Tonks gets some answers.
Moody rotated on his wooden leg to face Tonks as she came storming up the hallway. He took a step towards her and held out his arms in a welcoming gesture.
"Auror Tonks! How are things progressing on the main floor?"
"Stuff it, Moody! I know Harry is in that room and I want to ask him a few questions! Like where the hell he's been all these years! And how the hell he managed to do this much destruction in the few minute it took us to get here!"
The other aurors in the hallway stopped their inspection of Dolohov's body and stared at their senior auror chewing out one of the most feared people in the ministry aside from Unspeakables.
Moody's magic eye swiveled to face her along with his normal one."You can't go in there just now, Tonks. Give him a bit of space and he will come to you."
Tonks' hair cycled through various colours before settling on a deep red. Her cheeks were flushed and she was clenching her fist around her wand.
"Get out of my way, Moody. You're retired and only here as a recruit trainer. I'm the senior auror on site, and will proceed with my investigation as I see fit! Do you understand?!"
The hall was silent now as the confrontation between two of the most well known aurors in the Ministy's modern history faced off. Moody smirked and bowed to Tonks.
"As you wish, Senior Auror. When you are willing to partake of some of my intelligence, please come and see me over by that bag of snot that used to be Dolohov. I need to go and get a good look so Ican have a nice memory for my wall of pensieve vials." Moody stumped over to where his recruits were taking photographs, and gathering readings with their wands.
Tonks glared at him for a few moments as he walked away. She visibly gathered herself, brushed some imagined dust off of her uniform and entered the room. As she went through the doorway expecting to see several people, Harry included, she only saw a healer busying himself at the potion cupboard, arranging vials. The healer turned to her as she came in.
"Oh! Hello, Senior Auror! I'm Healer McAvoy. Are you injured? How can I assist?"
"Where are the others that just entered the room? Specifically, James Black? He is a witness and was supposed to wait for me to come and get his statement!"
"Oh! Auror Moody out there took our statements. The patient that was in this room was discharged under the care of an associate healer and portkeyed away to avoid over-exerting herself. The commotion was not good for a person in her condition. I believe the man you are looking for went with them."
The sound of Tonks teeth grinding together was loud enough for Healer McAvoy to hear. He raised an eyebrow and offered a small vial to her.
"Perhaps a calming potion, Senior Auror? It seems you could use it. I insist. You and your teeth will thank me for it."
Tonks glared at him for a few moments before taking the potion and tossing it back like a shot of bad Irish whiskey. Her hair gradually faded to an off white blue, as the anger lines in her face faded. With a nod she turned and left the room.
Moody was coaching his trainees on proper chain of custody for evidence when Tonks approached.
"Now, you two take all this bagged evidence back to the processing center. You both have to sign it in to the storage lock up, and it can not leave your side, even for one second. Got it? Good. Now go!" The pops of apparition marked the trainees departure. Moody turned towards Tonks. "You've grown Tonks. When you were one of my snot-nosed trainees you would have never stood up to me. Now, calmly ask your questions and I will do my best to answer them."
Tonks sighed and held her forehead in her hand. With a tightening around her mouth, she started to speak.
"What in Merlin's name is going on? Harry has been gone, as in not even Dumbledore can find him, and suddenly he's back and killingDeath Eaters! Where was he? Why was he gone for so long? And what's with the "James Black" name?"
Moody pursed his lips for a moment to gather his thoughts. He stroked his chin and spoke. "I can't tell you where he's been and why he was there." Tonks took a breath and was about to start yelling again when Moody continued. "Now hold on to your knickers! I said `can not', not `will not'! Meet me at the secure room in the Ministry basement afterward and I'll address those questions then. Understand?"
Tonks eyes widened with surprise as Moody explained. The secure room was a specially enchanted room that allowed an auror to discuss items that were covered under the ministry's vow of secrecy without breaking the vow. It could only be entered by a fellow ministry employee who had also taken the vow. Any sealed records could be viewed there, and it was impossible to remove anything that was not publicly available. Most aurors only saw it once in their entire term of service, and that was when you took your vow as you entered the Auror Corps.
She shook her head and poked Moody in the chest with a finger, using it to emphasize each word. "A short time ago, a few weeks at most, Mother got a letter from the goblins stating she had been welcomed back into the family. Her dowry was released! The co-signature on the document was H. James Black, along with Sirius. That money came just as they were going to go bankrupt! Did Harry do that? And how?! He's not a black!"
Moody's face went from serious to full of glee as Tonks ended her tirade. He slapped her hand away from his face and rocked back on his wooden leg. "A few days ago, Harry contacted me with a question...."
Moody was sitting in the Leaky Cauldron, enjoying a snifter of Ogden's Finest. He often came to sit and relax. Tom kept a couple booths warded with obfuscation and anti-eavesdropping charms for the people who wanted to talk about business and couldn't afford the Gringott's charges. While not quite as secure as the goblin's, they were functional. Moody had a favorite booth that kept his back to the wall, and gave him a great view of all the entrances and exits, including the floo access.
Moody sipped at the fiery liquor and contemplated his recruits. This new batch was turning into a good troupe. They had finally realized that taking down a death eater was not a duel. People died if you weren't ready for anything. Sadly, it had taken a fairly serious training accident to make the point, but the healers said the recruit could complete his training with the next class.
Some movement by the bar pulled Alastor's back to the present. He could see one of the Weasley twins handing a package to Tom and nodding. A couple galleons dropped into Tom's had and the tall red-head left. Alastor knew that Tom had little to no dealings with the two jokesters, and his curiosity bump was itching now.
The publican wiped the bar down for afew more moments as he made sure no one was watching, and then walked over to Moody's table. Stepping past the ward curtain, he dropped the package on the table. Moody looked at Tom and grunted out, "What's this now?"
Tom shook his head. "I was told to make sure you got it. I've already checked it for port key signatures and obvious magic. Seems fairly muggle to me. Not parchment, and written with their writing devices, not a quill."
Alastor waved his wand over the small package a couple times and pursed his lips in thought. The writing on the label looked like Potters. He glanced back up at Tom and nodded his head. "Thank you old friend. I know who sent it. Has to be Potter."
Tom waved and went back to the bar to serve a couple of customers who had floo'ed in as he was speaking to Moody.
Alastor opened the package and glanced through the contents. A sheaf of legal documents, and a short letter addressed to him was all it contained.
I've been going through a few of Sirius' old things, and came across a purser's key to a vault. When I checked on it, there was a rather modest sum of money, and a letter. One of the things he had asked was to make sure Andromeda Tonks was taken care of, since he always felt rather badly that she had no family to fall back on. I've had the Goblins fill out the paperwork to reclaim he back into the Black family, and provide the dowry she was denied when Walburga disowned her. All it needs is a wizard notary (the goblins told me you are still registered as one) to authenticate it.
If you would be so kind as to provide your stamp of approval, and drop it off at Gringott's, I would be in your debt.
In regards to your suggestion I assist your trainees, I have been giving it thought. I have some personal items on my agenda to attend to first, but I think it would be beneficial to me to practice my skills. I will be in contact with you when I am available.
Moody perused the documents for a moment to assure himself it was as the letter had stated. He pricked his finger and made a mark in the appropriate space. With a wave of his wand, the blood flowed to his brand on the parchment. He tossed back the last sallow of the whiskey, and stumped his way to the bank.
Tonks was completely gob smacked. Moody's story, while fantastic, would explain what had happened several days before. A courier owl had stopped by during a family supper. Tonks had been supplementing her parents failing business as best she could with her salary. She had moved back into their home to help pay the bills, and provide some level of security to the older couple.
The owl had dropped the letter in the middle of the table, and left immediately. When Andromeda opened it, a Gringott's key had fallen out. With a slight frown on her face, she read through the letter.
To: A. Tonks (nee Black)
From: Gringott's Inheritance Dept.
Recent changes in your family status (as documented by the enclosed forms) had caused a release of a dowry that had been in holding. As you are now officially welcomed back to the family of Black, your monies have been placed in a vault. The key to access this vault should be enclosed.
Cordially in Business,
Andromeda passed the documents to her husband and daughter and stared at the small golden key on the table in front of her. Tears had formed in her eyes, and were making small tracks down her cheeks.
Nymphadora glanced at the letter from the goblins, and then read through the documentation. It had been signed by Sirius, and someone else... H. J. Black? Who was this person? he was obviously the head of the Blacks now that Sirius was dead, but she had never heard of him. Her father broke her train of thought with an uttered oath.
"What is it, Dad?"
Ted looked at his wife and daughter with a large grin on his face. "My dears, this is a windfall. According to the goblins, that vault contains 70,000 galleons! Our debts can be paid, our business brought out of receivership, and we can get back on our feet! We're not rich, but we won't lose the house or business anymore!"
Andromeda wiped the tears from her eyes. "The money doesn't mean much, though it is welcome. What means the most to me is having my heritage and family back. Whoever this person is, he is truly a godsend!"
Moody chuckled and brought Tonks back to the present. With a hand on her shoulder, he leaned in and spoke quietly,"Meet me at the secure room in two hours. I can give you more then."
Tonks nodded. Suddenly, there was a crash as someone knocked over a cart in the hall. She whipped around and started bawling orders to the other aurors.
This was hard to write. Not because my muse is being stubborn, but to make sure I keep character's in line with canon. It's a bit short, and I still have more backstory to fill in before we get back to Harry, Hermione and Luna. I promise it won't take as long to write as the last one did. I re-wrote this one a couple times before it felt right.