Who: Nymphadora Tonks, Bill Weasley
Where: Auror Offices, Ministry of Magic
Summary: Bill makes an apology, and Tonks accepts
Bill walked through the corridors of the second floor of the Ministry of Magic, where the Aurors offices were located. His own training had been put on hold due to his new set of responsibilities, but he had been here often enough to feel comfortable in the maze of small cubicles, smiling slightly at some of the employees that he knew from his own school days. Ahead he saw the office he was looking for, and he sighed, his comfort level dropping abruptly. He was here to make an apology, and a difficult one at that, for Tonks had seen him in one of the more humiliating moments in his entire life.
Still, he did owe her an apology. She had offered help and sympathy and he had brushed her off. It was only a few days later, as he sat in the Burrow staring into a cup of his mother's strong tea, that he realized he really had withdrawn from everyone since his break up with Remus, immersing himself in his work and his family and ignoring his peers almost completely. Having finally seen - and accepted - that he had lost Remus forever, he also realized that he had to move on, to get back out and stop feeling sorry for himself. He had to get back into the swing of things - if nor no other reason than not giving Severus Snape the satisfaction of having completely wrecked his life.
Raising his hand, he knocked on the door of the metamorphmagus' office, deliberately relaxing the tension in his shoulders with a sigh and shrug. Tonks might well tell him to bugger off, and he wouldn't blame her... but he at least had to try.
Tonks had been working on the notes for the 'Malfoy Manor incident' for the past several hours, trying to decide if her superiors would rather see things in the order that she believed they happened or in order of importance, when the knock sounded at her door. Having become so immersed in her work, and the memories that the break-in by Bellatrix Lestrange had caused to surface, she jumped slightly at the sudden sound. The various pieces of parchments that were covering her desk, most in stacks of a dozen or more, wobbled dangerously.
"Don't you dare!" the young woman hissed, glaring sharply at the papers for a moment. Once she was certain they weren't going to fall, she slowly rose to her feet and edged her way toward the door.
Opening it, she blinked for a moment in slight shock as though her eyes were playing tricks on her. Yet it was obvious they weren't. Bill Weasley was actually standing in the doorway.
"Um, Bill!" she said, licking her lips nervously as she tried to remember if she was supposed to be meeting with the redhead for some sort of meeting. Unable to think of anything, she finally asked, "Is something wrong?"
Before she could ask anything more, she heard a crash from behind her and winced. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and then slowly re-opened them, peering up at the man still standing in front of her. "Please tell me that wasn't several large piles of parchments," she sighed. "Please tell me that they didn't just fall off my desk and scatter all over the floor..."
Bill's stomach had dropped at her apparent initial nervousness, because he thought that meant she was not at all pleased to see him. But her obvious dismay at the sudden chaos of paperwork on the floor caused him to smile wryly in sympathy.
Pulling his wand, Bill flicked it expertly at the scattered parchments, which neatly rearranged themselves on the desk once more. "Okay, I'll tell you that they didn't just fall off your desk and scatter all over the floor," he replied, eyes twinkling slightly at her. "Growing up with all those brothers, there were lots of things that 'didn't happen' in the Burrow, too... at least as long as we could keep Mum from finding out."
Tonks slowly turned her head and stared in amazement at the now-straightened parchments, her eyes widening as a smile curved her lips. Looking back at the wizard, she exclaimed, "You are a wonderful person, Bill Weasley." She paused for a moment, still unable to come up with any reason for the redhead to have come by her office. Finally, she simply asked, "Er, not to sound rude or anything, but what are you doing here? Has something happened?"
For a moment, panic swelled within her and she wondered if there had been an attack of some sort. Telling herself to calm down, she waited as patiently as she could for his answer.
"Oh!" Bill said, flushing slightly. "No, no, nothing has happened. Honestly, I... well, could I come in? I would rather not talk about this out in the corridor, if that's okay with you."
The young woman barely resisted the urge to smack herself in the forehead. "Where are my manners? Of course!" she replied, stepping aside to give him access to her office. "Please, come in. Make yourself ..."
Looking around at the clutter that filled the space, she shrugged. "As comfortable as possible, considering," she finished with an embarassed sort of shrug.
Chuckling, Bill shook his head. "It's okay, this won't take too long."
The redhead then sighed. "Look, Tonks," he said, smile fading from his face, and his voice dropped to a very quiet tone. "I wanted to say I was sorry for the other day. The thing with... Remus and Snape. I know you were just trying to help, and I was pretty rude to you. I wanted to say sorry for that, and thank you for the offer to talk. And ask if I can take you out to lunch or something by way of apology."
She blinked, certain she must have heard him wrong. However, far as she could tell, he had just apologized. And, what was more, he actually seemed to mean it, too.
After a few more seconds of simply staring in shock at him, she finally replied, "What in the name of Merlin could you possibly have to be sorry for? I mean, granted you were a bit on the rude side... but, considering what I had done..."
She suddenly trailed off, not wanting to remind him of just how wrong she had been in the entire situation. Then, his offer to take her out to lunch registered in her frazzled mind and she blinked again.
"I think I'd like that very much," she murmured, quickly clarifying. "The lunch thing, I mean."
Her stomach had given a little flip at the thought of actually spending some time alone with the redhead. Even if it was merely as friends.
"Great!" Bill replied, sighing in relief. "I haven't totally lost all my people skills, then. You never can be sure, talking to no one but your parents, if you can actually still say things to normal people and not sound like a petulant five-year-old."
A smile curved his lips. "Well, seeing as it is lunch time, and your papers appear all in order to me, Auror Tonks, what say I take you to the Leaky Cauldron for a bit? I can't say much for the company, but the food ought to at least be decent."
Tonks chuckled slightly, her eyes shining as a smile filled her entire face. "I'm certain the company will be more than adequate," she replied, re-opening her office door once again. "Shall we?"