Tonks' secret sadness

Tonks seems distracted when Harry bumps into her at Hogwarts

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling


He spun round, one-legged, and toppled over. There, to his utter astonishment, was Tonks, walking towards him as though she frequently strolled up this corridor.

‘What’re you doing here?’ he said, scrambling to his feet again; why did she always have to find him lying on the floor?

‘I came to see Dumbledore,’ said Tonks.

Harry thought she looked terrible; thinner than usual, her mouse-coloured hair lank.

‘His office isn’t here,’ said Harry, ‘it’s round the other side of the castle, behind the gargoyle –’

‘I know,’ said Tonks. ‘He’s not there. Apparently he’s gone away again.’

‘Has he?’ said Harry, putting his bruised foot gingerly back on the floor. ‘Hey – you don’t know where he goes, I suppose?’

‘No,’ said Tonks.

‘What did you want to see him about?’

‘Nothing in particular,’ said Tonks, picking, apparently unconsciously, at the sleeve of her robe. ‘I just thought he might know what’s going on ... I’ve heard rumours ... people getting hurt ...’

‘Yeah, I know, it’s all been in the papers,’ said Harry. ‘That little kid trying to kill his –’

‘The Prophet’s often behind the times,’ said Tonks, who didn’t seem to be listening to him. ‘You haven’t had any letters from anyone in the Order recently?’

‘No one from the Order writes to me any more,’ said Harry, ‘not since Sirius –’

He saw that her eyes had filled with tears.

‘I’m sorry,’ he muttered awkwardly. ‘I mean ... I miss him, as well ...’

‘What?’ said Tonks blankly, as though she had not heard him. ‘Well ... I’ll see you around, Harry ...’

And she turned abruptly and walked back down the corridor, leaving Harry to stare after her. After a minute or so, he pulled the Invisibility Cloak on again and resumed his efforts to get into the Room of Requirement, but his heart was not in it. Finally, a hollow feeling in his stomach and the knowledge that Ron and Hermione would soon be back for lunch made him abandon the attempt and leave the corridor to Malfoy who, hopefully, would be too afraid to leave for some hours to come.

He found Ron and Hermione in the Great Hall, already halfway through an early lunch.

‘I did it – well, kind of!’ Ron told Harry enthusiastically when he caught sight of him. ‘I was supposed to be Apparating to outside Madam Puddifoot’s teashop and I overshot it a bit, ended up near Scrivenshaft’s, but at least I moved!’

‘Good one,’ said Harry. ‘How’d you do, Hermione?’

‘Oh, she was perfect, obviously,’ said Ron, before Hermione could answer. ‘Perfect deliberation, divination and desperation, or whatever the hell it is – we all went for a quick drink in the Three Broomsticks after and you should’ve heard Twycross going on about her – I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t pop the question soon –’

‘And what about you?’ asked Hermione, ignoring Ron. ‘Have you been up at the Room of Requirement all this time?’

‘Yep,’ said Harry. ‘And guess who I ran into up there? Tonks!’

‘Tonks?’ repeated Ron and Hermione together, looking surprised.

‘Yeah, she said she’d come to visit Dumbledore ...’

‘If you ask me,’ said Ron once Harry had finished describing his conversation with Tonks, ‘she’s cracking up a bit. Losing her nerve after what happened at the Ministry.’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling