I Love You More than Myself Part One

Chapter 70

"Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life."-Leo Buscaglia

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*Tonks's POV*

Christmas morning dawns bright, cold, and snowy. The grounds are covered in think blankets of pearly white, glistening snow. It comes down in fat, slow, beautiful flakes, the kind you always imagine around Christmastime.

I, being the irresponsible individual I am, forgot to turn the heater on before I went to bed. Naturally, when I wake up, my empty dorm is colder than the artic. Lily or Lydia usually turns the heater on, but since they're not here, I guess it was my job. And I failed. I slide out of bed quickly and pad across the icy stone floor to grab my robe. I also shove my bare feet into my combat boots for good measure.

I skip from the dorm, and when I reach the landing between the boy's and girl's dormitories, I hear someone shout up at me.

"There you are! You lazy ass, you slept in until noon!"

I quirk my eye brow and glance down to see Sirius calling up at me. The boys are all sitting around the Christmas tree, still clad in pajamas, opening their presents.

"Why didn't you wake me?" I call, running down the stairs to meet them.

"We tried," James explains as I take a seat next to Remus, who wraps his arm around me and kisses my hair. "But that bloody enchanted staircase almost broke my wrist."

"Ah," I say, chuckling in realization. "You're not the first boy I've known to do that."

"It's terrible," Sirius mutters, unwrapping yet another present, covered in glittering gold paper and a big red bow.

"I think it's hilarious," I say, chuckling. "The Founders must have had a good sense of humor."

"Hah. Hah," James laughs sarcastically, showing me his bruised wrist. I grab it and kiss it, mocking an overprotective mother.

"Do my kisses make it feel all better?" I croon as he pulls away.

"Oh, shut it," he chuckles, nursing it again. "It actually hurts like shit."

"I bet," Remus says from behind me. "It looks pretty nasty."

"You're telling me," James replies sarcastically. Sirius then crawls under the tree and produces a round of presents for everyone, including himself. He passes them out and we all start ripping them open in an excited frenzy. Our attention is drawn from our from our gifts as we hear a groan.

"Ugh," Sirius mutters from his perch on the couch, staring down at his present with wide eyes.

"What is it, mate?" James asks, sideling over to look at the tag. His eyes widen and he groans, too.

"Is it that bad?" I ask, getting up to examine this 'atrocity.' I look down at the tag on the gift, and it reads: To: Sirius Orion Black From: Marlene Jane McKinnon.

"Ooh," I say, going back to finish unwrapping my own present. "I remember that one."

"I don't understand her," James says, sitting back down as well. "One minute, she's in love with me, the next, it's you. Poor girl can't decide who she fancies."

"And if I remember correctly, she's mates with Scarlet and May," Remus adds.

"Not anymore," James says, shaking his head.

"When did this happen?" I ask, cocking my head.

"I think at the end of last year," he explains. "Scarlet and May did something and Marlene didn't like it."

"I think it was something about a boy," Sirius adds. "In the interim between liking me and James, she must have found another boy to stalk."

"She's an odd one, she is," James muses.

"How did she even get this gift in here?!" Sirius exclaims, indicating the unwrapped present still in his lap. "She's a bloody Ravenclaw, she can't even get into our common room!"

"She probably bribed a house elf or something," Remus suggests.

"Mad," Sirius says, shaking his head. "Absolutely mad."

We continue unwrapping presents until we have one tiny little present left underneath the tree.

"And this one is for… Nymphadora Tonks!" Sirius announces from under the tree, handing the present out to me.

"Thanks!" I say, taking it from him. "Did you guys unwrap all your presents?"

"No, Remus's didn't awake until noon," James interjects.

"Good one, Prongs!" Sirius says, laughing and giving James a high five. "I get it! It's funny because she said… unwrap… I get it… yeah."

"Hah," it's Remus's turn to be sarcastic. "Very funny, gentlemen."

"Hey, some people would pay for entertainment like this. You get it for free," Sirius says, smirking at himself.

"I can't believe you're even gracing me with your presence," Remus says, taking a book from the floor and opening it.

"You're just a lucky lycanthrope, aren't ya?" I say, turning and smiling at him. He smiles back and leans in to place a sweet kiss on my lips. The only other thing I can register is James and Sirius shrieking 'Ew! Cooties!' in the background.

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Why is it that Christmas break must always go so fast? Maybe this one went by extra fast because it was so wonderful. I know that when I'm older, looking back on my life, these days will be best. So simple, so quaint, so happy. I'll be able to tell my children stories of the best friends in the world, and the memories we made.

It's January 5, 1976, and the first day back to classes. One day, you're on vacation, not a worry in the world, and the next, you're back sitting in O.W.L. prep.

"The list I'm passing out now-"

"Another goddamn list?" Sirius mutters angrily to my left. I chuckle as Professor McGonagall hands me my list and gives Sirius a very dirty look.

"-is the schedule for Career Advice meetings, something very important. You all need to take this seriously. Be there on time, with all your materials, and a good attitude. Be ready to discuss your future."

The bell rings.

"See you all next week," Professor McGonagall finishes as benches scrape the stone floor and students flock to the door. I scan down the list of dozens of student's names and dates and times until I find Tonks, Nymphadora. I stop and look at my slot, which is almost two weeks from tomorrow. I sigh, folding up the schedule and sliding it into my bag.

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James, Sirius, Peter, and Remus have already had their meetings. Sirius went first, and apparently got some scolding for grades. McGonagall told him it would be very difficult for him to become an Auror if he didn't start working harder.

Remus went about week after him, and got a fairly good report, although Dumbledore had been invited to his meeting. They discussed his grades and goals, then the prospect of him actually finding a job. He wouldn't tell me what Dumbledore said about it, but he didn't look happy so I can assume it wasn't good.

Peter didn't say much about his meeting. He told us they discussed putting him into tutoring. Apparently, Professor McGonagall blatantly told him that he would score 'Troll' on his O.W.L.s if he didn't step it up.

James's meeting seemed to have gone much better. McGonagall told him that his goal of becoming an Auror was attainable, but he would have to work hard for it. In reality, who wouldn't have to work hard for a goal like that?

The day of my meeting isn't a good one. James and Sirius manage to piss me off at the start of the day by 'accidentally' setting my potions essay on fire at breakfast. They were attempting to heat up their eggs, which they proclaimed 'weren't' up to par' and somehow my essay got in between their wands and the eggs. There was so saving it; it shriveled up in black curls, landing softly on the table. Everyone went silent, watching to see how I would react with worried expressions.

"Tonks-"

"Don't. Don't say anything," I said evenly, trying to control myself. The bell rang, and we were off to potions. I had to try to explain why I didn't have my essay to Professor Slughorn, who accused me of lying and gave me a detention.

Scarlet and May didn't make my mood any better in Transfiguration. They would write something rude and stupid, such as Do you use your hair to direct airplane traffic? on a piece of parchment, mash it up into a ball, then throw it at my head when McGonagall's back was turned. After class, much to Remus's dismay, I shot a well-aimed jinx at both of them in retribution.

Now, here I sit in Slughorn's office, organizing potion ingredients for him. My meeting is scheduled for 7:00, and Slughorn didn't mention when he was going to let me go. I slide a vial of rat teeth into it's proper slot as I glance at the clock; it says 6:55.

"Dammit," I mutter under my breath as Slughorn enters, whistling.

"Sir?"

"Yes, Natalia?"

"Nymphadora, sir," I correct, rolling my eyes with his back turned. "Would I be allowed to leave, sir? I have my Career Advice meeting in five minutes."

"Well, of course, Nicole, you go right ahead."

I shake my head, wondering why Dumbledore still allows him to teach. "Thank you so much, sir."

I grab my bag and take off running out of the room and up the staircase to the Entrance Hall. My combat boots strike the floor at an alarming rate, my bubblegum-pink hair flying behind me. While I'm booking it down the halls, I can't help but think of what a crummy day it was. Now, I'm late to one of the most important meetings of my life because of all that transpired today. I manage to only trip once, going up to the 2nd floor, but still make it to McGonagall's office five minutes late, even when I took a few shortcuts.

"I'm so sorry Professor," I say, entering her office, flustered and red in the face. "I was down the dungeons with Professor Slughorn and-"

"I am well aware, Miss Tonks," she says, looking up at me with an expression I can't decipher. Amused? Disappointed? Curious? "Please, take a seat."

I throw myself down in a chair across from her at her desk, examining her office. I've never been in here before, and it's quite bland, really.

"Well, you know exactly why we are here today, Nymphadora," she says, opening a folder and looking at my record. "Have you given any thought as to what you might want to do after you graduate?"

"Well…" I say, squirming in my seat. "I've thought about… becoming…"

"Spit it out, child."

"An Auror."

She doesn't say anything, giving me a curious look from behind her spectacles.

"You know Mr. Potter and Mr. Black are aspiring to be Aurors as well?" she asks, several seconds later, still wearing that odd expression.

"Yes, ma'am," I say, looking nervously at my feet. "That's not the reason I want to be one."

"Good," she says, turning back to my papers. "So, you have a reason as to why you would like to be certified?"

"Of course," I say, thinking about it. "I suppose it's because I would like to make a difference in the world. I want to be able to die knowing that in some way, I improved someone else's life. Aurors do that everyday, do they not? They put their own lives on the line for the good of everyone else's. And, if you do die in combat, at least you didn't die for nothing."

I pause, examining her expression. She doesn't say anything, so I continue.

"Plus, I think I'd be good at it. I'm sure the Auror department is always looking for Metamorphagus-like powers, for disguises and stuff, but with me, they wouldn't even have to try. I could disguise myself and go out on a mission without any kind of potion or spell to change me."

Again, she doesn't say anything.

"And, I think it would be fun. Going undercover, arresting dark wizards and bringing them to justice. And, the thrill of fighting. The feeling of almost loosing it, but casting the right spell at the right time, and getting the bad guy. I suppose all of these reasons are why I want to become an Auror. I hope that's good enough."

She sits in silence for a moment, examining my face with a small smile, something I've rarely seen her do before.

"Honestly, Miss Tonks, I think you would make a fantastic Auror."

"Really?" I ask, bubbling with excitement.

"Yes," she says, her smile breaking a little wider. "You've got all the qualities I think an Auror needs. Fight, drive, passion, kindness. You've got a bit of fire inside you, too, do you not?"

"I suppose," I admit, blushing.

"Alastor would appreciate your skills, too," she muses to herself, writing something down in the folder. "Now, your grades-"

"I know they're not the best," I interject. "But, I can work hard to do better."

"I'm not going to argue with that," she says, looking down at my report card with a stony expression. "And you would have to work on controlling yourself. No more detentions."

"I'm sorry, Professor," I say, blushing some more.

"You've got your work cut out for, Nymphadora, but I think you've got it. Just concentrate on your grades and your temper. I'll stand behind you, I can tell you that."

"Thank you so much Professor," I say, beaming.

"You're welcome," she says, actually giving me a tiny smile. "You may go."

"Thank you," I say a final time, flustered about her kindness and report. As I'm walking to the door, she stops me again.

"You and Mr. Lupin are… together, am I correct?"

"Yes," I admit, blushing.

"Ah," she says, nodding her head. "Exactly what I thought."

I smile, then sweep from the office. The last thing I hear is Professor McGonagall muttering to herself, "Yes, Alastor is going to love her."

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Hey guys!

Just a quick update, I freshened up chapter one of this story! If you wanna go check it out, I would love that! (:

You guys still happy with this story? Going in the right direction and all? Please review! :D

I love you all so much, and if you could help give this story some love, I will send you cookies. Okay, I won't, but I would love to!

Happy December!

xoxo

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