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Career Options (Tonks fic), Hogwarts, fifth year - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Career Options (Tonks fic), Hogwarts, fifth year
Chapter 22 (the holiday Interlude) is up. I added a description of the photo Sirius found in the attic.

And because I was cruel to poor Tonks earlier, I feel I owe her something nice in return.

Tonks hadn't exactly had a good introduction to Aurors.

She'd seen her first one--at least that she was aware of--when she was six years old, and they'd come to interrogate Mum about Aunt Bellatrix. He'd been cross with Mum and yelled loudly enough for Tonks to hear even in the back of the house, until Dad had put a charm on the door to block it out. Even now, almost ten years later, she could remember hearing it: "We know you met with her in Diagon Alley! Where is she?"

The next meeting had been less adversarial, but more frightening. She was seven, and they had come in the middle of the night, waking her from a nice dream about playing in the woods. She'd walked sleepily to the top of the stairs and seen the strangers there, and they were looking at each other nervously. Mum had been holding Dad's arm. Then one of the Aurors had reached out and touched Dad's shoulder and said something Tonks hadn't heard at the time, and Dad--whose permanent expression, she had believed at the time, was a fond, kind smile--had put his hands over his face and sat down on the bottom stair, rocking back and forth and crying. She'd tried to come down, but she'd tripped, and Dad had caught her and held her, and the next thing she'd known, the Aurors were taking them away from their house and setting up a guard. She didn't know until years later what had happened, only that it had to do with Granny Tonks, Dad's mother. Mum and Dad had told her it was a fire. It was only when she was old enough to ask why a fire had sent four Aurors to their house that they'd told her the truth.

Aurors had been a constant presence over the next two years, hovering nearby when her cousin Sirius had been arrested, then when they'd finally caught Aunt Bellatrix. She hadn't spoken to them, and as far as she remembered, she hadn't liked them or thought them at all fascinating. She forgave them somewhat when they helped the family move back home, but she, like Mum and Dad, had been glad to be shut of them.

She had no idea when she'd decided to be one, and it disturbed her that she passed over all of the other brochures that Professor Sprout had left for them. Sanjiv, who had no interest in any of the advertised careers (he wanted to be the official political cartoonist for the Daily Prophet, a position which did not, to Tonks's knowledge, exist), teased her about being a show-off, while Maddie insisted that she at least consider a career that was less difficult to get into. "After all, you don't want to be out there with no work!" Daffy Apcarne, who she wasn't sure whether or not she was still going out with (their situation had never been especially clear), suggested that she think about something "just a tad bit safer."

But Tonks didn't care about showing off--not really--and she wasn't afraid either of the work or of not getting it. The number of N.E.W.T.s she'd need to get to become an Auror would cover her for nearly any other career. It was the desire to do it that was bothering her, and when she met with Professor Sprout, she did her best to explain it.

Professor Sprout frowned. "I'm not sure you should set your heart on it," she said. "It's not that you can't get the marks, but..." She sighed. "I hate to be a cynic, Miss Tonks, but they may hold your family and your... ability... against you."

"I know. I've thought of that."

"And I don't know how well-suited you are to it. There are a lot of rules, and you haven't shown a tendency to obey them."

Tonks grinned. "I suppose."

"Is there anything else you're interested in?"

She shook her head. "The rest... I suppose I'd have to look more, wouldn't I?"

"You'll need to think quickly."

Tonks had left the office assuming that was the end of her career counselling, but two weeks later, she was sitting in Defense Against the Dark Arts When the door had opened quietly, and the Headmaster himself had stepped in.

"I'm sorry, Professor Quirrell," he said. "But I need a word with Nymphadora Tonks."

Quirrell let her out, and she went into the corridor, her bag over her arm, confused and alarmed. "What is it?" she asked, as soon as she closed the door behind her. "Is everything all right? My parents?"

"Everything is fine, Nymphadora," Dumbledore assured her, walking her toward the front doors. "Professor Sprout told me you were having some concerns about a career path, and there is someone I would like you to meet. He's an old friend of mine." He opened the door. Outside, the day was warm, but gray and damp. Dumbledore steered her down toward the lake, where she could see a gray-haired man sitting on a rock. Dumbledore led her to him. "Alastor," he said, "I'd like to introduce you to Nymphadora Tonks. Miss Tonks, Alastor Moody."

The man turned partway around, and Tonks could see that his face was criss-crossed and pockmarked with scars. "We've met," he said. "Though I'll reckon she either doesn't remember or doesn't want to." He held out his hand. "Pleased to meet you.... again," he said, and turned fully.

Tonks jumped, but only a little bit. Her mother was a Healer; she'd seen quite a lot of prosthetics in her time. The magical eye was strange to look at, but it wasn't any different from the wooden leg, not really.

"You're an Auror?" Tonks asked him.

"I am. Will be for another two months anyway." Moody snorted. "They say it's time for me to retire. We'll see."

Dumbledore looked back and forth between them. "Very well, then," he said. "I'll leave you to talk." He drifted back to the castle.

"Take a rock," Moody said, pointing to another boulder on the lake shore. Tonks sat down on it, trying not to look too long at his face. He went on. "Last time I saw you, I was standing guard at your flat in Diagon Alley, about when they arrested your cousin. I had a few other things to take care of after that. I've changed a bit since then."

She nodded, trying to mentally remove the scars and put back his eye and part of his nose. (Having spent a good deal of time rearranging her own face, she was actually fairly good at that particular exercise.) She thought he might look familiar, but she wasn't entirely sure.

Moody took out a flask and took a swig from it, and looked across the lake. "Well, I'm getting information third hand here, and that's never good. Before I tell you what Professor Sprout told Professor Dumbledore and he told me, why don't you tell me why I'm up here on a good April day. It's not like there aren't a few students every year who want to be Aurors. We don't take many. The teachers usually just discourage it, to be blunt with you, Miss."

"I don't know," Tonks said. "I told Professor Sprout that I wasn't even sure it was what I wanted to do, only that I couldn't think of anything else. I never thought about it."

"Haven't you?"

"Of course not. Why would I lie?"

Moody looked at her. "I'm not saying you're lying, girl. I'm saying you've been thinking about it so much that you don't even notice doing it. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation. So tell me, how long haven't you been thinking of it?"

Tonks shrugged. "I don't know, really. I don't think much about after school. I don't really daydream or anything. Well, not about a career."

Moody grinned, and she liked him. It was as simple as that. "Is that so, little Miss Tonks?"

"It's so, Mr. Moody."

"You know you won't have a lot of time for that kind of daydream. Being an Auror isn't something you do on bankers' hours. You'd go into danger, and you'd be out all night... it's something to think about. I've lost more than my eye to this business."

"Honestly, I have boring daydreams. I'm usually happy to get back to the real day."

He laughed, then sighed. "They're not going to make it easy for you."

"Because my mother's a Black, or because I'm a metamorphmagus?"

"You're a meta...?" Moody gaped at her. "Dumbledore didn't tell me that. No, they won't like that very much, either. I assume you know the usual runaround."

"They did tests under Veritaserum on me during third year."

"You know these are the people you'd be working for."


Moody examined her for a long time. "It would be useful in the department, if they can get past their prejudices. You could get inside places."

"I hadn't thought of using it."

"Tell me... when you think of yourself as an Auror, what's your day like?"

"Something bad happens. I find out what and who. And I keep it from happening again." She shrugged. "I don't suppose that's very sophisticated. It doesn't sound like the brochure. And I know there's paperwork and all that, but I've no idea what that's like."

"Oh, you'll find out." Moody rolled his eyes (this was a grotesque gesture with the magical one). "But what you just said? That's the crux of it. You're not the only student I've ever spoken to--when someone seems serious about it, I'll come--but you're the first who didn't try to make it sound like a Ministry campaign--'rid the wizarding world of dark wizards' or some such nonsense."

"How could we get rid of all of it?"

"Exactly. You can't think of it as a job that's going to be done, ever. You understand that, don't you? You arrest one, another one will pop up. People you'd never expect it of. And while you're busy cleaning up one mess, someone else is busy making another. The only rule is, we catch them. We catch them and we send them away, so they can't do it again."

"Do you like it?"

"It's not a likable job. But it's who I am. Who are you, Nymphadora Tonks?"

"I'm not"--she winced--"Nymphadora."

"Well, that's a start." He stood up. "Take your O.W.L.s. Talk to me again when they've been scored. In the meantime, think, Tonks. Think about why your mind takes you here."

Moody left, fading into the gray afternoon. Tonks went back inside. She thought about the question intermittantly throughout the remainder of the year, through her O.W.L.s, through the return home.

Her scores arrived by post in July, and after Mum and Dad finished (well, temporarily) their excited praise, she went up to the room she'd lived in all her life (except for the brief interlude in Diagon Alley). It was still decorated much as it had been when she'd been eleven--she was only here a few weeks a year, and had more important things to do than redecorate--and her childhood things were still spread out on the work table and the table beside her bed. She'd enjoyed drawing back then, although she'd always been rubbish at it, and the walls were covered with cracked, aging parchment covered with childish scribbles. Granny Tonks rowing Merlin across the sea, to get him away from the oak tree that Niniane had bound him in. Mum at work, hovering over a patient while a monster threatened them. Dad and Mum with swords taking on a vicious fish-like creature. One showed three men--well, three rectangular blobs with short hair on their heads--who were dripping wet, their wands (or perhaps swords; she hadn't been clear on the difference back then) raised against some villainous intruder.

It was her turn.

That was all.

She had always been the protected one.

Now, she would be the protector. That was what grown-ups did.

She pulled out a bit of parchment, and wrote a note to Alastor Moody.


31 comments or Leave a comment
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: March 15th, 2005 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Not to be awful, but

"Because Imy mother's a Black, or because I'm a metamorphmagus?"

Is that supposed to be "Because I'm a Black" or "Because I -- my mother's a Black" or "Because my mother's a Black"?

Other than that, what a lovely snippet of young Tonks. And her affection for Moody! Excellent! I always enjoy your work so much, Fern. You *think* about things.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it was I, then I changed it to "my mother," but I actually sort of like the hyphenated version, now that you mention it.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 15th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
There are really only so many ways that I can say "I love your fics", and I hate repeating myself... ;) I really like the interaction between Tonks and Moody; especially the line about how he grinned and she liked him and it was as simple as that. Also memorable was the paragraph mentioning Tonk's friends - mostly the part about Sanjiv wanting the position of political cartoonist for the Daily Prophet!

Really Obvious Edit Things:

Her mother was a Healter = Healer

Because Imy mother's a Black = already mentioned

Less Obvious Edit Thing (aka Brit-pick):

I'm almost certain that "shut of" should be "shot of"; in fact when googling the phrase to see if I could confirm my suspicion one of the first hits I got was a comparison chart between the US/UK version of PS/SS on the Lexicon - "well shot of" in the UK version was changed to "well shut of" in the US.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 15th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
*Where by "PS/SS" I mean "OotP" and I need to learn to notice things more closely. :)
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: March 15th, 2005 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Was briefly confused by the referent to "She hadn't spoken to them" but it's no big deal. You have a way of filling even short one-shots with so much detail: Tonks falling downstairs into her father's arms, and the collection of childhood drawings. "Well, not about a career" -- about her Mr. Lupin, maybe? Anyway, I liked it a lot.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
about her Mr. Lupin, maybe?
Just possibly. ;)

Was briefly confused by the referent to "She hadn't spoken to them"
To clean up that sentence, what confused you?
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: March 15th, 2005 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)


she was only _hear_ a few weeks a year

I suspect that you meant _here_

As always, lovely to see your work.

maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: March 15th, 2005 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
What a great way to "make it up to" Tonks! I like the insight into Tonks' career choice, and the fact that you've suggested that sometimes it's the career that does the choosing. The little details you throw in really help to 'invite' the reader into the story. Moody was also well-characterised, I thought!

(Another minor typo: --she was only hear a few weeks a year)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
:eyeroll: Typing quickly, late at night, toward the end. Does it every time.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: March 15th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really liked this - it seems very realistic. I especially liked "it was time to be the protector." And I'm very sure that it was true for her in canon, too - she can't have had a DE threat free life as a kid.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just by her age, she'd have had to have been in contact with the first war in some degree; factor in the House of Black, and, well...
swatkat24 From: swatkat24 Date: March 15th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, what a lovely Tonks snippet! I do like the way you wrote young Tonks (and she's *not* Nymphadora! *giggle*)- lively, smart, and ultimately, a very strong person, ready to protect the people she loves.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
mafdet From: mafdet Date: March 15th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved this! Your Tonks is always a treat to read about. I especially liked the backstory on her early years - considering her background and the fact that War I was still on when she was little, of course she would have met Aurors and not under the best of circumstances.

I got a laugh out of Sanjiv wanting to be the political cartoonist for The Daily Prophet. He would have had a field day with Fudge!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
War I
Don't know why this made me giggle, but I have a mad desire to, from now on, refer to Marauders Era as VWI (Voldie War I) and canon era as VWII.

I'm glad you liked the story!
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: March 16th, 2005 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This was amazing, as always, your Tonks is just so... perfect.
From: isabela113 Date: March 16th, 2005 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
An enjoyable story. I hadn't considered being a metamorphmagus an impediment to working in the Ministry, but now that I think of it there is rampant paranoia in the administration so it does make sense. Tonks' realization about why she wanted to be an Auror seemed so very appropriate to her character.
verdenia From: verdenia Date: May 23rd, 2006 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! This was great. I've not read your story that this apparently fits into [with her cartoonist friend], but this works just fine as a stand-alone piece, and I really like it!
Motivations are fun to read about. Especially when it is someone's motive to be an Auror. ;D
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: April 8th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
there are so many things i should be doing (or writing, as i'm doing my graduate final paper bleh) but i've been looking back on your previous fics, obviously. heheheh

i liked how simple this fic is, nothing too dramatic in terms of dialogue (the descriptions are another matter) and mad-eye and tonks being really plain and frank with each other.

i do have a story nitpick, and it concerns quirrell. i think by this time it would have been established in canon that DADA professors always leave at the end of the year, but he's there in tonks' 5th year as well as harry's 1st year? and we know tonks and harry weren't in school at the same time (or if we go by the premise that charlie's her classmate, she should be at least in 7th year during harry's 1st year) and if she's been an auror for a year at the start of ootp, she'd have started training during harry's first year, wouldn't she? unless i missed something about quirrell being DADA before he went to albania, i tend to gloss over those kinds of details...
31 comments or Leave a comment