Chapter XVIII: Moving Day

Chapter XVIII: Moving Day

A Chapter by Ashleigh

Harry and Bellatrix move out of the mansion in preparation for the arrival of their baby. Remus extends his support and comfort to a grieving Tonks. Tonks and Remus reveal to Harry that they've abandoned the Order.


                Tonks lay curled up on her couch in complete darkness, her entire body covered in blankets, but she was not sleeping. Her shoulders shook as she wept for her parents, her flood of tears darkening the cotton material beneath her cheek with moisture. She knew she couldn't stay like this forever. She had to get up and at least shower or eat something, but try as she may, she couldn't muster the motivation to move. She hadn't even bothered to change out of her funeral clothes, only her black heeled shoes lay on the carpet beside the couch as the feet of their owner were curled up beneath her. Tonks forced herself to take a deep, shuddering breath and slowly, she raised herself up off the couch and walked to the window. She was shocked to discover that the sky was black. She had been wallowing in her misery for hours. Running a shaking hand through her mousy brown hair, Tonks heaved a heavy sigh and leaned against the window pane.

                There was no way she could sleep here tonight. That feeling of being utterly and completely alone in the world seized her heart and terrified her. At that moment, she was suddenly frightened. She needed to be around someone... anyone. Tonks didn't care who that person was, all she knew was that she was alone and terrified and that she needed the company of another human being, if only to just sit and talk mundanely. Biting her lip, Tonks thought hard. Kingsley was working the graveyard shift tonight, Harry and Bella were busy with the upcoming birth of their baby and of course, her parents were gone. This last thought caused her to clap a hand to her mouth to stifle an aching sob of grief. There was no one; no one at all whom she could turn to... except...

                "Remus," Tonks whispered to herself. How could she have been so dumb? Hadn't he told her to come to him if she ever needed anything from him? Well, she certainly needed something from him now. She needed his company, because she didn't think being alone right now was something she could bear. There was only one problem... was it a full moon? She dashed over to her nightstand in her bedroom where she kept her small day planner and breathed a sigh of relief. The full moon wasn't for another week. Grabbing her cloak and zipping up her usual black leather boots, Tonks shoved her wand in her robes pocket and briskly headed out the door, not at all sure of how she would explain her presence to Remus when she got there.

                Naturally, when Remus heard knocking on his door he whipped out his wand and called through the door. "Name?" he demanded.

                "Nymphadora Tonks, sometimes known as Tonks or Dora," the automatic reply came. Remus furrowed his brow, confused. Why would Tonks be calling this late at night? Just to be sure, he asked a question that very few people would know to make sure she wasn't a Death Eater in disguise.

                "What's your natural hair colour? Specifics please," he asked. Her voice came answering through the door.

                "Mousy brown," came the reply, along with a heavy sigh. Satisfied, Remus unlocked his door to see Tonks standing on his doorstep, shivering with cold and looking completely depressed. Her eyes shone with tears and she cleared her throat awkwardly.

                "Can- can I..." she began, but couldn't finish, because her tears had spilled from her eyes and her shoulders shook with sobs. What was she doing? She was acting completely out of character... Tonks didn't go around spilling her feelings to the first person available, what was the matter with her? Without a word, Remus stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, gently leading her into the house.

                "Stay as long as you like," he told her quietly, understanding exactly why she had come to him now. She'd been scared and had no one else to go to. Calming down slightly, Tonks wiped her eyes and nodded.

                "Thanks," she whispered, feeling incredibly stupid for breaking down like a wimp. She sat down opposite him at his kitchen table and ran her fingers through her lank, mousy brown hair as a depressed sigh escaped her. Remus set a steaming cup of tea in front of her, along with a chocolate bar and took his own seat, blowing on his own tea.

                "The chocolate helps," Remus told her as Tonks gave a weak chuckle, remembering his undying confidence in chocolate as a mood lifter. Breaking off a small piece and reluctantly popping it into her mouth, she had to admit that it did make her feel a little better... but only a little. She took a sip of the tea which warmed her up after standing out in the cold. "Do you want to talk?" he asked simply. Tonks looked up with glistening eyes and cleared her throat to keep her composure.

                "That depends," she replied. "Do you want to hear it?" At her words, Remus smiled weakly and shook his head.

                "I offered, didn't I?" he asked her with a raised eyebrow. Sighing, Tonks nodded and put another piece of chocolate in her mouth, swallowing it completely before replying.

                "Do you think it was him? Dumbledore?" she asked. "The Ministry's saying it was Voldemort, but I'm not sure I believe that," she muttered quietly, slowly turning her teacup around in her hands. Remus frowned, not knowing what to say. After a few moments of slowly pondering this question, thinking of how best to phrase his answer, he gently cleared his throat and looked her in the eye.

                "It's hard to say, Tonks," he replied slowly. "Dumbledore shouldn't have known about us telling Harry, Mad-Eye and Kingsley, but it does seem suspicious given his threat. On the other hand, you're the best Auror the Ministry has and Voldemort knows it. What better way to hinder your ability to do your job than to hurt you by killing those you love?" he said calmly. Tonks sucked in a deep breath and nodded.

                "Yeah," she whispered. "Remus, I can't do this anymore. I can't sit in Grimmauld Place and listen to that horrible old bat brainwash everyone with his ludicrous speeches and pretend it's all right!" her voice beginning to get louder and more forceful as she spoke. "For all I know, he was the one who killed my parents and I will not pretend to support him anymore!" she practically yelled, banging a shaking fist on the table but ruining the image of strength by dissolving into tears again. With a sympathetic sigh, Remus stood up and helped her out of her seat. No longer caring about keeping up a tough appearance, she slumped against his chest allowing her tears to flow freely. With his arms around her, he kindly and patiently waited for her sobs to cease. Once she finally regained composure, she angrily dashed away the remaining tears left glistening on her pale cheeks and ran her fingers nervously through her hair for the umpteenth time. "I need to go home and get a coffee. Thanks Remus... for the tea and everything else," she muttered, but Remus held out an arm to stop her.

                "No, you don't. Quite frankly, you're a wreck. I meant what I said, you can stay here as long as you like," he said firmly. With a faint smile, Tonks nodded.

                "Well, I guess thanks for that too. You're a good friend Remus," she said, sitting down on the couch in his living room where they were now standing and already beginning to nod off. Grabbing a quilt folded up in a nearby armchair and gently draping it over her as she drifted off to sleep rather quickly due to all the turmoil the poor woman had been going through, he sighed.

                "Yeah... a good friend..." he whispered quietly, giving her shoulder a very light squeeze before yawning and turning in for the night himself in his own bedroom.

*   *   *

                Harry was very true to his word to Bellatrix. The next day, he had Remus go to Diagon Alley with a signed document from Harry stating that he gave Remus his permission to have a new home built on his parents' empty lot in Godric's Hollow. He and Bella had decided that this lot would be the best place to build their house as Harry felt such a strong connection to the place. It was also much too dangerous for Harry to leave the grounds of the mansion now. After the story about him buying baby supplies in The Weekly Prophet was published, Harry was sure that Voldemort was on his tail. Harry, Bella, Tonks and Remus had all played their hand in fortifying the mansion with the most powerful spells they were able to cast.

                As the months passed and the due date of their child's birth crept ever closer, Harry and Bella kept their jitters at bay by planning the new house. It was to be a rather nice cottage, perfect for a family without being grander or bigger than it needed to be. Just an ordinary house on an ordinary wizarding street. It would be easier to raise a child in a house like this and would also be much easier for Dobby and Kreacher to clean (not that Kreacher ever did much of anything anyway).

                This particular morning, Harry walked into the kitchen with a small stack of parchment in his hands, biting his bottom lip in contemplation. Bella looked up from her porridge with a quizzical look. "What is it? Not another meeting with the goblins again," she groaned, clearly exasperated. The goblins had been calling Harry to Gringotts to make plans for defeating both Dumbledore and Voldemort almost three times a week. With Bella so heavily pregnant, it was harder for her to get around the massive mansion not to mention her moods switched faster than a Firebolt could do a three hundred and sixty degree turn. She was becoming quite irritated with having to spend whole nights alone with only the two house elves for company. Of course, Harry couldn't leave the mansion by day in fear of being spotted by one of Voldemort's followers. By now, it was clear that he had complete control over the wizarding world and people were dying left and right, which only intensified Harry's nerves. However, Harry shook his head slowly as a broad grin spread across his face.

                "No, not another meeting; the final papers for the house. It's finished. I just need to sign the ownership papers. Once your name's cleared, you'll sign too so we'll have joint ownership," he told her proudly, laying the stack of parchment on the table in front of him. Bella let out a smile with a relieved sigh.

                "It's about time. I want out of here," she said gratefully, taking the documents from Harry and immediately looking over them herself. "For a while, I thought I'd have the baby in this dump before it was finished," she said, absently chewing on her bottom lip. Indeed, she was only a week or two away from her due date and her belly was quite large. Harry laughed and sat down beside her, taking the papers back to be held on file at Gringotts.

                "Well, I paid some extra gold to have the house fully furnished so we can just up and leave whenever we want. Everything's ready and waiting for us to move in," he said. At a near-horrified glance from Bella, Harry shook his head and grinned. "Yes, we're taking the baby stuff. I knew you'd murder me otherwise," he told her, meeting a now satisfied look from her.

                Later that day, Harry arranged for Remus and Tonks to come by and help them move secretly. He had hesitated about asking Tonks, unsure if she was up to doing anything. From what he had heard from Remus, she was still extremely depressed but she assured him she'd be fine and sure enough, showed up with Remus almost at the exact same time. Before Harry even had a chance to get a word in greeting out, Tonks gave Harry a penetrating glance and cleared her throat. "Harry, we've got to talk," she told him, as Remus nodded in agreement.

                "We've left the Order, along with Mad-Eye and Kingsley," Remus said bluntly as Tonks nodded in complete and absolute agreement. She seemed to misread the look of shock on Harry's face for one of betrayal and quickly jumped to an apology.

                "Look, I'm sorry Harry. I know I promised you I'd attend the meetings and let you in on what's happening but I can't just sit there and pretend everything's okay when he might be the one who killed my parents," she protested heatedly. Harry held up his hands in surrender and shook his head.

                "Woah! Tonks, relax! I'm not blaming you. I was just surprised that all of you left," he explained. Tonks, obviously slightly abashed at her unnecessary defence, bit her lip and fell silent, a strand of her lanky brunette hair falling into her face and obscuring her eyes. As Harry looked between the two of them, he thought he saw a strange look cross Remus' face for only a split second. It almost looked as though he were resisting the urge to brush her hair out of her face, but it passed so quickly Harry could not be sure whether he saw it at all.

                Just then, Bella appeared in the main foyer struggling to carry a large suitcase of clothes and personal items. She seemed oblivious to the social exchange that had just happened, and gave them all an impatient look. "Well? Are we getting out of this horrid rat hole or not?" she asked in the cheeriest tone Harry had heard from her since Andromeda's death. The prospect of having a real home to raise her baby in seemed to uplift her spirits immensely. Unfortunately, Tonks did not have anything to have the same effect on her, but realized how happy her aunt was and didn't want to do anything to ruin that. She forced a smile and stepped forward to grab the heavy load from Bella.

                "You sure are," she informed her in a forced, pleasant tone. "Here, I'll take that."

                "Where is the rest of the stuff you want to take, Harry?" Remus asked, catching the hint and purposefully veering the conversation to something more light-hearted. Harry beckoned for Remus to follow him and led him down the long hallway to a large room that Dobby and Kreacher had used for storage. All the baby stuff was in here in boxes.

                "Just this stuff. I think Tonks and Bella are taking care of the clothes and that sort. Dobby and Kreacher are responsible for bringing their own belongings with them so that leaves us with the baby's things," Harry explained, helping Remus heave up the box with the dismantled antique crib in it. As they carried it back to the foyer, Harry walking backwards and Remus craning his head around the side of the large box to see where they were going. Remus decided to make some pleasant small-talk to keep spirits up.

                "Do you know the gender of the baby?" Remus asked, shifting his weight slightly to turn a corner. Harry gave a brief shake of his head as he slowed down to manoeuvre through the turn properly.

                "No idea," he admitted. "It's not like Bella can just show up in St. Mungo's for a check-up, is it?" he replied to which Remus gave a nod of agreement. Bellatrix Black's face was plastered everywhere on every possible bare surface of the wizarding world. She was a wanted Death Eater facing life imprisonment in Azkaban. There was also Voldemort who was looking for her. No one had any doubt that he wanted to locate her and punish her for running away from him; Harry felt sick to his stomach to think what that punishment might be.

                As they entered the foyer and set the box down, they saw that all of the suitcase luggage had already been crammed into Harry's car. Of course there was no way a Ferrari would fit everything they wanted to bring, but a little magic goes a long way and soon enough, they had everything they needed in Harry's trunk. Tonks groaned at the prospect of driving all that way as she struggled to cram the last of the luggage into a small cranny which Remus promptly helped her with. "I still don't see why we can't apparate or use floo powder. Those restrictions on apparating and using the floo network in your third trimester are ridiculous. My Mum- nevermind," she mumbled, as usual any thought of her parents bringing tears of grief to her eyes. Remus, Bella and Harry all gave her awkwardly sympathetic looks which Tonks despised. Clearing her throat, she climbed in the back beside Remus. "Well, we should be off," she told them, checking her watch to disguise the fact that she was wiping her eyes dry again.

                "Right then..." Harry agreed, wanting to change the subject too, because Bella's eyes had gone misty as well. As he got into the driver's seat with Bella in the front passenger, he gave her a smile as he put the key into the ignition and the engine roared to life. "Let's get out of here." His comment was met with relieved and grateful agreements from all three passengers. "So what did Dumbledore say when he found out you all had left the Order?" he asked, turning onto the nearest paved road. Bella sat up straighter in her seat, struggling to turn around with her large belly and look at Remus and Tonks, obviously interested.

                "He was less than impressed," Tonks sighed. "He told us that we were traitors to a just cause and that if we weren't in league with him, then we must be working for Voldemort."

                "As if we'd ever join him..." Remus scoffed angrily. Tonks nodded her approval and continued.

                "Then he went on to say that it was my own fault my parents were dead, because I should have known that Voldemort would go after my parents if he found out I was still loyal to the Orde; that’s when I left the Order," she explained, her voice shaking slightly with suppressed rage and grief.

                "What!" Bella gasped, completely appalled. Remus nodded.

                "It's true. Kingsley and I nearly shredded him to pieces after he said that," Remus added smugly with a faint smirk of pride at what he did to defend her tugging at the corners of his mouth.

                "If I ever get proof that he killed my parents, I swear I'll shred him to pieces myself with my bare hands! I don't care what forces he's got behind him!" Tonks snarled savagely. Harry, Bella and Remus exchanged nervous glances. Hopefully she would not try to act on her words, or else she'd be killed instantly. A flash of panic registered on Remus' face for a brief moment which Harry again dismissed as a trick of the sunlight. A new sight met Harry's gaze and it served as the perfect excuse to end the conversation for the present moment. He pulled into a rough driveway where an average-looking cottage stood, in perfect condition. A broad grin spread across his face as he stopped the car.

                "We're here," he announced.

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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