And the seasons they go 'round and 'round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time
Joni Mitchell, "Circle Game"
Tonks believed her life had seasons.
Seasons are, of course, necessary. In the natural sense, they are a time of change. Summer is a teenage girl dancing on the grass in naught but a bathing suit, completely barefoot and shivering in an odd sort of delight as a cool breeze brushes past. Autumn is a farmer finally harvesting his crops, one by one. Winter is an elderly lady sitting by her window with a hot cup of cocoa, smiling as she watches her grandchildren build a snowman, yet dreading the cold night ahead. Spring is the frost melting away, new seeds then planted. Children play outside without loved ones worrying about the cold (too much), farmers get back on their tractors, and young couples spend nights gazing at the stars, wondering what the future holds, hoping only good is in store.
Tonks's life had been, thus far, a seasonal cycle.
Summer most closely resembled Tonks's youth. She'd been so innocent and curious; she wasn't an infant, but she was young. Little Dora Tonks was also carefree. There was no rush for anything--she had all the time in the world.
This was also a time of self-discovery. At four, Tonks found out she was a Metamorphmagus, which led to the need for control over her magic… when her parents were watching. In her room, Tonks could make herself look like anyone–a princess, a fairy, and occasionally her mum.
At seven, Tonks served a flower girl at Lily and James's wedding, where she got to know her cousin Sirius, and met her best friend, Artemis Lupin, a fellow flower girl. Together, the two would practice the walk down the aisle, and sometimes pretend they were the ones getting married. Tonks would be Artemis's Maid of Honor, and Artemis would be hers.
By then, however, the war had taken a dark turn, and even at her young age, Tonks knew something was wrong. When Sirius took her for rides on his motorcycle, she'd sometimes look over his shoulder and see a troubled expression on his face, even just after laughing. When Mum read a "goodnight story" to her, she would sometimes pause for no reason, especially when reading the book about three sisters, The Girls of Merry Pond. Nights seemed long as Tonks propped herself against her parents' door, listening to things she wished she wasn't hearing, curiosity conflicting with the need for security.
Autumn became even darker, a nasty mark on Tonks's adolescence. People started disappearing; Miss Dorcas Meadowes (who had once been Mum's teacher at Hogwarts) died, though Tonks never knew the exact circumstances until she joined the Order years later. Sirius left too, and though the war was over to many, it had only just begun for Tonks. The atmosphere in the house Tonks had once thought of as a palace became cold; Mum refused to talk about Sirius, and when she did, her opinions on what had happened to him seemed to vary with her mood. Sometimes he was a madman who nevertheless had been given the wrong punishment; other times, he was simply a traitor, the reason nobody liked Mum's side of the family.
When Tonks went to Hogwarts, she hoped things would change. However, while there were days of careless laughter and friends to keep her going even when things weren't so good, the comfort they gave her was sometimes not enough. Tonks had hoped to piece together what she had lost, but nobody wanted to discuss those who had been lost to the war, especially the people Tonks wanted to know the most about: Sirius and Miss Meadowes.
Of course, there was Artemis's brother, who had been friends with Sirius and Miss Meadowes, but Artemis warned her that Remus never really discussed Sirius--or anything upsetting, for that matter--with anyone.
Tonks felt frustrated over having nobody to discuss her past with, and often endured sleepless nights. The more Tonks dwelled on what life had been like, the less innocent things seemed. She wondered if The Girls of Merry Pond was not a book Andromeda had wanted to read to her only daughter because she thought "my Dora" would enjoy it, but because it was a happier alternative to the dysfunctional relationship she had with her sisters. Tonks also feared that Sirius had been tempted to throw her off his motorcycle. Was that the reason he sometimes looked discontent?
She had to reap what life had sown--and winter arrived. That was, perhaps, the longest season of her life.
It started with trying to be an Auror, which was hard. Many people wondered why it had taken her so long, then assumed it was because she wasn't talented enough. The truth was, she'd had to prove, in order to be accepted, that she wouldn't help one of her imprisoned "family members" (their words, not hers) out of Azkaban, use her powers unethically, and that her lack of great coordination, especially under pressure, would not be a liability in emergencies, or a scapegoat to avoid a reprimand. Tonks knew her sense of humor, and hair color probably didn't help, but she wasn't about to hide who she was.
Then of course, everything went downhill from there, like a snowball falling apart against a wall.
Sirius escaped, and while Tonks did have the pleasure of discovering his innocence (thanks to Remus, who had decided to be a bit more open, surprisingly enough), the war followed soon after.
The war, like a blizzard, consumed those Tonks held dear. She tried to remain happy, tried desperately to hang on. Unfortunately, this resulted in telling herself everything was just fine, and worrying relatives and friends who knew she was acting a little too quirky. When Tonks was forced to walk on ice as Amelia, Emmeline, and Sirius died, and Remus temporarily left in an attempt to "protect" her, her barriers of escape were broken down. The warm spells were cruel, as they offered promises that were not really there. Even when Tonks did have support, it wasn't enough to compensate for the fact that Mum was becoming moody again, and people were dying left and right.
The war ended with a victory on their side, but not without leaving scars. Tonks could name many people she mourned–-too many. For a long while after Voldemort fell, there were still bodies to find, arrests to be made, and people to heal.
But there was still hope for a return to normalcy. Bill and Fleur had a son, and Mum started dealing with her problems by actually talking to Tonks. And one otherwise chilly night, Remus came through the door with a diamond ring in his pocket.
The final bloom came during an early afternoon in April.
After hours of pain and Remus consoling her even after being slapped on the face, Tonks held an infant in her arms.
Tonks looked down at the small person, the person she and Remus had created. A beautiful baby girl--Iris Andromeda Lupin.
As the years went by, Tonks felt she was regaining her childhood. Remus and Tonks showed little Iris a picture of Sirius, teaching her his name. They found the The Girls of Merry Pond in Mum's attic, and when Iris got her own little sister, Rhea, she insisted on buying her a doll so they could also be three sisters. Soon after, of course, Fleur gave birth to her second child, Marie, and the set was complete: they could be three sisters.
As Tonks taught her daughters, as well as Fleur's daughter, how to make a daisy chain one May afternoon, she realized that life has seasons. She also realized that there is always a rebirth, a second chance to fulfill a dream, a way to remember what once was.
Every year has a spring.
Author's Note: The idea to write a fic based on the seasons comes partially from a challenge at the Livejournal community rt_challenge. Comparing life to seasons was, of course, also inspired by several songs, including this one and Seasons of Love.
Thanks to my lovely beta readers:Ameena, Ariana Black, Arya, Elanor Gamgee, Kelleypen, Linda Lupos, and Reesie. You guys helped me polish the story, and even added a few things.
I also want to thank my LJ friends for being the ones to have the first "taste," and giving me further suggestions and tips where needed.