Summary: A series of vignettes highlighting Tonks' attempts at gathering information on Remus. Set during OOTP.
A/N: This one's not really so funny.
Conversations About A Werewolf
5. Severus Snape
“Fizzing Whizbee,” muttered Tonks, watching as the gargoyle leapt aside, allowing her access to the winding staircase that led to Dumbledore’s office. She glanced around her briefly, making sure that neither Umbridge nor any of her spies were watching, before making her way to the Headmaster's office and knocking.
“Come in. Ah, hello, Nyphadora, welcome. You weren’t spotted, I take it? Good, good. No, keep the morph,” he said, just as she was beginning to allow her features – disguised as an old lady - to fade back to her usual youthful, pink-haired self. “You never know who might just choose to show up at the most inopportune of times, these days.”
“Yes, of course, sir.”
“Remus is not with you then?”
“No, we felt it would be best to come separately – less likely to arouse suspicion.”
“Yes, of course. Well then, can I get you a cup of tea while we wait?”
“Sure, erm, thank you.”
She watched in silence as the Headmaster poured a cup and handed it to her, gesturing with his hand to the tray on a side table with sugar, cream, and lemon slices. She went over and hastily prepared her tea, trying desperately not to spill. It was awkward being inside this office – in fact, she’d never been up there in all her time at Hogwarts. Being there now made her feel young and vulnerable, somehow.
A sharp knock led way to the door opening. Tonks looked over quickly, anxious of who might be standing in front of them. However, her heartbeat returned to normal as Snape’s dark form appeared. She frowned at the thought that she felt relieved to see Snape, of all people. Her life had taken a strange turn indeed.
“Headmaster,” said Snape as greeting, before his eyes fell on Tonks. His lips twitched slightly, but he said nothing to her.
“Good evening, Severus. Please, have a seat,” he said, gesturing toward three chairs he’d conjured up in front of his desk. “You too, Nymphadora.”
She sat down quickly, almost spilling her tea in the process. Snape, on the other hand, took his time in approaching his chair before uncomfortably perching himself on the very edge, as if ready to flee at any moment. Dumbledore looked toward a clock on the far wall of his office, one with strange inscriptions on it that Tonks did not understand, and sighed.
“It appears Remus is late. How strange,” said Dumbledore with a slight frown. “That is most unlike Remus. I suppose I should check on him, just to be sure he was not spotted by the wrong people. If you will excuse me, Nymphadora, I daresay Severus will keep you entertained in my absence.”
And with surprising speed for a wizard his age, Dumbledore left the office. Tonks took a large gulp of her tea, and coughed as it burned her throat. Snape fixed his black eyes on her appraisingly as she struggled to breathe. She shifted, feeling highly uncomfortable under his unwavering gaze, but held his eyes nevertheless.
“Of course, Lupin is late,” he said with a sneer. “What a surprise.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, only half-listening. Snape was openly hateful toward Remus and Sirius, so his snide comment was not at all surprising to her.
“Well, he is not the most reliable of... creatures, is he?”
“Creatures?” chuckled Tonks. “I think you've inhaled too many potions fumes there, Snivellus."
"Ah, so you've learned my nickname. Very good, Nymphadora."
"You deserve it! How could you say those things?"
“I take it from your fierce protection of the werewolf that you have never witnessed a transformation?”
“So what if I haven’t?”
“It is quite different thinking of the man than seeing the beast firsthand. He may be loyal to you by daylight, Nymphadora, but it will do you well to remember that he would just as readily rip out your heart as he would a Death Eater’s under the watchful eye of the moon.”
“That isn’t his fault.”
“Perhaps not. But he is a dark creature. I know, I’ve seen the beast.”
“Have you?" snorted Tonks in disbelief. "Are you sure that wasn't just your greasy hair in your eyes?”
“It almost killed me.”
The mocking smile slipped off her face immediately at those words. She searched Snape’s hate-filled face for some sort of sign of lying, but was dismayed to find only angry sincerity staring back at her.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, but your little friends haven’t shared this cherished childhood memory with you? How strange,” he said with a smirk.
“Snape,” she said warningly, “you’d better tell me or –“
“Or what? You may be an Auror, but there is still much that you could stand to learn.”
“Like what?” she challenged.
“For instance, things are rarely as they seem. Those who you believe to be close may very well be deceiving you.”
“Remus is not deceiving me,” she answered hotly.
“Lupin and his friends tried to lure me to my death when we were teenagers, are you aware of that? No, I didn’t think so,” he said at her incredulous look, a hint of triumph now present in his voice. “He would have murdered me, too, had it not been for James’ brilliant realization at the very last minute that my death would lead to a very horrible fate indeed for him and his friends.”
“It was just a childhood prank,” said Tonks through gritted teeth. “Remus would never hurt you if he had the presence of mind.”
“If that’s what you’d like to believe...”
“It’s not what I’d like to believe, Snape. It’s the truth.”
“Of course you would say that," he said with a sinister smile. "You know, Nymphadora, sharing a bed with a werewolf will make you the same as him.”
“Sharing a bed?” she repeated disbelievingly, her temper rising with each passing moment. She raised her wand and pointed it at him. “Don’t... ever... talk... about Remus... like that... again!”
At that moment, she heard a throat clearing. Tonks looked over briefly and her heart sank when she noticed Dumbledore and Remus taking in the scene. Remus’ eyes were fixed on Tonks’ wand which was pointing at Snape’s chest, while her own chest heaved with fury. After a moment, she slowly lowered her wand, but her eyes continued to flash dangerously in Snape’s direction.
“Is everything all right?” asked Dumbledore conversationally.
“Yes, of course, sir. Sorry,” Tonks muttered, falling back into her seat.
“Good, good. Anyhow, we must be quick. I convinced Dolores Umbridge that Remus was within his rights to be here, but I doubt she will give us much time alone before coming here herself. As you are aware, I needed a word with you three in particular, but it is far too risky these days for me to leave Hogwarts for extended periods of time. However...”
Dumbledore continued to speak, and Tonks listened closely, but looked down at her lap as she did so. She could not bear the thought of meeting anyone’s eyes – especially Remus’. Just how much of that conversation had he overheard?
After the meeting was over, Remus and Tonks made their way carefully through the castle, and were fortunate enough to escape, undetected. However, she continued to avoid meeting his gaze, ashamed of the scene Remus had witnessed. Even if he hadn’t heard what she and Snape were discussing – which was highly unlikely in itself – he had seen her lose control, something that she hardly ever did. She took pride in her ability to control her emotions; it was embarrassing.
Once they arrived in Hogsmeade, Remus placed a warm hand on her forearm to stop her from walking. Slowly, she looked toward him, focusing on his mouth instead of his eyes, which she knew without even looking were filled with concern.
“What happened in there, Tonks? It’s hardly like you to let Snape get to you like that.”
She sighed. “He said some things that... well, didn’t sit right with me.”
“He was talking about you, all right?”
As soon as the words slipped out, she wished she hadn’t said them. Remus' frown deepened, and she felt exposed beneath his calculating stare.
“Snape and I... we had – well, we have our differences. He did not like me, nor my friends, when we attended Hogwarts together.”
“I gathered as much,” she said flatly.
“So he told you about the incident then?”
This time, it was Remus who did not quite meet her gaze. “Sirius thought it would be a laugh to have Snape catch a glimpse of me transformed. I didn’t know...” He ran a hand through his greying hair wearily. “I came very close to biting him. I am more ashamed of that night than I could ever express.”
“I know, Remus,” said Tonks kindly, linking arms with him. “It was a dirty trick on Sirius’ part, you couldn’t be held accountable. It wasn’t you, it was the werewolf.”
“But that’s the thing, Tonks, don’t you see?” he asked in a harsh whisper. “I am the werewolf.”
“Only during the full moon!”
“Even so. Snape was right, Tonks. Being with me would only taint you.”
“You heard that?” she asked sharply, acute embarrassment overwhelming her.
“It is neither here nor there...”
“No,” said Tonks. “Snape's a wanker! I wouldn’t care about that, don’t you see?”
He paused, reaching a hand out to push a stand of her morphed grey hair away from her deceitfully-aged face. “But I would.”
And before she could say anything else, he Disapparated, the crack reverberating through the silent night air. Tonks sighed. It shouldn't matter that Remus had basically just told her they had no chance at a relationship.
Nevertheless, the idea that they might never happen left her feeling strangely hollow.
1. Mad-Eye Moody
2. Kingsley Shacklebolt
3. Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger
4. Molly Weasley
5. Severus Snape
6. Sirius Black
7. Mundungus Fletcher
8. Remus Lupin