- Story Summary:
- Remus is less than happy to find a green-haired, ripped-jeans wearing teenager with a one-syllable nonsense word for a name is his new co-worker.
Author's Notes: Written for the June/July 2006 rt_challenge over on livejournal.
The last thing Remus decided he needed today was being forced to show a teenager the ropes. He was having a particularly bad morning having run out of milk, which ruined his sacred morning cup of tea and then being reminded by owl that he had rent due on Monday, which was complicated by the fact he would not have any money until Wednesday. Worse was the headline he had found staring up from that mornings paper, Harry Potter Out Of Hiding And To Attend Hogwarts. A shock reminder of the past was not greatest way to start the day and brought with it a longing to escape the world for a while. But it was Sunday and he had to work.
However the prospect of work was not altogether a bad one. While Remus only worked there one day a week and had only held his part-time position for a month, he did quite enjoy his job. The Dark Arts library being so empty all the time offered him a quiet place to think and relax and today he desperately wanted to be alone with his thoughts.
Though as he walked in he found a letter waiting for him informing him that his usual co-worker had resigned and been replaced. He suspected this was a result of the rumours following his moon-induced absence two-weeks before. Glenda had been replaced by green-haired, ripped-jeans wearing teenager who was currently looking at him blankly, waiting for direction. Gone were his hopes of a having a quiet day and recovering from breakfast and now he was nursing a particularly bad mood.
Really, he thought, the Ministry library was really scraping the barrel for employees now. What with a girl who would look more comfortable at a rock concert and a werewolf working the Sunday shift.
"Well, nobody really comes in here. Especially not on a Sunday," he said, sitting down and pulling out the issuing book. "So there's not much you can do." That was a direct result of the Ministry keeping a record of everyone who entered the Dark Arts section, everybody stayed away and posted their requests for books.
"Alright," she replied, looking around at high bookshelves that touched the ceiling and surrounded them.
"Mostly we just end up reading to pass the time. There's a stack of Witch Weeklys in the break room and there is normally a copy of the Prophet lying around," he added dismissively, hoping that she would take a magazine and be happy reading about the ongoing relationships of Stubby Boardman until the end of the day.
"Okay," she replied. "I'm Tonks by the way."
She stuck out her hand. Apparently this green-haired, ripped t-shirt wearing teenage co-worker had a one-syllable nonsense word for a name, which to Remus was not at all surprising. Inwardly he sighed as he put out his hand. "I'm Remus."
"Nice to meet you," Tonks replied, making a small polite smile. At least she had manners, Remus thought.
She had obviously managed to get the idea that Remus was not in the mood for pleasantries, as Tonks did not stay around for long. After a few minutes of silence with Remus pretending to concentrate on the issuing book whilst wondering what Harry looked like. The paper did not have a picture. Tonks headed off through the stacks in the direction of the break room and Remus was left alone.
Remus started to regret his actions. Maybe he was being too harsh and judgemental. He and his friends probably did not dress much better then her at her age and she did seem rather friendly. And there was the possibility that they had hired her because she was the only person willing to work with him. However before he could ponder this too much an envelope came flying onto his desk. Some name Remus did not recognise had requested a copy of A Compendium of Common Curses and Their Counter Actions to be issued and sent to them.
Remus got up and began tracking the book down, as he did his mind turned to the name Tonks. He knew a Tonks, or knew of a Tonks, but he could not place a person with the name. Maybe he should ask her.
Grabbing the book out of the shelves, he headed back to the leading desk to find Tonks head down and intently reading a large book while tapping her finger rhythmically on the desk. It was not quite the magazines had been expected to see.
Ted Tonks. The name suddenly struck him. Ted Tonks was the Muggle-born Sirius' cousin Andromeda had run off with and had a child with. Not that Remus had ever met the man, but it had been a very large scandal at the time and Sirius had thought it was brilliant. This Tonks was about the right age, which meant that she was Sirius' cousin.
Suddenly Miss Tonks became much more interesting to Remus. He always knew that what Sirius did would find its way back into his life, although he always expected it to be in the form of Harry Potter, not the girl reading at the desk before him. Here he had been moping all morning because of his connection with the heinous acts of Sirius Black, when someone with links to the same crime was with him all along.
"What are you reading?" he asked.
She looked up with a questioning expression. "The Dark Arts Outsmarted," she replied, returning to her book.
"Interesting?" he asked.
"Fascinating," she muttered in response.
"'Tonks,' that's an unusual name," he said approaching her.
"So you've finally figured out who my Mother is then," she replied bluntly without looking up.
"What?" he replied, startled she had seen right through him.
She snapped the book shut. "Before you wanted to be rid of me. Now you think I'm interesting enough to talk to, which means you've figured out who my Mum is. Andromeda Tonks. Ran off with a Muggle-born and had a freakish half-blood daughter. That's me," she said, looking up and staring at him in the eyes, no longer the friendly girl who had shaken his hand. Remus suspected he had touched a nerve.
"I'm sorry, I just..."
"Look," she interrupted him with blatant annoyance in her voice. "I've been getting this all week. Everybody just dismisses me as some air-brained idiot until they find out who my Mum is and then they all remind me of the fact that half my relatives are in Azkaban. As if I didn't know already." She seemed to be a little upset.
"I'm sorry," he tried again. Tonks certainly had the family temper.
"Yeah, well, you're just like everybody else," she replied returning to her book and tapping her finger on the desk.
Remus sat down and went about issuing the book. Having been thoroughly put in his place by a teen, his bad mood had subsided somewhat. He supposed it was his own fault since she was right about the way he had treated her.
Pulling out a roll of brown parcel paper he begun wrapping the book up carefully whilst trying to think of an appropriate peace offering, when Tonks stopped tapping her finger, made a sigh and turned to him.
"I'm sorry for snapping at you. I'm not usually this grumpy and I don't usually moan about my life to strangers," she said, having calmed down. "I've just been having a bad week."
"Is that why you are reading The Dark Arts Outsmarted?" he asked.
"I started Auror training on Monday," she replied with a hint of a groan in her voice.
"Ah." To Remus this explained everything. He remembered James loudly announcing he was quitting after his first day. He didn't in the end, but it took some convincing from Lily. "I had a few friends who went through Auror training. Trust me, it gets better. The Aurors are always tough on the trainees but once they realise you are going to stick it out they become a lot nicer."
Tonks raised her eyebrows and gave him a look of disbelief. "I have Mad-Eye Moody as my training supervisor. It's not going to get any better."
Remus begun to laugh until he saw the serious expression on her face and decided that for her it was not a laughing matter. He had not seen much of Mad-Eye since his Order days, but from the look Tonks was giving him Remus figured it was safe to assume that Mad-Eye had not changed much. "Mad-Eye will warm up to you once he gets to know you."
"There is no chance on earth he would have agreed to supervise you if he didn't think you were capable of being a good Auror. And he's a big softy deep down. Though, just to be on the safe side, don't ever, ever let him know I told you that," he replied trying to make her laugh.
Tonks smiled and this time it was genuine smile that lit up her face. Remus decided then that underneath all the grungy fashion and the temper she did seem like a lovely girl and if losing the peacefulness of the library gained him the occasionally glimpse of a smile like hers, well then maybe it was worth it.
"I think we got off to a bad start and I think it's largely been my fault. Things haven't been going particularly well for me either. So how about we do this again. I'm Remus Lupin," he said, putting out his hand.
"Wotcher," she replied. "I'm Tonks."