics of yours.

Finally to your little Tonks. I do like the voice you gave her. In my view it's a special challenge to build up the illusion that your protagonist actually writes down the story. (Even in first-person I never intend to reach more than the illusion of the viewpoint-character's verbalized thoughts, the contents of his consciousness. I would find it difficult to convince my readers that even Albus, not to mention Remus or Sirius, would write in a diary or a letter the paragraphs I compose in my short stories.) However, you succeed very well. After the first first-person paragraph I first thought that there was a break and Tonks had experienced something new before continuing to write. When I read further I saw that the diary entry actually worked as a whole, since even after Tonks had listened to her parents she still felt the same way as she described in her first paragraph. At the same time, there was some progress from the reader's perspective. We found out something unexpected and felt curious to learn what Ted had decided to say. Therefore, the chapter works as a real story with a plot – while being an emotional piece of character development. Besides, there are wonderful details – e.g. the party hat, the owl flying in when Tonks is looking out through another window – which both make the scenes narrated by Tonks vivid and concrete, and allows us to experience the day from a convincing young girl's perspective.

I did like the last paragraph, too. It was not too lame at all. I feel it was realistic, as Tonks's thoughts were self-centred enough. I found it very convincing that she would think what the loss of Sirius meant to her life in rather concrete terms. It was also very fitting that she thought how Sirius had treated her like an adult. This detail become quite essential, as the whole chapter is actually about the parents' considering, arguing and deciding how much their young daughter could be allowed to know and how much she had to be protected.

I'm afraid my review doesn't really focus on the essential facets of this wonderful chapter, but perhaps I'll have more to say, if we continue the discussion.
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<span style='color:Gray'>Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - and <span style='color:Gray'>short stories on Completed General Fanfiction</span> <span style='color:Gray'> - by PaulaMcG (Eija)</span>
<span style='color:Black'>No one knows you like I do / Nobody can know your heart the way I do /
No one can testify to all that you’ve been through / But this will. (Paul Simon & Derek Walcott, 1997.)</span>




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