clumsy_auror: (ancient and most noble)
It's over.

It's done.

They've been back to the bar with the kids and Ellie and Hiss and most of their things, and Dude and Kathleen have volunteered to watch Sunny and Anthony for a couple of hours while Nymphadora and Bernard go back to clean up Crowley's flat.

The Lego blocks and story books are largely tidied up, and now 'Dora is in Crowley's bedroom, putting fresh linens on the bed.

She's been quiet, despite the relief of having their home and all of their friends at Milliways safe.
clumsy_auror: (nymphadora)
Sunday lunch had been spent with the Tonkses, which was a nice change; it felt good to visit with her parents more often, and Nymphadora hoped that they could do so regularly now that Bernard was unbound.

Following the meal, Ted had gently shunted them out the door, saying that he and Sunny had plans for a cushion fort, and Andromeda and Anthony were hoping for a bit of a lie-down, and that 'Dora and Bernard would be in the way, anyhow, so why don't they go for a bit of a cuppa or an ice cream, or something.

It's one of those long August days, hot but with the promise of a chill towards evening, the death knell of a summer that's been one thing after another. She's quiet as they walk along, aimlessly passing through the streets of her parents' neighborhood.
clumsy_auror: (don't go there [black])
It's been one of those days.

One of those days where the kids are cranky, and no one likes what you made for dinner, and some ruddy git in the International Affairs office whines that your letter to the Bulgarian Ministry of Magical Defense was 'poorly worded,' and your husband is whistling, for Merlin's sake.

One of those days.

So after dinner Nymphadora holes herself up in the study, a strong cup of tea at her elbow and a pile of work in front of her on the desk.
clumsy_auror: (pumpkin pickles [black])
They'd left on the morning train from London, slipping beneath the Channel and through the northern French countryside as the afternoon wore on. It's nearly suppertime when the train arrives at Saint Malo, and it takes another hour or so for them to settle into their rented townhouse.

Nymphadora's dressed for dinner, and wanders through the house, peering into the odd little cupboards and leaded glass dormer windows. Her heels clack softly on the worn hardwood floor, and the sound echoes throughout the airy rooms.
clumsy_auror: (Default)
Mike,

I did some digging at St. Mungo's today about Raph. The records definitely indicate that he was discharged, and I spoke with his Healer -- apparently Raph'd said something about 'going to visit his girlfriend' which, I suppose, makes a lot of sense... certainly would explain why he's been incommunicado.

I'd still rest easier knowing for sure, but I reckon he's with Death. I'll keep my eyes peeled and let you know if I hear anything else, though.

'Dora
clumsy_auror: (suspicious sane_bombardier)
"...So he was discharged, then?"

Betina tapped her wand against the parchment, and the script scrolled and scrolled until it hit the end of the record. "Yes indeed, dearie. Look, here you can see it -- Discharged 5 July, 3 o'clock PM."

Leaning down to peer over the elderly witch's shoulder, Tonks frowned. "Hm. Yeah, that was my recollection, too. I'd gone in to see him on my way back from checking on Bernard, and the nurse on duty said Raph'd gone. I mean, I thought it was a bit odd that he'd leave without saying something to me, but..." A helpless shrug. "He's a bit of an odd duck." Turtle, she edited silently.

"Well, I'm afraid that's all the information I have, love," Betina said, sighing, and returned Raphael's file to its place. "You might have a chat with Healer Swillings. He was on duty when your friend was discharged."

"Good idea. I'll do that. Thanks, Betina."

"My pleasure, dear. My best to the family."

~~~


"Ah yes. Odd fellow."

"I suppose so," Tonks replied patiently. "Still and all, he's a friend, and I'm a bit concerned that he hasn't turned up."

Healer Geoffrey Swillings smiled easily at her, his warm brown eyes radiating confidence. "I'm sure you are. I seem to recall that he was intending on taking a bit of a recuperative holiday -- in fact I advised that he do just that, given the level of injuries he'd sustained."

"But a holiday where? Raph isn't really the type for sipping cocktails on the beach, y'know?" The witch cocked an eyebrow doubtfully, and tilted her head to one side.

Swillings nodded. "No, I hadn't thought so, either. Said something about... visiting a girlfriend?"

And at that, Tonks blinked.

Ah-ha.

"Right," she replied slowly, the wheels turning. "That would... make kind of a lot of sense, actually. I'll, um." Distractedly, "Thanks, I appreciate it. Really."

Smiling again, the Healer nodded pleasantly and shook the witch's hand. "Not at all, Auror Tonks. Glad to be of service."

Tonks turned and disappeared down the ward, and Swillings watched her go. His smile faded.

Obviously they'd need to be a bit more careful.

Anything in the pursuit of science.
clumsy_auror: (ancient and most noble)
It's dusk, at Milliways, and though Sunny has begun to protest going to bed while the sun still shines, she's curled up fast asleep in her room. Anthony's snoozing in his bouncy chair, and Nymphadora's distracting herself with cleaning up the kitchen.

Hopefully Bernard'll be coming home soon, and she'd rather not catch hell for the state of the stove top.
clumsy_auror: (no shit)
"If you're not careful, you bloody idiot, I am gonna call that nurse you hate," 'Dora threatens, tightening her grip on her husband's waist. "And then you'll be having another sponge bath, and I'm sure you won't be laughing then."
clumsy_auror: (nymphadora)
She's started the letter a thousand times.

Crowley,

Where are you? Can you come home? I really think you ought to come home.

I don't understand why you


Swearing softly under her breath, Nymphadora crumples up the parchment and thunks her head onto her hands, eyes staring blankly down at the surface of Bernard's desk.

It's been a hard morning.

Bernard's absence has started to take its toll on the kids; Sunny constantly asks about him, wants to see him now, and isn't placated by their daily visits to St. Mungo's. She wants him home, and though 'Dora agrees, her nerves are starting to fray. Everyone from Anthony on down to Ellie have clearly felt the tension, and there have been more spontaneous crying jags, animal show-downs, and squabbles over toys today than perhaps the entire last week put together.

Dear Crowley,

I won't pretend to understand, but you need to come home. Bernard's still in hospital, and


No, that's no good, either.

"Grandma 'Dromeda, swimming now please."

Her mother's voice floats back into the study in response to Sunny's question.

"Well, thank you for saying please, Sunny, but that doesn't change the fact that you've only just had your lunch, and you'll have an upset tummy if you try swimming now. You've still got to wait a half-hour or so."

"Why?"

"I've just told you why, haven't I?"

Nymphadora sighs, and tries again.

Crowley,

You ruddy git. I don't know what you were playing at, but I think you owe us an explanation, don't you? I don't know what you thought you were going to accomplish, pulling a stunt like that without telling me, but it was a damned bloody stupid thing to do, and


"SWIMMING NOW, PLEASE."

"Sunny!"

Anthony burst into tears, and the collective pandemonium finally wins.

"Incendio." The parchment burns away to nothing on the desktop, and she sweeps the ashes into the bin.

She can't do this. She can't try and look after Crowley from half a world away when there are people right here who need her.

With one convulsive movement, Nymphadora stands, and brushes away the single frustrated tear that threatens to slide down her cheek.

Then she heads for the door.

"Oi now, what's all this? Sunshine, you know the swimming rules quite well, don't give your grandmum a hard time about it, and Anthony, what is going on, you've got nothing to be upset over, have you? Of course not..."

The rest would just have to wait.
clumsy_auror: (auror shati)
Dear Mike,

Just wanted to let you know that Bernard and I are all right. It's been fairly hectic the past few days, or else I'd have written before. Bernard got caught in a blast, so he's still in hospital, but he's well on the mend.

Just so you know -- because I'm not sure that he'd tell you himself -- Raph also has some injuries. He should be just fine, after a bit; some ribs cracked, and a few other bangs and scrapes, but physically all right otherwise.

I'll be in an out of the bar this week, taking the kids and the Wrangles to and from the hospital. Will try to check in with you at some point, just because. I need all the hugs I can get.

Thanks for all your help.

Love from,
'Dora
clumsy_auror: (are you sure? (green))
Nymphadora slips back into Bernard's hospital room, slightly more at ease now that she's gotten an update from his Healer. "Going as well as could be expected," he'd said, and assured the witch that her husband would be allowed to go home in a few days, perhaps a week.

She closes the door quietly after her, just in case Sunny's still asleep.
clumsy_auror: (sleepy worried Mir)
Peck, peck, peck.

That's funny,
thinks Nymphadora's subconscious. I wasn't dreaming about chickens a moment ago, was I? And yet there they are, pecking their way across her parents' library, right across the game of Exploding Snap she and Dad are playing. Stupid chickens.

Peck, peck, peck.

Her father doesn't seem put out by the presence of the chickens. Doesn't seem to notice them at all, really. Hunh. That's odd, surely.

Then one pecks her on the hand. "Ow!" she cries, irritated, and suddenly she jerks herself awake.

Peck, peck, peck. Peckpeckpeckpeckpeck.

Nymphadora blinks, confused, and rubbing at the spot where, judging from the sulky look on his face, Hiss just nipped her hand. He doesn't seem to like the pecking, either. But where--

PECKPECKPECKPECK.

Ah. Front door.

She slips out of bed quickly, padding down the hall, almost jogging by the time she reaches the door. It's not even dawn, yet.

When 'Dora sees Dumbledore's owl, the bottom drops out of her stomach.

The contents of the note aren't exactly surprising.

Tonight, then.

Grimly, Nymphadora walks back down the hall, and for a moment she just stands and looks at the collective assembled in her bed.

Bernard is snoring gently, one arm curled around Sunny, who is currently half-talking in her sleep, very quietly, as she sometimes does when she dreams. Hiss has hopped onto 'Dora's pillow, looking to make himself comfy for the long haul, she suspects. Ellie is spawled out on the foot of the bed, having evidently decided to join the party at some point.

Well. First things first.

Very carefully, she moves Bernard's arm, and picks Sunny up.

Sunny doesn't need to hear what she's about to tell her husband.

The witch moves toward the door.
clumsy_auror: (thin ice rapunze11e)
The past two days have been a blur. Nymphadora feels like she's hardly slept, hardly seen her family, hardly even eaten more than a few bites at a time. So when Bernard had somewhat firmly suggested that they eat lunch together in the park, she quietly agreed.

Anything normal would be good. As would, she thinks vaguely, getting out of the Ministry for a bit. It's like a perpetual wake.

So many lost.

The witch shucks off her work robe, leaving it in her cubicle -- it wouldn't do to frighten the Muggles, after all -- and grabs her lunch sack before heading out to the atrium to meet Bernard.
clumsy_auror: (auror shati)
The graveyard at Little Hangleton has not changed much in the years since Voldemort's return - it was dark and overgrown then, and it is even more so now. There is still a large yew tree, and a small church, and a large hill with a grand house. It's quiet, except for the occasional burst of birdsong.

It would be picturesque, if Cedric Diggory had never died here. It would be calming, if Harry Potter had never been tortured here. It would be peaceful, if Lord Voldemort had never risen here.

But those things did happen, and for the witch and two wizards exploring the graveyard in search of a certain goblet, the knowledge of those events is more than enough to spoil the beauty.

Kingsley, on his guard for anything, comes perilously close to hexing a squirrel. The squirrel, unused to seeing humans and probably unaware that they're dangerous, gives the Auror a look best described as 'bitch, please' and promptly runs off.

Kingsley promptly attempts to look like he didn't do anything, and fails.

Tonks doesn't notice. She's too busy tripping over an ancient, half-crumbled headstone. "Sod it," she mutters, catching herself on a nearby cross. Raising her voice, "Arthur, you making any progress over there?"

Arthur's head, with its thinning red hair, pops up from the far side of the graveyard. "Not a damned thing," he replies, sounding bemused. "Still, we've a third of the graveyard to cover yet, haven't we?"

Making an small noise of agreement, Kingsley ducks his head once more and proceeds along the row, his wand held out in front of him. The wand vibrates ever so flightly, and a faint red glow emanates from the tip. Tonks and Arthur both resume their own searches, all three using the same spell, designed to locate even the smallest magical trace. Such a spell is generally useless in the Wizarding World, where magical residue covers nearly everything in sight.

But in Little Hangleton graveyard, the spell is much more useful. They've already re-established the site of Voldemort's re-birth; the spell-traces, though fading, are still present. Tonks had shivered as she followed the trail of curses, watching as the electric-green ghost of Avada Kedavra shimmered briefly over the spot of Cedric's death.

Now, though, the ground beneath their feet yields no evidence of magic, and hasn't for the better part of two hours.

Then--

"Think I might have something over here."

Kingsley's quiet voice cuts through the chorus of crickets, and Tonks and Arthur hurry to his side.

A soft, yellow glow hovers over a grave marked by a crudely-carved headstone, which bore a winged skull in place of a name or epitaph.

"That's cheerful," says Tonks, and drops to her knees to inspect further. "Reckon this is our pauper's grave, mates. Arthur, you wanna do the honours?"

"With pleasure. Stand back, you two. It'll probably be booby-trapped."

The two Aurors step out of harm's way, and Arthur raises his wand. "Exaro!" With an almighty whoosh, a grave's worth of tamped-down dirt and grass splits down the middle and, like the Red Sea, rises up and out of the earth, revealing the rough wooden coffin below.

But not a cup. And no visible traps.

"I suppose it would've been too much to ask that the cup not be inside the actual coffin," Arthur sighs, and with another flick of his wand, the lid pries itself loose with a tremendous creak and a puff of dust.

The three of them peer over the edge of the grave, and then Kingsley pauses, frowning. Without a word, he grabs both Tonks and Arthur's arms, and hauls them away just as coils of Devil's Snare shoot out of the open grave, covering the open coffin within moments, and writhing their way up their legs with frightening speed. "Incendio!" Tonks cries, and a bright jet of flame bursts into being. Arthur and Kingsley follow suit, and with difficulty, the three of them fend the vines off, though not away from the grave.

"They do not appear to be burning," Kingsley notes with his usual calm. He's right; the plants aren't catching fire, and in fact seem to be growing in strength with each passing moment. "This isn't normal Devil's Snare. It's not nearly so afraid of the fire as it should be."

Arthur's teeth are gritted with the effort of sustaining the spell. "'Ere, let's all go at once-- one-- two-- THREE!"

As one, the three of them cast the charm anew, and their combined efforts create a living wall of flame, with a metre or so of bare grave visible at their feet.

"You two, keep it up, I'll go for the cup," Tonks gasps, and drops to her knees, plunging her arm into the coffin. "I can feel something, hang on, almost got it--"

"Hurry, Tonks," Kingsley says in a slightly strained voice, watching as the vines begin to creep forward once more.

"I know, I've almost-- there-- ow fuck!" With a cry of pain, Tonks jerks her arm out of the coffin, her hand clenched tightly around a golden goblet adorned with peridot gems around the base. "Hot-- Get it off me!" Helplessly, she opens her fingers, but the searingly-hot metal is seemingly fused to her palm.

Without a word, Kingsley breaks the spell, picks up Tonks, puts a hand on Arthur's shoulder, and Apparates them to the far side of the graveyard. Arthur stumbles, a bit disoriented from being pulled away from the spell, but then his eyes widen as he looks at the cup in Tonks' hand. "Right," he says after a moment, all business once more. "Extra-strength Sticking Charm, I expect. Kingsley, hold her still for me."

The Auror complies, steadying Tonks as she cries out in pain, and Arthur points his wand at the witch's hand. "Solvo!"

With a rather sickening squelching sound, the cup finally drops from Tonks' hand, and lands in the grass at their feet. She takes a shuddering breath and looks at her hand, which is shaking.

"Bloody fucking hell," she whispers unevenly, staring at her already-blistering skin. "Fuck fuck fuck."

"Steady on, Nymphadora, we'll get you fixed up in no time. Can you cast the spell with us?" Kingsley ducks down to look her in the eye, his brow furrowed.

Tonks closes her eyes, gauging her strength, and then nods.

"Right, then. You know what to do."

The three of them circle Hufflepuff's cup, three wands trained on the pretty, innocuous-looking object.

"Casso!"

For a moment, nothing happens.

Then a soft, high-pitched whining begins buzzing in their ears, and they step back; it grows louder, and then louder still, until all three of them are covering their ears.

Then there is a flash of sickening, blood-red light, and a sound almost like a scream--



And when they open their eyes, the horcrux is no more.
clumsy_auror: (idealist (pink))
"You don't have to be nervous," Nymphadora whispers, squeezing Bernard's hand and guiding him along through the throng of the morning rush hour in the Ministry's atrium. "You're gonna be fine. And you look brilliant." A crooked grin.
clumsy_auror: (auror shati)
"I thought you said he couldn't--"

"But if he could," Nymphadora broke in, her voice tight, "If he could, would he be able to work here?"

Allbright's eyes narrowed. Tonks wasn't giving him the whole story, he knew that, but he also knew she was a damn fine Auror. He'd learned to trust her long ago. "Not much precedent for that sort of thing," he replied gruffly. "A Muggle working in the Ministry of Magic? No--" At the witch's suddenly angered expression, he held up a quelling hand. "I'm not saying he shouldn't be there, I'm saying he might be a target. But I'm not going to deny we could use the help."

The set of her shoulders relaxed, and she leaned against the corner of his desk. "So he could come and help the demolitions team?"

"He can bloody well head it up, far as I'm concerned." Allbright scrubbed a weary hand through his salt-and-pepper hair. "You know as well as I do it's not getting any better out there, and by all signs is, in fact, looking to get quite a lot worse. If we're gonna beat these bastards it'll need to be hard and fast."

"I know." A sigh. "All right. Well, cheers. That tells me what I need to know." Nymphadora, too, looked tired; bluish circles under her eyes belied the restless night of sleep she and her husband had both had. "I'll keep you post--"

But a sudden insistent clanging rang through the department, and both Aurors jumped to their feet. Allbright swore. "Get your cloak, Tonks," he growled, his mouth twisting into a wry smile. "There's Death Eaters to be walloped."
clumsy_auror: (thoughtful)
It's been a quiet weekend. More so than usual, Nymphadora reflects, as she methodically changes Anthony's nappy and settles him down for a nap.

Bernard's birthday had been Friday, and that had been a good day -- he'd been his usual self, really. But ever since his conversation with Raph the other evening, he'd been closed off, clearly not telling her everything he had on his mind. Had a weird conversation. Need to mull it over, he'd said.

Well, she thinks, squaring her shoulders slightly and padding down the hall, I think he's probably mulled enough.
clumsy_auror: (real face muffinbutt)
Nymphadora's just a bit tired, after last night's excitement and the ensuing crying jags that resulted in she and Bernard walking the floor with one child or another until the wee small hours.

Perhaps it's not so surprising, then, that she finds her entire family in her bed when she comes home from work; Bernard's snoring lightly with Anthony asleep on his chest, and Sunny curled close under his arm. Even Ellie's snoozing at the end of the bed.

She grins faintly and goes back out into the living room, making herself comfortable with a stack of paperwork and an oatmeal raisin cookie.
clumsy_auror: (tough girl rin)
Aziraphael,

Did you get Crowley's letter? Did you feel anything tonight? There was some kind of incredibly huge explosion of power out by the lake -- don't know anything more than that, yet. Will keep you posted.

D.


Crowley,

Christ, you felt it there too? It seemed like it came from the lake, but then we ran out and there was nothing there. Wasn't a bomb, wasn't anything like that. No idea. It's all a bit jumbled here just now, but I'll let you know soon as we find anything out.

I've written to Aziraphael as well. If I don't hear back from him tomorrow, I'll stop by the shop.

Stay safe, and lay low as you can.

D.
clumsy_auror: (pumpkin pickles [black])
The package, about the size of a large shoebox, has been covered in brown paper and chill-charmed; inside is a wide assortment of treats, including the delicate Madeleines (Bernard spent all morning on them), 'Dora's rather excellent peanut butter fudge brownies, and some garishly decorated sugar cookies in various shapes and colours from Sunny. (There's a very nice one in the shape of a duck. It is purple.)

Attached is a short note.

Crowley,

This should tide you over until we see you next -- though hopefully that won't be terribly long. Take care, and keep us posted on how you're doing.

Love from,
'Dora
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