Disclaimer: If I was JK Rowling I would never have had the heart to kill off Tonks… so any characters and situations you recognise don't belong to me.
Author's Note: This fic is really just a bit of wish fulfilment, because Nymphadora (sorry, Tonks!) and Ted Tonks are some of my favourite characters, so I wrote an AU where they manage to survive to explore how they might and what might happen after that. Sharing it just in case anyone else would also enjoy seeing more Tonks after the war. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to review!
"Remus!" Nymphadora Lupin screamed, charging towards the spot where she'd seen her husband fall, ducking a jet of red light from Rowle, who she'd been duelling. She fell to her knees beside him, heedless of all else around her, and desperately felt for a heart beat, a pulse. Nothing.
"Remus, wake up! Enervate!" She pointed her wand at him, but the spell did nothing. "Remus," she repeated, beginning to sob as she lifted his body to hold him, burying her head in his warm shoulder. "Please. Wake up," she whispered, her voice half-stifled by tears, knowing it was useless. She could feel the slight roughness of his cheek against hers, and she breathed in his scent, savouring it, trying to deny what she knew was true. "Wake up, please. I love you. Please." A part of her knew it was unwise in the midst of a battle, but all she could do was hold him, try to savour these few moments while he was still warm, still so close to life, hope desperately that she'd been wrong. She lifted her wand again, hopelessly. "Enervate," she whispered again.
"Aww, is the little baby missing her filthy werewolf?" Came a high-pitched, horribly nasal sing-song voice.
Nymphadora's heart sank. She knew that voice. She hadn't the energy to fight her again, but she wouldn't give Bellatrix the satisfaction of killing her from behind, without at least trying to stand up to her. Reluctantly, she lowered Remus' body to the ground, and began to turn to face her aunt. As she did so, her wand flew out of her hand.
Bellatrix was smiling insanely as she caught Nymphadora's wand in her free hand. "You filthy half-blood brat," she spat. "Do you have any idea what you have done by lowering yourself to breed with that filth? You're even worse than your mother, you little slut."
"Don't insult my mother," Nymphadora told her firmly.
"Or what?" Bellatrix said tauntingly. "Crucio!"
The pain was indescribable. Nymphadora fell instantly to the ground, but the pain was such that she didn't even feel her body hit the hard stone flags. She screamed, unable to help it, but knowing no-one would come to her rescue. Everyone was too busy fighting. Who would be able to spare the time? She wasn't sure if she minded so much. At least she would join Remus... but Teddy... oh, god, Teddy...
Belatedly, Nymphadora realised Bellatrix had lifted the curse. "Aww, did that hurt?" she mocked.
"What do you think?" Nymphadora snapped back, wracking her brains for a good retort. "Why so angry, Auntie? Did I get you into trouble with your precious Voldemort? And you think I have bad taste in men?" It felt good to finally be able to say the name again, after all these months of hiding.
She saw with some satisfaction that her shot had hit home. "You dare speak his name, you filthy stain on my family tree? Crucio!"
Nymphadora knew she would welcome it when Bellatrix killed her. She was thankful, at least, that it was the middle of a battle and her aunt must have limited time to spend on her favourite Unforgivable Curse. Dimly, Nymphadora heard Bellatrix's cackling voice over the sound of her own screams.
"Don't worry, little baby, you'll join that animal you call a husband and your filthy Mudblood father so-"
Suddenly, the pain was gone, but all Nymphadora could do was lie there and breathe. Breathe. Through the after-effect of the curse, she could hear a voice, and a hand shaking her.
"Nymphadora! Nymphadora, talk to me!"
Nymphadora opened her eyes. Only one person ever called her that name. "Mum?"
Gradually, Andromeda's worried face came into focus. "Quickly, love, get up, as soon as you can," she said urgently. "We can't stay here, we have to hide."
"I can't hide," Nymphadora said, wincing at the pain it cost her to move her lips. "I came to fight."
Andromeda arched one eyebrow.
"You look like Mrs Malfoy when you do that," Nymphadora muttered rebelliously.
"You are in no condition to fight right now," Andromeda said with an air of finality, ignoring her comment. "All you would do is get yourself killed. You are coming with me, now."
Nymphadora struggled to her feet. There was no arguing with that tone of voice. Her eyes came to rest on Remus, and fresh tears came to them as his body floated into the air, guided by her mother's
Levitation spell, and her wand was pushed back into her hand.
"I'm so sorry, Nymphadora. He was a good man."
Nymphadora tore her eyes away, unable to bear looking at him anymore, and her eyes fell on Bellatrix, crumpled up against the nearest wall.
"Is she dead?" she asked, half-dreading the answer.
"Stunned, I've never cast Avada Kedavra before and I didn't want to try and use anything that might go wrong. I can't outduel her, but I could take her by surprise. Now hurry, we must hide."
Dumbly, Nymphadora followed her mother along the corridor, her mother turning away suddenly to slip behind a tapestry, into what appeared to be a secret short-cut. The narrow hallway was dusty and covered in spiders' webs. "Where's Teddy?" Nymphadora asked suddenly. "You were supposed to look after him."
"I left him with your grandmother," Andromeda whispered.
"But she's a Muggle!" Nymphadora said. "She can't protect him."
"He's not in the middle of a war, he doesn't need protecting, not yet, anyway. And if He Who Must Not Be Named wins this war, I wouldn't be able to protect him either. Besides, no-one in the wizarding world knows where she lives and there are protective charms all round the place, your Dad made sure of that."
Andromeda's voice caught on her husband's name, and Nymphadora felt guilty that the first thing that that reminded her of was her own grief for Remus.
"You needed me more. I can't lose you, Nymphadora. Not you too." Andromeda stopped, allowing Remus' body to float gently down to the ground once more. "Come this side of me," she said gently, indicating the space next to the wall.
Nymphadora obeyed, watching her mother stand in front of her and begin to cast the protective enchantments that would make them invisible and very difficult to hear. "You could start calling him Vol-"
"Be quiet! How do you know the Taboo isn't still in place?"
"He's kind of busy, whether it's still there or not,"
"Just don't say the name."
"Fine. You could at least call him all the names Auntie Liz and Elsa invented for him. Like Noseless Git," Nymphadora said, but without her usual bubbly humour. She could feel herself starting to sob again.
Her mother dropped to her knees and hugged her tightly.
"It feels like-" Nymphadora choked.
"Like the world should be ending, exploding right in front of your eyes. Like half your body is missing," Andromeda finished for her. "I know."
Nymphadora reached for Remus' body, pulling his head to rest in her lap, stroking his thinning hair away from his forehead. "I love you, Mum," she said softly.
Andromeda kissed the top of her daughters' head. "I love you, too."