"Of course," he nodded. In fact he’d be a little worried if he couldn’t lead the way to a flat that was just a floor above him. A flat that Dumbledore had purposely pointed out to him — always vacant until now. Remus would have to inquire about Dora, not because the pink haired witch didn’t seem genuine but because it was never a bad thing to double check these things. Until then though there was no use in not showing Dora to the flat. What was the worst that could happen?
He listened as she spoke once again, perhaps trying to convince him that she wasn’t going to be that loud neighbour. He wasn’t particularly worried about that, didn’t feel he had the right to be. Still, her mention of baking caught his attention. Remus had always had a sweet tooth, you could blame his mother for that; it wasn’t out of hand though. “Baking is a handy skill.” He mused, Remus wasn’t a baker himself but that didn’t mean he was ignorant to the fact that the ability to bake was desirable. “Do you always offer your leftovers to strangers?” His tone carried a hint of amusement. It wasn’t that he wasn’t thankful for the offer, more that she seemed so willing to do a good deed for a neighbour. Remus could list many people who, particularly in the midst of this war, would barely converse with a new neighbour. Then again if Dumbledore had sent her then it would make sense that she hadn’t jumped to negative conclusions. “Not that the prospect of sweet baking is awful.” He added, ensuring that she didn’t get the wrong idea about his words.
She elaborated on the music playing and he nodded in understanding. There she was listing an example and he’d taken it literal, ridiculous. “Oh, okay,” he chuckled lightly as they rounded the corner, coming into sight of the flats in question.
In his neighbourhood, a bloke like himself was often dragged out of his home courtesy of Sirius, James and even Peter. Or he was needed in Order meetings. Though she’d asked about fun and the latter certainly wasn’t, while the former only had its moments but could end up far away from just his neighbourhood. “In this neighbourhood? Not too much, I’m afraid.” He may have lived there but that was the extent to his knowledge about the place. With the exception of nearby shops that was. “So unfortunately, can’t give you the inside scoop.” He gave an apologetic smile as he made his way up the steps to the flat. “What were you looking for?” The assumption that she’d asked in order to find ways in which she could entertain herself was a given.
Tonks was starting to get put out that this Remus wasn’t the same one she’d left. He didn’t look at her with love filled eyes or wrap his arms around her to hold her close or any of the little things he used to do because he loved her so much. And she had to hold herself back because she knew he’d freak if she blurted out an “I love you!” So Tonks decided to amp up her flirty side because she was growing so impatient. She knew what Remus liked and what he didn’t so she hoped this wouldn’t be as hard headed as he been the last time she’d tried to be with him.
"But we’re not strangers," she said with a small smile, laughing to herself about how much they weren’t strangers. "We’re neighbors now. I might have to stop by to borrow a cup of sugar one day and it would only be fair to repay you with the baked goods I made with it."
She frowned playfully at him when he confessed that there really wasn’t many interesting things to do in this neighborhood. But she should have expected it really from her little bookworm who would rather stay at home than go out. “I was just looking for a place where a girl and a bloke could have some fun. Maybe we’ll have to investigate that one together.” Tonks wasn’t going to take no for an answer here. Her and Remus would find at least one local pub where she could win him over with her terrible karaoke rendition of ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love.’ Brushing past him purposefully, Tonks opened the front door of the building for Remus to lead the way to her new place.
Dora repeated his initials and Remus was just waiting for the unfortunate words telling him that she preferred that to Remus. Perhaps he should have preferred it than a name he’d cursed for literally leaving nothing about his ‘furry little secret’ to the imagination, but Remus had come to be more accepting of the ironic name and certainly wouldn’t want to trade it in for R.J. that was something he’d cringe at, for sure. Thankfully though the young woman rejected the offer and instead chose to stick with Remus. The wizard had to let out a sigh of relief which probably made it obvious he wouldn’t have been a fan of the name. Remus was probably lucky his first meeting with Sirius hadn’t gone like this because he’d have likely been going by R.J. since then otherwise, regardless of protests. “That makes two of us, then.” Revealing what she’d probably already guessed — he didn’t actually want her to call him R.J.
"It’s just around the corner." He informed her, nodding. "So you were pretty close." Or very close really, though he understood why she’d chosen an alley to appear in. "Any closer and you’d have been inside the building." He was of course referring to the fact that she’d seemed to have either landed on the bins or fallen onto them after finally making it here. Either way she had to be pretty close to the wall when she’d apparated in, at least that’s what Remus had assumed she’d used in order to find herself in the alley.
Remus started towards the end of the alleyway, checking back to make sure she was following. “I’d like to assume Dumbledore wouldn’t have me put up with a bad neighbour.” Though with Dumbledore who knew? He had his own ways of going about things that one usually couldn’t guess until you’d discovered what he wanted you to discover. “You play it that loud?” Remus wasn’t exactly a fan of loud noises or anything of the like because more often than not he was reading and it disturbed him. However he also couldn’t be hypocritical because if that time of the month came around and he didn’t manage to make it out of the apartment then he’d certainly be making more noise than her music ever could. Not pleasant noise either — the shrieking shack didn’t get its name because he was singing lullabies. “The walls are pretty thick so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
She laughed at his relief when she told him she preferred Remus to R.J., it was so cute to see his genuine concern that it was going to stick. “Just around the corner? Brilliant! I trust you can lead the way,” Dora said with a grin.
Realizing now that she wasn’t making the best first impression that a new neighbor would want to Tonks backtracked in tried to talk herself up. “Oh no, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m a pretty great neighbor. I used to work really odd hours so I’d stay up late when I was off and I started to teach myself how to bake to fill the hours.” She definitely wasn’t close to Molly Weasley and she couldn’t count how many fires she had started on her fingers and toes but when Remus had joined her things always went smoother. “And I always make way too much for myself so if you have a sweet tooth then I’ll bring you down the extras.” Was she bribing him to gain some affection? Yes, absolutely. But she just wanted her husband to love her. Was that too much to ask?
"No, I don’t play it that loud. It was more of an example.” And example she had taken straight out of their personal life. But it probably was a good idea that she kept her music down because she’d packed all of her records from 1995 and it would definitely be suspicious if someone overheard. She was relieved to hear him say the walls were thick because she already knew she wouldn’t be able to keep herself from turning to volume up on any of her Weird Sisters albums. “So what does a bloke like yourself do in this neighborhood for fun?”
Remus didn’t know what he had been expecting really, but he certainly hadn’t been expecting the girl to be looking for him. He also wasn’t expecting her to mention moving into the flat above him, mostly because there was a specific reason as to why the flat above his own was in fact empty. Remus thought that Dumbledore would have let him know about anyone coming to take residence in the flat. Evidently, that was not the case. “Oh?” His voice contained surprise that wasn’t very well hidden. “You’ve found him.” He added quickly with a small smile, almost as if to prevent her from catching on to the previous hint of surprise in his voice. “He didn’t mention anything to me.” He clued the young woman in. There was obviously a reason as to why Dumbledore offered the apartment he owned to the girl though, and who was he to question the man’s choices?
Blue hues flickered down to the extended hand before he took it. Dora, short but sweet and if they were going to be neighbours, easy to remember too. “Nice to meet you.” Perhaps she already knew his name and she certainly had the initials down at the very least, but regardless Remus introduced himself. “Remus Lupin. Unless you preferred the R J.” He regretted saying the last part, because now there was a slight chance that she’d actually have preferred the latter and he’d be stuck being referred to as RJ instead. Remus and Moony was quite enough for him.
"So, you wanted a grand tour?" He raised a brow slightly. Not that the grand tour would consist of much other than showing her where exactly the flat was.
She feigned surprise and relief at finding the elusive R. J. Lupin. Of course she’d known it was him but she couldn’t tell him that without looking suspicious and blowing her cover. Tonks stopped herself from laughing at the face he pulled after saying she could call him RJ just in time. The Remus she knew would never have enjoyed that nickname and she could tell this one wouldn’t either. “RJ,” she repeated slowly, as if she was actually considering using it when in fact she was only fucking with him. “R. J. Hmmm. Nah, I think I’ll just call you Remus. I like the sound of that a lot better.” Grinning brightly, she took another step closer to him, unable to resist that closeness they always had.
"I’d love a tour, thanks. I’m assuming I was at least able to land somewhere nearby if this is where we’re to take our trash out to." Any excuse to get more time with him she would take. Her whole plan hinged on growing close to him, becoming friends, though she was certainly hoping that they would be more than that. "I’ll be a good neighbor, I promise. Don’t be shy to come up and tell me if I’m playing my music too loudly or something." A smile grew on her lips as if she was sharing in some private joke with him because in a way she was. Her Remus was constantly telling her to turn down her records or the radio because he couldn’t read with that noise.
Turning the corner, two black bags full of rubbish in each hand, Remus was startled to find a girl in the alley beside his home. Many a time had he taken the trash out but he could confidently say that he’d never seen the pink haired young woman at any time before now. His eyes had widened at the sight of her, and he’d stopped in his tracks. Not only were his blue orbs staring at a girl in the alley wondering why on earth someone he was fairly certain he’d never seen before — and Remus made a point to at least remember the faces of his neighbours — but she had also managed to knock over the trashcans that were situated there. He had to wonder how she’d even managed that. Of course he could have simply been jumping to conclusions and it might not have been her at all. A stray cat perhaps. Though cats generally weren’t big enough or strong enough to create such havoc.
If Remus had left his house just a few moments before he’d have heard the loud crashing noise and known for certain that for some reason the mess was because of this girl who sported oddly pink hair. Remus couldn’t say he was all too familiar with any possible trend of vibrant hair that may have occurred recently, even so he would have to admit that she had done a great job in making sure she stood out in a crowd, if it was ever questionable that she wouldn’t.
The questioning look on his face only seemed to carry more questions when the girl spoke, yet he continued walking nonetheless. No one was a fan of taking the bins out and generally it was best to get them in the bins as soon as possible. Which was what Remus was aiming to do. “Hi.” He responded to her greeting with one of his own. He couldn’t have said much more either because the girl who was currently nameless began speaking once again. “Don’t worry about it.” He shrugged it off. It wasn’t a big deal that his bins were currently tipped over; it didn’t take a lot to stand them right back up again. Though he wouldn’t have to worry about that because soon enough the nameless young woman was pulling her wand out, to which Remus raised his brows and within no time the bins were almost perfect, save the lids.
The lids didn’t matter though because Remus wasted no time to remove them and place the bags he was carrying in the bins. The young man turned to the pink haired girl and furrowed his brows just slightly. “Uh,” He was looking for words, or more specifically which question to ask. “Is there a reason you’re in the alley tipping cans over?” He questioned her, partially joking and partially trying to understand the situation — for some reason there was a fellow wizard in the alleyway beside his house and Remus didn’t like to rely on coincidence too much these days.
Tonks laughed nervously for a second as she tried to regain control of herself and to recall the cover story her and Professor Dumbledore had come up with. “I’m, ah, looking for an R.,” she faltered, though on purpose to seem as if she’d genuinely forgotten the name. Out of her pocket she pulled a slip of paper, which was blank, but he didn’t know that. “R. J. Lupin. Professor Dumbledore said there’s an empty flat above that I can rent from him. Number 3 Baker Street.” She knew that when he was younger Dumbledore had set him up in an apartment where the one on the floor directly above was empty. Something about making sure no one could hear him during his transformations. But technically Dumbledore owned number 3 and Remus paid his own rent on number 2, because he’d never take charity if he was capable of paying his own way.
Realizing she had yet to tell him her name she bustled forward, stowing her wand away safely and extending her arm. “I’m Dora by the way.” That was what he always called her and she technically wasn’t a Tonks anymore. She was lying about so many other things to him that she didn’t think she could add her name to that list. Plus she definitely wouldn’t be introducing herself as Nymphadora because that was a ridiculous and terrible name.
Her instructions had been clear, yet daunting, but if Tonks could accomplish it she’d not only help save both the wizarding and muggle worlds but also countless lives including the man she loved with all her heart, Remus Lupin. It was delicate business, turning back time but Dumbledore had entrusted it with her so she wouldn’t fail him.
It hadn’t hurt to travel back a decade and a half but it had taken longer than expected, 3 minutes and 28 seconds to be exact. She’d positioned herself so that she’d appear in the alley next door to the flat he’d once told her he lived in when he was 20. Tonks popped into 1980 with a crash and a bang as she tumbled forward into the trashcans that lined the dirty brick wall of the building. “Fucking shit,” she grumbled to herself. Of course she had broken her first rule not even a second in. Don’t draw undue notice to yourself, Dumbledore had warned her. Her instructions were simple: make friends with Remus, should be easy enough, and then use the knowledge she had from the future to save him. And the hundreds of other people Voldemort and his Death Eaters had killed. But she selfishly had Remus’ life as her number one priority to save.
She was just going to pop into his flat to do some recon while he was at work but first she had to send a message to the Dumbledore from the past. The words were confusing but he had promised her that when he heard them he would know what to do to get her identity set in place. If anyone were to ask she was a cousin of her father’s who was schooled in Beaubatons after being kicked out of Hogwarts for rampant after hours dueling, ironic because she had been given many a detention during her seven years for just that.
Her contemplations were disrupted when the very man who still owned her heart came around the corner with several very full bags of trash to dispose into the cans she had knocked over. Hair brightening to the most shockingly pink shade, Tonks couldn’t keep the smile off her face at the sight of him, alive and looking healthier than she’d ever seen him. That didn’t mean he still didn’t have that underfed look but he’d always sported that. His cheeks were fuller and his eyes didn’t hold that haunted look of friends lost that they had in the future. “Hi,” she breathed out. It was one thing to see photos of him younger but to see him in person was almost too much. He’d always been handsome to her but to see him in his youth only magnified that. “Sorry about the bins. I’m dead clumsy.” She needed to pull herself together but it was so hard actually being face to face with him. Taking her wand out of her pocket, Tonks flicked it at the tipped cans so that they righted themselves and then the spilled garbage put itself back inside. Only the lids were left askew, she never could manage to make things look totally tidy.
Despite his being truthful and letting her know that this was not a task of any sort, her wand was still up. He had to praise her for her caution. No one knew these days. Everything had gone to pot in the wizarding world, so much so that it became hard to really know who to trust, particularly when it came to strangers. And that’s what Remus was, a stranger. And the pink haired girl was one to him and yet he didn’t have the comfort of a wand in front of him of course something was telling him that he may not even need one — if not the fact she’d stated herself to be an Auror then something else. Something he couldn’t quite put a finger on to be truthful.
Then she spoke and my did that make Remus’ eyes widen. His hand came to the back of his shaking head, and his eyes were almost begging to tear away from the girl in front of him. Of course that wouldn’t be a wise move on his part, even if he could usually trust intuition. “What? — No, I — That’s not why you’re here.” He stumbled over the words, but managed to get them out. Of course the words he had chosen had gone on to imply that he did know why she was here which was certainly not the case. “I don’t know why you’re here — but I wouldn’t do that.” Why did he feel the need to defend himself to a young woman he did not know? That was beyond him.
"You should figure that out though." The fair haired young man suggested, wondering how she couldn’t know how she got here. Had she apparated? Surely not because she’d have to know where she was going to do that. Or did she think she was in the right place? "Was there a place you needed to be?" His brows furrowed, still quite confused by the situation.
Tonks couldn’t help but snicker at his embarrassment over her joke; she knew he wasn’t the type to do something like that but she couldn’t resist. “Don’t worry, blue eyes, I’ve got you pegged. You’re much too straight laced to try that trick.” She was grinning as she spoke, not wanting to seem harsh or rude in her assessment, just that she thought he was a good bloke (those were always the most fun to tease). “Alright, alright, so you didn’t bring me here.” She nodded and jumped down from his bed, lowering her wand to the floor in the process. Of course she wouldn’t stow it away until she knew she was completely safe but for now she felt safer.
She was trying to figure out why she was here, obviously, and she didn’t need him to suggest that to her. Now she’d ruled him out and she could look into other options. “Well, I was on my to Diagon Alley after a spot of breakfast at the Leaky. Just gonna have a look in at the shops before I had training tonight. Am I at least close? I don’t like skiving off Auror training, much too important.”
Her eyes fell upon a copy of The Daily Prophet a few feet away and she remembered an article she had wanted to read but hadn’t gotten to it yet. It was too far away to see it properly but she saw the big, black letters and knew it was the right paper. “Do you mind if I have a look at that? There was something in there I wanted to read but didn’t have time but I have the feeling I’ve got it now.”
She didn’t take her wand away from him, but she wasn’t firing curses either. That could only tell him that for now, he was fine. Maybe not fine because the wand was still trained to him, but any Death Eater wouldn’t have waited this long to fire a curse at him. He had to judge this scenario as decent considering that were the case. Besides, Remus was fairly confident that if she did decide to use that wand for purposes other than simply pointing it at him, he would be ready. He may not have his wand in his hand, but he knew exactly where it was and it only took one swift movement. He was not worried. He held his hands out in a manner that suggested he hadn’t even been thinking of it — which was wrong. “I take it this means my tea break is over.” He commented, blue orbs looking directly at the girl.
He raised a brow as she spoke once again, he was still rather confused by the girl’s presence. Adding on the fact she was speaking to him as if he knew something that she didn’t, and his confusion only increased significantly. Auror Tonks. Remus knew of one Tonks, or two he supposed and that did not include the one that was currently on his bed. He knew though that Ted Tonks was a muggle-born wizard, so either this was a completely different line of Tonks (which was not a common surname) or well, there really wasn’t another option that could cross his mind because this was certainly neither Ted nor Andromeda.
"Debriefing and orders." He nodded slowly, as if to imply that he understood which he definitely did not. Well, he understood what she was saying of course, it was why she was saying it to him he didn’t understand. "Right." He scratched the back of his neck. "Well, actually, I think you’re in the wrong place." She was definitely in the wrong place. Though the fact she was an Auror spoke volumes, like the fact she wasn’t going to Avada him any time soon. "And I fear if you’re still here in about thirty minutes, I will not hear the end of it." He was fairly sure that it had gone 11 now and his friends had told him that they would be turning up at his door at half past. While he knew half past would be pushed back due to their tendency to get sidetracked, he also knew that if they found him with the pink haired girl — something quite odd really, though at the same time it suited her very well — then he would never hear the end of it from Sirius. And the others, but he knew Sirius would be the main culprit. Not to mention the multiple accusations that would be thrown his way as well.
He was repeating her query, finally they were getting somewhere. Tonks raised her eyebrows at him but resisted the urge to tell him to hurry up with it, not wanting to piss off someone who held her assignment in his hands. But he was taking his sweet time and she didn’t have all day, though those records in the corner were calling her name, making her want to stay and listen to at least one. Then he broke the news that he wasn’t going to be giving any sort of assignment for her training and Tonks was now entirely confused as to why she was there. She ignored the part about him wanting her gone before his friends came over because it didn’t really concern her what they thought. All she wanted to know is why she was here.
"So if I’m not here to get something, why am I here? In you bedroom? Were you trying to see if you could conjure a witch up in here?" She grinned cheekily at him, though her wand didn’t lower in the slightest, laughing because the idea that he would be trying such a thing was entirely laughable. He seemed much too straight laced for that and he wasn’t bad looking to need to use magic to get a girl into his bed. Yet here she was, standing on his bed with even less of a clue about what was going on. Her spirits were still high regardless, as if this was all some big joke tho which the punchline would be momentarily revealed.
The kettle was boiling, the sound of the bubbling water filling the kitchen. It didn’t distract him from the book his bright blue eyes were so intently fixed on. He must have read the book he held in his hands a few times and yet here he was reading it again. There was plenty other things that Remus could have and should have been focussed on, however it was only fairly early and those other things could wait. They were important, of course, and as much as Remus found it hard not to bog himself down with pressing matters — ever since he was young, that was — it was little things like this that could pull him away, even if only for a short while. A short while was nothing, not really.
Suddenly the kettle stop boiling and Remus was forced to reluctantly set his book down on the worktop while he made the tea. The point wasn’t that it took a while to make tea, it was simply that he was engrossed, as always, by the pull of the words and sentences within the pages of the hardback. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to anyone.
He was walking towards his room now, tea in his hand still boiling hot but it wasn’t scolding enough that he could not take the occasional and small sip from the mug on his short journey to his bedroom. It was a journey that Remus knew all too well and so regardless of whether his eyes were glued to the page and the boiling tea in his hand, he knew that he would not fall. Clumsy he could be at times, but not in journey’s that were engrained into his brain anyway.
The young man had most certainly walked into the bedroom without noticing the woman that lay on his bed. It wasn’t hard to believe because ever since he’d discovered books, he’d been caught too many times, too engrossed in a book to actually pay attention to surrounding and the things people around him was saying. Then of course the flash of pink had managed to enter his gaze as he moved his book, well into the room now. The look of surprise on his face was a picture and surely his fellow marauders would be cursing themselves for missing it, if only they knew. His blue orbs darted from the hair, to the wand and to her eyes. Why was she there, he couldn’t help but wonder. Of course though, with precaution he placed his tea down, and reluctantly the book with it. His wand was in his back pocket — best to be prepared these days, that much he knew all too well.
Then he questioned her and immediately Remus’ brow rose; he was without a doubt confused. “I’m sorry?” He questioned her, looking for an explanation and his eyes could tell her that much. Faux mission? He could imagine why she wanted one. Besides, there weren’t really any faux missions around these days — not with everything else going on.
Her wand followed him as he moved to free his hands, she didn’t like that but wasn’t going to start firing off curses when she still held the upper hand (or wand in this case). Still she had to give him fair warning that it wasn’t in his best interest to reach for his wand which she knew must be nearby. “Don’t make any movements for your wand, keep your hands where I can see them.”
He looked genuinely confused by her question which only made her confused as well. Usually in these scenarios the proctors were fairly forthright in what she’d need to do; save a magicked doll from a highly guarded location or read some ancient ruins that would dictate how to break an old curse or a hundred different things that they would surely encounter during their career. Tonks was now thinking that he wasn’t telling her because she hadn’t asked him in the right way, bloody bastard for holding her up like that if it were true.
"Okay, you want me to say the thing? I’ll say the thing." She cleared her throat and did her best to get through the canned speech that they were taught to use when coming upon a scene. “‘Ello, Auror Tonks reporting for debriefing and orders." It came out in a monotonous tone as she hated the canned quality in it, preferring to say things in her own colorful way.
Tonks had just finished with her breakfast and leaving the Leaky Cauldron when her trainers caught on a step, causing her to spill forward onto the cold, hard stone. Except her hands didn’t hit what she was expecting them to and she found herself falling onto a rather soft bed. She was used to being clumsy, always tripping over this or that, and so many of her friends had become experts at casting cushioning charms that she had thought one of them must have conjured the bed, a very good charm indeed. But when she pulled herself up she found that she was no longer in Diagon Alley but a bedroom that she didn’t think she’d ever been in before, and she didn’t think she’d ever had that much to drink that she went home with someone and couldn’t recall a detail like that.
She slowly reached for her wand in her pocket to take it out, not wanting to take any chances. Taking a cue from what she’d learned in her Auror training, Tonks began studying her surroundings to try and place where she was. 'Constant vigilance!' The words rang out in her ears and she couldn’t help but wonder if this was some sort of practical exam where she was thrown quite literally into a strange environment and left to find her way out, with only her wand and her wits to fend off foe. In a corner she spotted something odd that she had to go investigate closer. Why would they put a sizable set of mint, vintage records in a training exercise? More than half of them were muggle as well, she noted after slipping off the bed to investigate closer, and that didn’t seem like anything she’d encountered before in class.
So engrossed in what she was studying before her, Tonks didn’t hear the sounds of someone approaching the room she was in until it was too late. She whipped around with wide eyes that began working immediately to take in every detail of the man, surely wizard, before her. His nose was stuck in a book and he held a steaming cup of tea up with his other hand which was a relief to her as she already had her wand trained on him carefully while all his hands were full. A sprinkling of stubble graced his jawline though judging by the light streaming in through the window it was still morning. The clothes that hung loosely off his body looked second hand but well taken care off as did many of the items she had seen in this room before he walked it. But what struck Tonks the most about this stranger was the pair of piercing blue eyes she found herself staring into and the immediate feeling of calm that washed over her when she locked on them. Her instincts were usually spot on and she didn’t get any threatening vibes from him. Yet, anyways.
"Are you supposed to task me with some sort of faux mission then," she asked, finally speaking up after several long moments of silence. It wouldn’t be the first training exercise she’d had like that, though they never started with her being transported somewhere without her knowledge. But they were always finding a way to keep her on her toes and this was as good as any.