I Love You More Than Myself Part Two

Chapter 4

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." ― Bob Marley

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*Tonks's POV*

Preparations for James and Lily's last-minute wedding were in full swing the day I first walked into the Ministry of Magic. It was something I had heard about since I was very small, and it lived up to the grand expectations that had been set for me by my father and brothers. As I walked down the atrium, I couldn't stop looking around, my head on a swivel, taking in everything around me. This caused me to trip, and even trod on a few people's feet.

The tile on every available surface was so shiny I could see myself in it. The fountain at the end of the hall was spectacular, large and even a little intimidating. Hundreds of little paper airplanes whizzed through the air above the crowd, off to whoever's office they were destined for. And speaking of the crowd, I couldn't have even imagined this many people in one place. Wizards, witches, and maybe a few that weren't so human, walked down the hall with purpose, head down, and very business-like, which was a funny contrast to me, clad in my combat boots, purple hair, and black robes. I felt very out of place, and soon, the hole in my chest reappeared and I suddenly felt very unsafe again. I felt like breaking down and crying right on the floor of the Ministry, but I knew that wouldn't make a very good first impression. My hand flew up to the chain around my neck, my thumb and forefinger closing around the moon pendant. This simple act gave me the strength to keep walking towards the lifts, as if Remus had just kissed me and said that everything was going to be alright.

My destination was Level 2, where I, and dozens of other anxious applicants, would meet the person in charge of our first phase of Auror Training. I kept my fingers wrapped around the pendant as I boarded the next available lift, squeezing myself in between two serious-looking business wizards. I squeaked a quick apology and began to settle myself down as the lift moved. I was obviously unaware of the lift's movement capabilities. I was used to lifts that went up and down, but this one seemed to throw those traditional rules out the window. Suddenly, the lift lurched to the right, and I stumbled into one of the wizards.

"Sorry!" I squeaked again, my hair turning bright red in embarrassment. At the next stop, I quickly excused myself off the elevator, even though I was completely lost as to what floor I was on. I hurried off to the side where I could calm myself down and get my bearings. I shut my eyes very tight and steadied my breathing, causing my hair to go back to it's normal purple. I opened my eyes and looked around for any indication as to what floor I was on.

Level 7-Department of Magical Games and Sports, a nearby sign read.

"Level 7?" I read under my breath to myself. "That can't be right."

"Nymphadora?" I hear someone call. Being as confused as I am, I jump in shock, turning to see a man walking toward me with a smile on his face. "Is that you?"

"Depends," I answer, straightening my robes. "Who are you?"

"You don't remember me?" the man says, finally coming level with me. The corridor is completely deserted at this point, the hustle and bustle of the Atrium seemingly worlds away.

"Sorry," I say, scoffing. "I can't say I do."

"What if I ordered you around on a broomstick? Would that maybe jog your memory?" he asks, a sly smile forming.

"Andrew?" I suddenly realize, letting out a small chuckle. "The kid from my Quidditch team in first year?"

"The one who saved your ass from killing yourself," he chuckles. "That'd be me."

"Oh," I say, a little stunned. "Wow. How've you been? You look great."

"I can say the same," he replies, his eyes wandering a little too much for my liking. "I've been well. How about you? I don't remember seeing you at graduation."

"No…" I mutter a little awkwardly. "Some unplanned things happened."

"Oh…" he trails off, sensing it was a little awkward. "Well, what are you here for?"

"My first day of Auror training," I respond proudly. "Well, I have a few more tests to take, but still. And you?"

"Receiving some kind of Quidditch award or something," he replies, shrugging it off like it was nothing. "I don't really know. I think your friend James should of got it, but he didn't want it."

"I forgot you were on the team," I say, remembering him to be James's right-hand man on the field. "I'm just surprised I didn't see you more often in six years."

"Yeah, that would've been nice, wouldn't it?" he flirts, and I catch his eye. "But of course, you're still with that Remus character, aren't you?"

I don't reply immediately, but swallow hard and look away, letting him know that he touched another nerve.

"I'm sorry. Did I say something-"

"No," I interject, looking back at him. "You're fine."

He relaxes.

"We just… broke up… a few months ago," I explain, choosing my words wisely.

"I must admit, I'm surprised."

"How so?" I joke.

"Well, I mean," he begins. "You two were kind of the "it" couple, weren't you? The ones everyone wished they were? Everyone thought you two were going to be together forever? Get my drift?"

"Yeah, I get your drift," I reply, still feeling awkward. "I guess we were. But not anymore."

"I'm sorry to hear that," he says, shuffling his feet. "Again, I'm sorry if I said anything that might've-"

"Don't worry about it," I say again, breaking a smile. "Look, I've gotta get to Level 2 soon or I'm going to be late."

"Alright," he says, sighing. "But, um…"

He reaches in his pocket and pulls out a piece of paper and a pen, with which he scribbles something then hands it to me.

"Call me sometime."

I look down and see a phone number written on the scrap, the ink still drying. I look up at him curiously, cocking an eyebrow. I'd never "picked up" anyone before. I hadn't had to. But, I guess I just did.

"I will," I reply cautiously, calling another lift.

"It was good seeing you again, Nymphadora," he says with a charming smile as I board the lift.

"Please," I say, blushing against my better judgment. "Call me Tonks."

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I was late on my first day. The conversation with Andrew had held me up, and I ended up flying into the room five minutes after orientation had started.

"I'm so sorry," I blurt out in a nervous rush. "I got lost."

I blink and look around at the room full of dozens of people my age, staring blankly up at me, some suppressing chuckles.

"And who are you?" I hear someone at the front of the room say. I turn and lay eyes on my mentor for the first time.

Intimidating was an understatement. He could've taken out an army with one spell, for that was how tough and merciless he looked. He stood at the front of the classroom leaning on a tall, wooden staff, glaring at me with mismatching eyeballs. One was very small and dark, while the other was a vivid, electric blue that moved around rapidly and independently from the other. His face was rough and scarred, even worse than Remus's in my opinion. His nose looked like it had a good chunk of it taken out, and he seemed to be standing unevenly. I caught myself staring.

"Unless you're here for the show," he growls. "I suggest you tell me your name and take a seat."

"My name is Nymphadora Tonks, sir," I say, confidence from nowhere appearing out of thin air. I hold my head high and straighten up. He eyes me with some confusion, determining what to make of me.

"Tonks, is it?" he repeats, looking down at a list in his free hand. "There's been a lot of controversy around here about you lately."

I blush a deep, deep scarlet as some of the other students start whispering amongst themselves. I take a deep breath and try to regain my confidence.

"Has there?" I reply evenly. "I can guess what about."

"I'm sure you can," he growls back. "Take your seat, Miss Tonks."

I huff, then continue to the back of the room, ignoring the prying eyes of my peers and the wandering eye of my teacher. I take a seat in the very back corner, next to someone I recognized from Hufflepuff house, looking very nervous and not at all preoccupied with me, which I was grateful for. So much for a good first impression.

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"Miss Tonks," Alastor Moody growls after he dismisses the first session. "I would like a word with you up here, please."

I feel my heart drop into the pit of my stomach as I fight through the sea of students pushing for the door. As the last one leaves, he closes the door and turns around to face me. I feel very uncomfortable.

"Yes, sir?"

"I just wanted to make it clear that you will never be late for my class again."

"It will never happen again, sir," I say, the brash wall I had recently built showing itself.

"Good," he says, short and to the point. "And I also wanted to make it clear that no Auror would ever do something as stupid as the stunt you pulled last summer."

I didn't think my stomach could sink any lower, but oh, it did. I must've made a face because he continued.

"You didn't think I would know?" he says, chuckling a harsh, low, raspy chuckle. "I have connections on the inside, sweetheart. I know all the details."

"It won't happen again, sir," I mutter, my throat closing up. "I will never be so foolish again."

"Very well," he says, turning and opening the door for me to leave. "I'll see you eight o'clock sharp tomorrow morning."

I leave, hearing the door slam closed behind me as I do. Once I've found the safety of a London side-street, I let the tears that I had been holding back all day come. And come violently, they do.

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When anyone asked about my first day of training, I lied and told them that it went exceedingly well. Be it my parents, my brothers, or James and Sirius, I lied to every single one of them. When I returned home that night, I had to sit down with my parents and tell them about my day.

"It was great, I already told you that!" I lied, eyeing them before glancing over at Sasha, Aaron, and Alice. They made me nervous.

"I know," my mother coaxed. "But I want to hear all about it! I'm so excited for you, Nymphadora!"

I felt horrible lying to her, but what choice did I have?

In the next few weeks, my life developed a banal pattern. Waking up at six in the morning, going to the Ministry for eight hours, then coming home and completing some ridiculous task that Alastor had given us for the night, which usually took the entire night. And I thought homework at Hogwarts was bad.

The only flare to seemingly uninteresting life was planning James's and Lily's wedding. I was there for most of it, from picking her dress, to picking flowers, to booking the venue, I was Lily's right-hand man. I actually loved helping them, for in a way, I was compensating for the wedding that I was never going to have. I knew already that it was going to be a beautiful wedding.

All the while, the mysterious topic of Remus loomed in the background. Whenever someone had to mention him, they usually tried not to direct it to me, but away from me. I wasn't stupid. I knew what they were doing. I just didn't have the heart to say anything about it. The pain never went away, but was only masked by the stress of life. At night, when I was alone with my thoughts, the tears would come and the nasty hole in my chest would reform, causing emotional pain so deep it was physical. My pillow was soaked with tears within mere hours.

As if I needed something else going on in my life, the others continued to be invested in their "other endeavors," which they would still tell me nothing about. It took up most of their time, and because James and Lily had a huge fortune to live off of, they didn't get jobs, and neither did Sirius. They all completely devoted themselves to these "other endeavors," and I was the only one left out.

"I just wish you would fucking tell me," I finally let out one evening. We had gotten the gang together for a night while James's parents were out of town. James, Lily, Sirius, Marlene, Peter, and I were all sitting around the dining room table, drinking Firewhiskey and avoiding the topic of Remus.

"How many times have I told you, Chickadee?" Sirius complains loudly. "We would tell you if we could."

"This eerily reminds me of the time when you all became animagi, and left me out," I bring up sourly, downing another glass of Firewhiskey, for it had been a rough week.

"You want to bring that up?" James jokes, chuckling with Lily on his lap. Their wedding was a week from today, and they both were getting jitters. This was a nice way for them both to just relax.

"I'm just saying," I giggle, the alcohol getting to me. "I only want to know what it is that's so secret."

"I say we talk more about your love life, Tonks," Sirius butts in. "A little birdie told me that you've been chatting up Andrew Clarke."

"Marlene," I mutter, glaring at her as she turns a bright red.

"Sorry!" she says, looking very uncomfortable. "It just came up-"

"I don't care," I sigh, waving her off. "They were going to find out eventually."

"Well then," James pushes. "What's going on?"

"I just saw him again on my first day," I explain, chuckling at their faces as they realize how anti-climatic my story was. "He gave me his number… and told me to call him."

"That's great, Tonks!" Lily exclaims, beaming from ear to ear. "Are you going to?"

"I dunno," I shrug, twisting my glass between my fingers. "I've been thinking about it. It might still be too early…"

"It's never too early," Sirius urges. "When life hands you an opportunity like this to move on, take it. That's what I did."

He glances over at Marlene and kisses her on the cheek. I sigh, reaching into my pocket and producing the very rumpled piece of paper Andrew had given me. Decisions, decisions…

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Hello all! Hey, I'm getting better at updating! :D

Just a quick thing. You all remember I talked about shooting a movie last October called 13 Score? Well, the trailer is finally up! If you google "13 score movie" click on the first thing that pops up, then click on the tab that says trailer, and you'll see me! I'm the blonde girl at about 45 seconds in getting clotheslined, and again at about 55 seconds falling on a fence! If you're interested, I think it's pretty cool! :D

Well, that's all for now! PLEASEEEE REVIEW!

~AnM XD

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