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and do not say "not now"

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February 14th, 1997

On the morning of her twenty-fourth birthday the Auror on duty sounded the alert in Tonks’ fireplace and she was out of her bed in a flash, instantly changing her night gown into an old woman’s tattered dress fit to fight in.

Aunt Bellatrix had been sighted. It was very likely a trap, likely a coincidence, and in the unlikely event her team wasn’t attacked the moment they arrived then the woman would be long gone –

Her eyes fell onto the pink vial her mother’s owl always brought her on her birthday.

(It had been three weeks since she last saw Remus. So far he’d only convinced one werewolf – maybe two - to leave the country, never mind about recruitment. He might be fighting dozens right now and she wouldn’t know. If something happened to her it would be days before he found out.)

She gulped down yesterday evening’s cold tea and hastily bit into an apple. With fingers still sticky from its juice she tied her boots by hand because her charms somehow never got the laces tight enough.

(He looked at her sometimes. It was enough for her to know that the thoughts that held her up on hard days weren’t just silly dreams.)

Boots tied, Tonks straightened and looked into the mirror to see if her disguise was exactly as Kingsley had specified. A woman who could have been her grandmother stared back at her.

(If Remus would ever let himself admit his feelings, his condition in combination with her own metamorphmagus legacy would either cause her to fall pregnant very quickly or need specialized fertility potions.)

(Fleur was going to wait to have children until their side had won. )

Her Floo fire started to flare mauve with urgency.

(Aunt Bellatrix and her fellow Death Eaters would hate the idea of a mudblood-metamorph-were. Remus would be a great father if he let himself.)

Tonks slid her wand into its holster and grabbed her broom.

(It was a huge assumption to make when he barely dared talk to her but she might die today and — )

The contraceptive she had renewed every birthday morning since she’d turned fifteen lay unopened on her nightstand as she stepped into the fire.