Title: The Source of Creation
No one understood when little Tonks was given the job of writing a eulogy for Emmeline Vance. Of course, the formidable woman had been her mentor, but she had been the very same to many other young aurors. Old Mad-Eye understood. He disapproved, but he understood. Sirius would have understood. After all, he’d been an auror and loved someone within his own ranks.
She was sitting in one of the little used parlors that hadn’t even been cleaned out yet. The house was more empty since her cousin had died, and she found she liked it even better. People were slowly starting to leak back in though, assuming an appropriate amount of time had passed to resume business. From what her mum had told her, Tonks guessed that Sirius would have hated this formal mourning business.
On a table she’d pulled in front of her on the stiff couch, she had a piece of parchment. A quill she’d found in the cupboard was in her hand; an old, fanciful number. She’d fought so fiercely for her right to do this, but now she didn’t know quite what to write. Pushing her quill to the paper, she etched:
Emmeline Vance was a great woman and a credit to her profession.
As true as it was, it seemed unsuitable. Too formal and stiff considering her history with the other woman. Tonks thought, perhaps if she expanded on it, it would do her more credit:
Vance graduated from Hogwarts in 1973 at the top of her class. From there she went on to be the second woman trained as an auror and the first to ever serve as one. After breaking records set by her mentor, she was promoted to Lieutenant and shortly after to captain. By the end of her career, she had made her way into the administration. Still, her biggest accomplishment lies in opening up opportunities for women in this field.
They knew all of this, though, and Emmeline had always made such a big deal about wasting words. Tonks lowered her head to the piece of paper before her and thought she should be more personal:
Emmeline was a stern woman who prided elegance and hard work, but realized these are not traits one is born with, but must be nurtured. Many of us are better off because of this.
Tonks certainly knew she was, and without thought of what this was for, she continued to write:
Despite growing up in the Gryffindor house, I had developed a poor sense of pride in being a woman. Though I could altar my appearance, I did not feel comfortable in anything but a gangly, awkward appearance. I wore large, billowing clothes to cover my budding figure and spoke quietly, usually agreeing with anything someone said, for fear of conflict.
Needless to say I was in awe of Emmeline Vance from the first moment that I saw her. She looked like an ordinary woman, but moved with such grace an attention. Unlike me, who even at that age was clumsy, her every action seemed measured and controlled. Her face was delicate and soft, and her features fair, but her hands were strong, like those of a farm girl who was accustomed to hard work, and her neck too looked strong. A paradox, that’s what she was. I wondered I she had been like me when she was young.
This was right after the First War, and women were returning to their traditional posts. There had been a great deal of propaganda about the "place of women". I was the first woman to enter the corps since this had started. Obviously, I wasn’t what she had expected, and the other administrators scoffed at me. Emmeline was the only one to stick up for me, and her respected opinion was enough.
She was very hard on me; some would say much harder than she was on the boys. There were days when I would have given the world to quit, but she simply refused to accept my resignation, and I could not leave without it. The work was grueling and the boys were cruel, and I, both meek and a girl was, as you can imagine, open to ridicule and harassment.
Emmeline, who, like Dumbledore, seems to see all, once saw such harassment and approached. To this day, I still remember her words, so soft and dangerous.
She demanded we meet within The Circle, which is a sort of dueling within the Auror Corps, only with less rules. Needless to say, I was as terrified as he was confident and amused. However, when I stepped within the proverbial circle, something overcame me, and I ended up besting my opponent.
I developed her sort of grace, which I realized was really simply confidence in her instinct. Since my instinct was able to see me through that fight, I developed a sort of confidence in it. Still, as you all know, I’m clumsy. However, as you all also know, I’m not embarrassed by my clumsiness.
This was my first meeting and impression of this woman..."You speak with such confidence, Mr. Frost, when in a group against one of your defenseless peers."
Tonks stopped writing, her brown brow furrowed in thought. She had so little distinction anymore of her mentor, only the remnants of the roller coaster of emotions that had been involved.
Emmeline also knew when to soften her heart, hardened by years as an auror, when someone needed it. However, this often led to mistakes in her judgement.
I did well with my training from that point on, and even succeeded in the real world setting when my actual job started. However, it was shortly after the conclusion of the first war, and things were still generally peaceful. Nearly a yet later, the old death eaters became more violent and I was given my first truly tough mission.
It was basically a clean-up assignment. Death Eaters had tormented a small Muggle town and now the Auror Corps had to clean up the blood and administer memory charms. The smell has remained with me all these year. Unmistakably the smell of blood, poignant metallic. One sight, as well, has always remained with me. Children, five of them, all lined up in a curved line, like a serpent. Their bodies were at odd angles, bones obviously broken.
As I looked on, I wondered who would take such care. Not only bloody their hands, but break the bones, just right, to form the shape of a snake. Or had the bones been broken when they were alive? My body ached in sympathy and I glanced nervously around. I finished up my work for the night quickly and apparated back to the headquarters.
That night, I looked at my peers to see if anyone had the same problem I did. They, however, were joking, almost in a boisterous manner. Suddenly I was questioning whether or not I was cut out for this work. My legs were feeling weak beneath me, and I couldn’t imagine going back to my apartment. It was depressing to think about.
What happened next embarrasses me quite a bit, but I feel it’s a necessary part of our relationship. There was a small file room in one of the hallways of the headquarters. Long ago my cousin had taught me to pick a lock the Muggle way when magic wouldn’t do the trick. Going straight for the "V’s", I pulled out Emmeline’s file and looked up her address. At the time, I wouldn’t think how obsessive this seemed, or the fact that I was behaving like an infatuated Hogwarts’ student. That wouldn’t occur until later when I was in bed.
She didn’t say anything when I appeared at her door, simply stood back to grant me entrance. The moment I stepped in there, my legs collapsed beneath me and I let out a ragged sob. Emmeline didn’t say anything though. At that point I understood why I’d come here. My school friends would have asked me what was wrong, would have needed me to verbalize something I could hardly grasp. Emmeline knew, and she simply left me there on her foyer and went into the kitchen, returning with a glass of water.
Not yet understanding that words were not needed, I tried, "I-I-it’s just that something so horrible could happen . . ."
Lifting the glass, she pressed the edge against my lips and silenced anything I may say. I lifted my hands to the glass, tipped my head back, and drank greedily. Tears returned halfway through the glass, however, and I let out a choking sob, snot escaping into the glass. Cringing, she set it aside and placed her arms around me, making gentle shushing sounds.
My eyes were close to her skin, and for some reason I became focused on the delicate blue line of her vein. Lifting upwards, every so slightly, I pressed my lips against that spot. Emmeline stiffened and then relaxed, like a sack of flour being emptied. She turned my head toward hers and pressed her own lips against mine; a whole other ball park. I was afraid to make any move, so I simply allowed her to work, probing her way into my malleable mouth. Time didn’t exist in her flat that night, but at some point she stood and took me in her arms, with surprising strength, and carried me into the bedroom.
We tumbled into the bed, causing the sheets to ripple out from the point of impact. She resumed her assault on my mouth, and I tried to get closer to her, but she placed a hand on my shoulder and whispered for me to be still. Her hand drifted down my body, feeling the round mounds of my underdeveloped breasts and the flat surface of my stomach. Pressing her lips close to my ears, she whispered that I was "a fine figure of a woman" and it sounded different, and made me feel different than the boy’s at school with their exclamations of how "sexy" or "hot" girls were.
By this point she had reached my pants line, and my lower half, as though in anticipation, throbbed. I had the insane feeling that if we broke through this barrier, nothing would ever be the same again. Of course I was right. We struggled to get me out of the pants, and I spread my legs expectantly, eliciting a chuckle from her. Graceful as ever, she removed my top and pathetic excuse for a bra, freeing my breasts. I was now completely bare before her, and there was something appropriate about that.
In agreement to Emmeline’s paradox nature, she worked her hands upon my chest in a strong, firm way while her mouth worked down below. Even in such a strange situation, she was still guiding, whispering for me to "take it easy" if I became too impatient, or instructing me to do things that may make it more pleasurable to me. However, most of these were done through her hands or other oral body parts. As I’ve said, she was a woman of few words. I came with a scream of ecstasy and pain for all I’d seen tonight.
I felt entirely spent after this, but not in the emotional way I had before. It was a relaxing sort of tired, especially with the knowledge that there was a soft bed beneath me and a warm body beside me. After a few moments of deep breathing, I went to reach for my discarded clothes, but Emmeline took my hand and kissed it. "You’re beautiful, love, leave them for tonight." Though I was simply too tired to argue that night, it does not escape my notice that after that night I felt more comfortable experimenting with my look, physically and fashionably.
But she was human, just like the rest of us. With all the horrible and wonderful things that entails. She, too, was no immune to awkwardness. I often believe that she, being a moral perfectionist, could have transcended humanity if left alone. In the end, her awkwardness was with other people.
There came a point when it was clear that their relationship wasn’t merely something of comfort. We began to make it known that we were together, and the fault lies on me that we were doomed to end said relationship.
My friends accepted it as a phase I was going through, they had all had older significant others. Her friends, however, were not nearly as accepting. Their cold stares penetrated me, and I couldn’t pretend to be immune to their whispering. I was ignorant to their conversation, and it came to the point that I was afraid to speak. I was certain, after that, she would realize what a pathetic girl I was, and drop me. However, she pressed her lip against my hands again and said nothing about it.
The breaking point came when I thought to introduce her to my parents. My mother obviously thought it was strange. It was a strained relationship I had with her, she having married and given birth to me at a young age. Mum was overprotective and disapproving. Despite cutting ties with her family, I learned later that she was still a Black girl through and through. She didn’t understand my choice to be an auror, nor would she understand my interest in Emmeline.
"So, who are you exactly?" She’d asked.
Emmeline smiled at me, and opened her mouth, but I cut her off, "She’s . . . my instructor. My auror instructor."
Later that night, she’d coldly ended of short affair. The reason she gave was: "You’re young, Nymphadora. I didn’t take that into consideration."Anger had overcome her features, and she felt the desire to toss the parchment down. She felt the need to finish it, however, and did so with an ambiguous statement:
She was a martyr.
Emmeline Vance died many years later, at the beginning of the Second War.
Some time later, she felt the presence of someone else in the room and looked up. It was Remus, of course it was. He was peering down at her in his understanding way. Tonks remained silent until he asked the question, "What’s wrong?"
"Eulogy," she croaked, and he nodded, touching the paper questioningly, eliciting a shrug from her. He read without expression or comment and folded to paper calmly when he’d finished.
"So, this is why you’ve been so upset?"
She nodded distractedly, looking at his face. What she wanted was for him to get angry with her, but it was Remus, and all he’d ever do is strive to understand. He did look at her questioningly, clearly asking, without words, ‘What about me?’
For a long time, she didn’t answer, and had no intention of. However, the words collapsed from her mouth, "I’ve been looking for someone who could love me like she did. Can you, Remus? I’m not a child anymore, not like I was back then . . . so it might actually work."
"Can you love me like you loved her?"
"And you think I’m that person?"
He wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on her shoulder, breathing in her scent. "Tonks," he said quietly, "just read the statements you mad about her. People will fill in their own memories, like you did. That’s the point of a eulogy."