The Peverell Legacy
A/N: I own nothing, especially not HP. Welcome to another fanfic, Italics are for thoughts, Bold is for spells. The Grande Finale for this story. I had a request for Harry and Padma's backstory by a reviewer, named Frickles, who is a pretty dang good writer and you should check out their works. Looking over my notes from that chapter, I believe I have enough for a short series about their time in Moscow. I'll work on that and post it later.
Epilogue Part Seven: It's not what it looks like!
James Peverell was very glad that the last year of his time at Hogwarts was over. He had loved the school and getting his magical education had been equal parts insane and amazing. But he was exhausted. His mother had drilled him over each summer, actually giving him assignments during his vacation. Bodhi had laughed at his pain until that is, she learned that she wasn't exempted. At least I don't have to turn in anything for Potions to mum or Snape. He thought with a tired grin as he slumped into his seat and watched as Hogsmeade village faded away from view in a puff of steam.
Across from him sat Neville and Parvati. The couple had been dating since the summer before their fifth year. Neville had asked Parvati to the ball held at Yule during the Triwizard Tournament and from there the two had begun spending more and more time together. James, like all Hogwarts students had cheered on Cedric Diggory as he made his way through the challenges. James had also politely applauded the champion from Beauxbatons when she won after the third task. He had attended the ball with Susan Bones. He had wanted to go with Padma Patil, but there was just something about her that reminded him of his mother, and it had made dating her awkward.
Hermione and Draco, Head Girl and Boy respectively, would be returning to begin their Mastery apprenticeships. Professor McGonagall had been asked by the Governors Board to take the reins from Professor Dumbledore after the headmaster had been found wandering outside his quarters in a state of confusion. McGonagall had approached Hermione about a Mastery in Transfiguration, but James had a sneaking suspicion that the headmistress was grooming his friend for a spot as her replacement. The current Transfiguration instructor, a retired cursebreaker named Meredith Wilkins was not interested in staying long-term.
Draco would be taking his Mastery in Potions. Snape was a terrible instructor to most students, but Draco being his godson meant that he actually tried. Godfatherly obligation aside, James was fairly certain that Narcissa would stage another 'thirty-seven-stab-wound-fall' if Snape had treated Draco the way he treated everyone else.
Bodhi sat in between James and Draco, engrossed in a letter she was writing to her pen-friend at Beauxbatons. He wondered how his little sister would take being at Hogwarts by herself now. It was true that she had friends, she and Astoria Greengrass was practically joined at the hip most days, but he still worried.
James closed his eyes and relaxed as the train chugged its way southwards to London. He had a respectable number of N.E.W.T'S, an offer from the Cannons to join their team, and the anticipation of his favorite dinner when he got home. Life was pretty cool sometimes, he mused as he drifted off into a nap.
By the time he opened his eyes again, it seemed the train had made it all the way to Kings Cross. After shrinking his and Bodhi's trunks and placing them in his pocket James joined his sister and friends in leaving the train. Waiting on the platform was Harry and Padma with big smiles as they welcomed the pair. "There's our graduate!" Padma said as she drew him into a hug before breaking it to hug Bodhi.
Harry hugged James as well, "Welcome back son, have a good trip?"
"Slept through it," James admitted with a grin, "How was the drive up?"
"Terrible as ever." Padma said, "I swear the fools who design the roads must get paid in booze." Padma Peverell had always complained that the trip to London from Rye was when Harry tried to top his high score for most potholes hit. "Still, it's your last trip from school, so I suppose it was worth it." She teased her son lovingly. Padma had made progress with her mental health, thanks to frequent visits to a therapist. Survivor's guilt was a terrible thing, but over the last few years, she allowed herself to let go of some of the pain she'd been feeling. She'd gotten to see Cho, Parvati and all of her old friends survive this time around. Lavender Brown, soon to be Lavender Thomas, would get to open the beauty shop she and Parvati had dreamed of. The weight of being one of the few in their year to survive the battle would never leave, but it wasn't quite as heavy anymore.
"You still have to take me to school." Bodhi reminded her mother, "I haven't graduated yet."
"I was thinking we'd just leave you at the school." Harry teased his youngest child, "It's much cheaper that way." He laughed at the mock glare he received from Bodhi as the foursome made their way to the barrier.
"I thought Tonks would be coming with you." James said finally as they made their way through the muggle traffic on the another side of the barrier and out towards the lot.
"She's- "Harry began but was cut off by a sharp glance by Padma.
"She sends her love to you both. She got called to work an extra shift today." Padma said as Harry shielded James from onlookers when he withdrew the shrunken trunks and resized them in the trunk of their car. The way his mother had answered his question had brought up more questions, but James knew better than to ask them when his mother used those clipped tones.
The truth was James would have been very surprised indeed to see Tonks today. His formerly closest friend had begun to withdraw from him. He supposed part of it had been due to his age, after all, how many twenty-somethings wanted to admit their best friend was a teenager? The problem with the situation was that she'd never given him a proper reason. Her answers of "busy, sorry", whenever he'd asked her to see him during his breaks had hurt. But this time she had specifically said she would be there just as she'd been on his first trip. She'd never lied like this to him and it hurt. Perhaps Bodhi could tell so she bit her tongue and didn't tease her brother about Tonks. Instead, she spent the car ride filling in her parents on every bit of gossip she'd heard at school whether they wanted to hear it or not. James, not listening, turned his head and watched the sky outside grow darker and darker as a storm began to brew.
James unpacked slowly after dinner that night. He put his textbooks aside carefully, each year his books had been given to his sister, so he made sure that they were in good condition. He had just begun refilling his sock drawer when he felt a vibration in the trunk. His mirror was vibrating and on its surface was Tonks. "Wotcher Mr. Second-in-His-Year." Tonks said looking at him with a smile that didn't quite make it to her eyes.
"Hey." James said as maneuvered the mirror between a bookend and picture frame so it would stay upright as he worked. "How was work today?"
"The usual. Had a guy who had an arrest warrant in Ulster get picked up in London, so I had to escort him back."
James noticed something, her eyes were tired-looking and faintly red. "Is everything okay Tonks?" He asked her, "You look like you were crying."
"Oh, this?" She concentrated and her eyes looked normal again, though her heart-shaped face was still framed by mousy brown hair. "I had to pretend I was looking for my son when I nabbed him. Hope you don't mind me using your name when he asked about the non-existent tyke."
"If you're sure…" James said after a moment.
Tonks nodded, "Yep. Anyway, I just wanted to say congratulations on graduating and in getting picked up by Chudley." She seemed eager to disconnect so James said his goodbyes and finished unpacking.
Downstairs Padma was in the study with Harry. "The nerve of her canceling on him and all she said was 'sorry, can't come'." She practically spat the words out, "Did you see his face when he found out she wasn't there?"
"I was beside you," Harry said calmly. He hadn't seen her this mad in a very long time and did the only thing he could think of. Harry drew her into his arms, "Maybe she really was busy. Or maybe it was just time for them to drift apart. Not every friendship lasts forever after all."
Padma fumed silently as her husband's arms encircled her. "Then she needs to be honest with him. I'm going to that flat of hers tomorrow and she is going to either talk to him or- "she huffed, "or- I'll do something, I don't know what yet." She narrowed her eyes at him, upon seeing him start to smile, "Don't look at me like that, or I'll give you a lightning bolt scar where the sun doesn't shine."
The family retired to bed that night. Bodhi, dreaming of the next year at Hogwarts where she wouldn't just be 'James' sister' slept peacefully. James on the other hand was awoken by a loud crack shortly after two in the morning.
He bolted upright seeing a figure with a wand drawn. He went to grab his from the nightstand when he got a better look at his intruder, and as his nose wrinkled from the stench of firewhiskey, he got a good smell of his intruder as well.
Before him stood Tonks, wearing her work robes, wavering slightly. In the dim light, he could make out two trackways of tears on her face. "S-stupid…" She muttered to herself, "C-can't believe I was so stupid…"
"Tonks?" James said turning his beside light on. When the light clicked on it revealed that Tonks looked just as bad, if not worse, than she had that evening when they'd spoken. She looked pale and instead of brown, her hair seemed to be a dull matte gray. She looked for all the world like a black and white portrait instead of her usual self. "What's wrong?" James asked her as he reached out a hand for hers.
At the first touch of his finger against hers she seemed to collapse in onto herself. She fell against the bed, sitting heavily beside him. "He was cheating on me." She said softly, so quietly that James thought he'd missed it. "Your mum was right about him."
James moved so that he could sit beside her. His arm went around her shoulder and she turned into him. She was very drunk and extremely distraught. James had been at Hogwarts around various people, some of whom had been drunk and some of whom had been distraught, but he'd never been around someone who was both. "I'm sorry he hurt you," James said quietly, hoping this was the right choice.
"I tried, y'know? I really tried." She said, not paying him any attention and staring fixedly at the rug beside his bed. "I was fun, I was flirty, we dated for years for Merlin's sake." She finally looked at James, "Why wasn't I enough?" Instead of waiting for an answer she buried her face into his nightshirt and sobbed. He felt her body shake as she began to both sob and hiccough. At this moment James had never felt stronger antipathy for his former Defense professor. Seeing her like this made him feel helpless and angry and something else that he didn't want to think about when she needed him.
"I caught him. Dead to rights." She said, her voice muffled against his shirt that was swiftly becoming soaked by her tears. "Well it wasn't me at first; it was Merula. She saw him in Diagon Alley at Easter. He was buying all this stuff, and she thought it was for me. Then she saw me at the Ministry and asked how my weekend was."
Tonks drew in a breath and continued, her voice growing a little steadier, "I'd been working, so I didn't know what she was talking about. Then she told me what she'd seen." She laughed sadly against him before looking up, bloodshot brown eyes meeting dark green ones, Tonks looked older than he'd ever seen her as she cleared her throat, "I didn't say anything. Maybe he was setting up a surprise for me, y'know?"
She drew in a breath and James could still smelling the remains of her whiskey lingering around her. "That was the night I was supposed to stop over and see you. I couldn't do it. I couldn't pretend to be happy when I was too busy worrying." She looked back down at the floor, staring at the rug but not really seeing it. "I knew I hurt your feelings, but I didn't know what to do to make it better. I didn't want to admit that I could be wrong about him."
"So, I didn't do anything." She said miserably, "I threw myself into work and ignored the world around me. Which gave him plenty of time to get lazy. He stopped coming down every weekend to visit, claiming that he was working at the school or that he got stuck covering for one of the other professors." She stopped speaking and glared as if she wanted to set something or more likely someone on fire. "I was an idiot," Tonks said lamely waving a shaking hand into the air.
"No. You trusted someone that you thought loved you." James said quietly, "I've known you my entire life Tonks, you are far from an idiot." He squeezed her hand gently, "You're my best friend and the person I trust the most in the entire world, I don't think I would feel that way about an idiot. Look at Ron Weasley." That earned him a little snort of amusement.
"I'd be worried about Ginny Weasley." She said after a moment, "She was the one who sent you that stupid singing Valentine." Her voice was still rough and quieter than he'd prefer, but at least she was talking about something else. "I don't feel much like a best friend anymore James. I feel like I took advantage of you like he- "
"No." James stopped her from finishing her sentence, "Nothing you've done is anything like him. You were just hurt and scared. He was the one in the wrong." He stopped speaking when he realized she was looking right at him with an intensity he'd never seen on her face before.
Tonks didn't blink as she closed the gap between them, putting her arms around his waist. James felt her lips just brush his before she fell against him snoring lightly. Just how much had she drunk? He wondered as he lay back on the bed, feeling her hold on his midsection grow tighter. That was when he saw a sight that nearly stopped his heart in fear. The doorknob began to turn and with her weight on his, he couldn't get to his wand or hers.
The door opened and there stood his parents framed by the light of the hallway. Padma, looking all the world like a Hungarian Horntail in a fluffy pink bathrobe was staring at them in shock. Harry in his own blue robe looked more amused than shocked to see James in this predicament. Tonks gave a little snuffle and pushed her face harder against his chest away from the light.
"It's not what it looks like!" James said in a strained whisper.
Harry, looking from his wife to the scene before him, merely shut the door back. Padma whipped around at him as he applied a silencing charm on the door. "What are you doing?" She hissed at him.
"Preventing a very awkward situation." Harry replied, "What do you think would happen if we woke Tonks up right now?"
"She'd get the hell out of our son's bedroom!" Padma said in a furious whisper.
Harry looked at her, "And we'd probably never see her again. That would hurt James more than letting them get whatever needs saying out in the open when she wakes up tomorrow." He looked at his wife, "That apparation was as loud as a gunshot, which means she's not focused, and judging by the smell in the room she probably had a full bottle of whiskey in her. James is a good kid and we trust him, correct?" Padma didn't say anything, but it was clear that her silence meant Continue, and make it good, Harry looked at the door, "She looked worse than when Remus ran off on her in our time. She obviously sees James as a source of comfort. Tomorrow, when she's sober, you can be the dragon lady."
Padma allowed herself to be led back to their bedroom, "If whatever her problem is ends up hurting our son Andi will have to write us off the Christmas card list because I will hurt her daughter." She promised him fiercely.
Tonks awoke to a blistering headache. She didn't know where she was except that she'd never felt her mattress quite this lumpy before. Against her better judgment, she opened one eye and got the shock of her life. She wasn't in her flat, she wasn't in her parent's house, she wasn't even at Grimmauld Place in Remus' room. She was in James Peverell's bedroom and laying, fully clothed thankfully, on top of James himself!
He stirred as she did and suddenly a pair of green eyes were staring back at her. "M-morning?" James said quietly, as he was unsure of the protocol for greeting bed partners, no matter what rumors others might have heard from Romilda Vane.
"I- "Tonks licked her suddenly dry lips, an action that caused James' gaze to move down to look at her mouth. Tonks had never felt this unsure of what to do. "I came here last night?" She asked before flushing with embarrassment at her question.
"Yeah, more like this morning, but you did. You told me about- "James stopped when her eyes became bright like they had been when she'd first came here. "He's not worth your pain Tonks. If he can't see you for who you are, then he doesn't deserve you and he never did."
"I just- I just don't know what happened. I thought we were happy, but he stopped trying to make it work. So, I confronted him, and he told me everything. How he had been trying to think of how to tell me that he…that he wanted to end the relationship." A flicker of red appeared in her currently brown hair as her lips thinned in anger, "By the time I was done screaming at him Sirius had shown up and I think he started up. I just grabbed the bottle of Ogden's he keeps in the study and ran for it. Ended up sitting on a cliff in Dover staring at the sea." It seemed easier for her to talk this morning and James' presence comforted her. Unconsciously she snuggled a little closer and continued speaking, "When the bottle was empty, I threw it into the sea and I guess I ended up here, spilling my guts to the person I treated like absolute shit."
James reached up with a free hand and brushed an errant lock of hair off of her face, "Going by what you said last night, this had been eating at you for months. You had a lot on your mind."
"Don't." She said gently pushing his hand down, but not releasing it, "Don't try to make me feel better for how I treated you." Finally, she moved over so that they could sit up, "What time is it?"
James consulted his watch, sitting on the nightstand, "It's nine-thirty."
"Damn it!" She cursed, "Your folks are awake. I'll have to apparate out and-"
"They uh…they already know," James said wincing at the look of terror and embarrassment on her face. "You made a lot of noise when you got here." She groaned and James took pity on her, "We might as well get the shouting over with."
"Yeah. I'm not letting you face my mother alone." James told her. Tonks didn't speak for a moment and then, like last night, she leaned in and kissed him.
"I- Th-thanks James." Tonks said after the kiss broke.
He was grateful for the fact that they were both blushing. James looked at their hands, still joined, and laughed softly, "You know, thirteen-year-old me would be extremely jealous of the current me."
"Yeah and that would have gone over like a lead broomstick," Tonks said with a trace of a smile. "Besides, thirteen-year-old you was too scrawny." She teased him, "The extra four years of Quidditch training did wonders for you."
Their conversation was ended when they heard a sharp rap on the door. "Open it or I vanish it." Came the sharp tones of Padma. Tonks gulped and went for the door before James stopped her.
"Hey mum," James called, "Tonks and I are going to grab breakfast and talk."
"Not until I have my say." His mother called through the door. At that James and Tonks looked at each other as James rose to swiftly dress. When he finished, he finally opened the door, Padma stood there, looking just as draconic as she had the night before.
"Remus was cheating on me. I came here in a drunken haze because I guess drunk me knew that I could always count on James." Tonks said in a rush. "And you know what? I'm tired of pretending that he's like a little brother. I've kissed him once this morning- "
"Twice. You kissed me before you passed out."
"Twice then. The one I remember was damn good. I'm going to go home, throw all of Remus Lupin's belongings into a garbage bin and set them on fire, and then I'm going to get cleaned up." She looked at the still silent Padma and then to James, "And if he's willing to let me make it up to him, then I'm going to come back here and take him to lunch and probably kiss him again."
With that Tonks turned and walked out with as much dignity as the current situation would allow. Padma looked at her retreating form and then to James. "Are you okay with this?"
"Considering I've had a thing for her for years, yeah I'm willing to see what happens next." He answered after a moment, the surrealistic nature of the situation still messing with him slightly.
"In that case your father made pancakes." She turned to walk out the door, "Hey," she said to her son, "if you hurt her, you are aware that Andromeda is the scary one of the two sisters, right?" She walked back downstairs without another word.