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19 May 2008 @ 10:05 am
Fic: What's in a name?  
Title: What's in a name?
Author: pinkhairedauror
Rating & Warnings: PG. The last part is AU (denial fic, much!)
Prompts: What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Word Count: 1 173
Summary: Three times a disliked name is reconsidered. (Pieces set in OotP, late HBP/early DH, and post-DH).
Author’s Notes: I think the genre is most appropriately 'fluff', but since that's not currently an option that I can see, it goes under 'romance' (well, it is)
MANY thanks to r_moony for the beta. LOVE YOU!
And, I hope you enjoy.

"Roses don't smell anymore!"


"No, I mean they do, at least some of them, but when you just go and buy a... plain rose, it doesn't smell sweet."


"Yeah. 's not right, is it?"

"No, I suppose not. So that's a problem?"

"Dunno. Just thought about it. I guess it'd be kinda disappointing if somebody gave you a rose, an admirer, and it didn't have that... aroma."

"Nymphadora, I think that I am highly unlikely to be the recipient of a rose from an admirer, to be disappointed so."

"Hmmm? Oh, right. Though that's kinda unfair, innit? And don't call my Nymphadora. I've told you that!"


"Why what? It's unfair, 'cause..."

"No, I meant - why do you dislike your name so much?"

"Oh." Tonks was quiet for a moment - untypical - then took a small breath and did answer.

"See, I don't dislike it. I just... I don't think it fits me. I mean, my mum's taste is faultless, the name's very nice. I just know naming me so... She expected me to be something completely different from what I did turn out to be. It's a...graceful name, elegant, unique and yet stylish. I'm not."

"That's not quite..."

"Oh, it's truth all right. I'm clumsy, klutzy, loud, unexpected, disobedient, stubborn... All in all, hardly a light little bright thing, barely touching reality, like a nymph is." She smiled to herself. "See, most kids hate it when they go to school and teachers and others start calling them by their last names. Me? I loved it. At school first, then at work. Tonks fits me a bit better, and I love my dad and his name. And it's faster and more convenient to call out in a tight spot. Calling out all four syllables in a fight? You can get one good spell with the breath."

There was a small smile on his face that she couldn't quite decipher, but she kept on explaining things anyway. They'd been assigned out on observation duty, and, while quietly talking, both their pairs of eyes darted back and forth, covering the perimetre.

"I actually like all four syllables, you know." She rolled her eyes demonstratively and he shook his head. "They're...dignified."

"And I'm not. I'm not neat, or dignified, or elaborate. I think my mum expected me to be, and I'm not, and the name just reminds me - and her, probably, that maybe I failed her."


She shrugged. "I am who I am. Trying to pretend otherwise or be somebody else is extremely hard and ends up badly and nobody's happy." She moved on silently for a moment, then actually blushed slightly. "'sides, there's one more reason for me not exactly liking being called the full name. At one point at school, somebody who was unhappy with me, prob'ly over getting better grades than him, started calling me nymphomaniac. Nympho."

He scowled. "...no. Who?"

"Doesn't really matter now. Shouldn't have paid him that much attention." Remus almost made a face, understandingly. He would, she thought. "But I was at the time kinda interested in fitting in, being accepted, and it... stung."

"Oh. I see. That would indeed give a bit of resentment towards the first part of the name."

She shrugged again. "Yeah, a bit." Then her grin flashed up at him in the gathering darkness. "Satisfying answer, professor?"

"I am not a professor anymore," he reminded her, not quite a retort, but his eyes lit oddly for an instant. "But yes, you did answer my question quite thoroughly, tha--"

She placed her hand on his arm, drawing her wand, silencing him with the touch. He followed the direction of her eyes and froze, then drew his own wand as they moved quietly to take cover. Time for watching seemed to be over for now; time for doing was starting.

- || - || -

It had been a strained evening, he thought. Andromeda and Ted had been overjoyed to see their daughter back, more or less, to her usual colourful and loud self. His presence by her side, however, who he was, and how she didn't seem to mean to let him away from her... discomforted them.

It had been too much to prove true, Tonks' persuasion that they'd love him. As he'd known it would be, and he maybe shouldn't have let her persuade him (at all?).

And yet, one good thing stayed with him from the night.

It was how Ted had called his daughter Dora, and how her face had infinitesimally brightened every time that had happened. If she wouldn't accept her given name, that might make it a bit... odd for them in the near future.

But Dora... That was lovely. He caught himself thinking of her as Dora sometimes already. Wasn't sure he'd actually call her so just yet. But it was there, in his mind.
And it fit.

- || - || -

"Who's your mum?"

It was Teddy's first time at the practice Quidditch Pitch, and he'd earned a little time when she wasn't right by his side. She recalled herself how proud and self-confident it'd made her feel when her parents had given her that little bit of extra space as a kid, and she was doing that for her son now.

Which didn't mean she wasn't worried. That her eyes strayed from him or she didn't cheat. Weasleys' extendable ears, for example, were a great way to make sure that a lot of things didn't happen to him. Like knowing if he got insulted or something like that...

But he was doing beautifully - meeting other kids, impressing them without offending, and, by the looks and sound of it, having a wonderful time.

Right now, his clear voice rang out, loud and proud, without a hint of hesitation.

"She's Nymphadora Lupin! She--"

The unconditional answer made her blink, and she was only dimly aware of the rest of the conversation. In a moment, she realised she was blinking back tears. Her name, and she actually loved hearing it right then, that way.


It was probably Remus's fault, she thought. His and her mother's. They both would call her that - her mum more often, her husband only occasionally - teasing, exploring. Reassuring her he did like it, that it was appropriate. Giving tiny compliments the way only he could do and was so good at: understated, quiet, slipping past her reflex to deny anything that suggested she was something she wasn't. Replacing indifferent or none-too-pleasant associations with good ones; and even when he used it in exasperation or chiding, it was still full of love, and...

But this, their son's unconditional pride in her, her name, what he thought would be recognised by the other kid and appreciated? It stormed her last reservations towards that name and took them down. She just stood there, helplessly distracted, glad, and grateful.

She'd had, and did have, extraordinary men in her life. She knew. They did eventually show her she was still herself when called by any name.

Even by her own.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
hrymfaxe: Meta featherhrymfaxe on May 19th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
What a lovely story! What is in a name indeed?... Tonks is probably placing too much weight on that name, but having people in her life who thinks that she contains all those positive assets, would eventually help her embrace it.

I like how you have split the story up into small segments that spread over many years - little insights into their daily lifes, and how you have used them to show the changes in how she was named from Tonks to Dora to Nymphadora. :)

Thanks for sharing
pinkhairedauror on May 19th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
She really does have amazing people in her life, many of 'em, and I loved the idea of her being finally swayed into acceptance by Teddy, because... children have a way of touching people, especially their parents, that nobody else does. And it really really would have been impossible to explain HER reasons for not using the name to a kid. So he just... uses it. :)

Thank you. I love exploring the little things, because... life has it's grand moments, the times when things are changing and mountains crumble and so forth... but in the end, it's the little daily events and realisations that turn us into who we are. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans and all.

I am glad you like it!
katyscarlett76: KS76 drumskatyscarlett76 on May 19th, 2008 08:50 am (UTC)
That was lovely! Particularly the last part (I love denial fic!!), so sweet it made me well up.

I thought Tonks' explanation of why she didn't like her name was very well thought out. I like the idea that she doesn't hate her name per se just that she feels it doesn't fit her. And that Tonks is easier to call out during a fight (and other situations too I would guess ;) )

I thought that the three sections were a neat way of showing how her acceptance of her name changed over time. Each section left me wanting a little more and that's always a good thing!
pinkhairedauror on May 19th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
Awww! Thank you very much! The last part was the first thing that shaped up in my mind, conceptually, for the fic, so I am glad it is as moving/sweet as I hoped to make it!

^_^ I have been roleplaying Tonks for... almost ten months now. To be able to do that effectively, I had to learn a lot about her - come up with explanations that make sense to me AND are consistent with the character as I read her from the books. I am really happy that this explanation works satisfactorily. :)

Awww! Thank you very much; this means a lot to me, since I'm always afraid that I write too explicitly and leave too little for the reader's imagination to complete, or to want.
tegdohtegdoh on May 19th, 2008 01:09 pm (UTC)
I liked the way that you made Tonks' discomfort with her name rational and considered. It's so easy from the books to picture Tonks as a bit immature, which is hard to reconcile with her chosen profession.

I'm trying to find my own voice for Tonks-I tend to write from Remus' point of view-and it always helps to read such a great characterization of her.
pinkhairedauror on May 19th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, she's immature in spades! ... but that doesn't mean she's stupid, irrational, or incapable of thinking things through. She's just extremely impulsive. Good thing that Remus is NOT, and most of the time (when they both make the effort), they can balance each other out very well.
And yes, neither her chosen profession, nor the indications that she was good at it support the idea that she can't... reason. How often she follows through on that is a different topic ;)

Aww! *blushes* I am glad it helps!!

Thank you so very much for the time to read and comment, and the praise! ^_^
shimotsuki: writingshimotsuki on May 19th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is great -- a really fitting use of the prompt, and insightful characterization (as usual from you!). The idea that part of why Tonks has never liked 'Nymphadora' has to do with her mother's expectations seems really plausible.

I really like the middle section, too -- the discovery of a nickname coming as a bright spot in Remus's gathering gloom. (Some people don't like to see him using the same nickname her father does, but I think it's nice -- a way of showing that Remus is her family now too.)

And of course the last section is very satisfying (ah, denial fic...). I love the combination of Tonks wanting to give Teddy a little independence, while not hesitating to use the Extendable Ears! The last two paragraphs make a very strong, very effective ending; as someone who wrestles with endings, I'm feeling inspired now.
pinkhairedauror on May 19th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! Since I've been wondering lately if I am starting to lose my grasp on the character, getting feedback that I'm on with the characterisation still - matters a LOT! <3
And oy, even though Tonks always does her own thing, she is still aware of other people, and especially of their feelings - and so she'd probably feel something like that, I think. And for somebody like Andromeda, who did grow up in an aristocratic surrounding, her daughter being so sloppy... even though she DOES love her a lot, it would have been a bit of a disappointment. (which then Tonks makes into more than it is, probably, but... when she loves, she loves strongly, and she does love her mum!)

OH thank you! :) I love love love Remus using 'Dora'. Especially since it was, purposefully, that when he showed up at 12 Grimmauld, he referred to her as 'Tonks', but later when he came to Shell Cottage to bring news of Teddy, he called her Dora. It's not only HER accepting him in her family. It's a sign of HIM surrendering to the inevitable accepting that he's loved - and loves. That he's wanted close to her, and wants to be there too. At least that's my feeling off that.

Aww thank you. The last part was the first idea that cleared up in my mind, because - I've been writing Tonks for almost 10 months now, but I hadn't reached a point where she didn't get that inner resistance to her name. True, with some people she'll not argue (sometimes), but generally she insists on keeping people away from it.
But it's Teddy.
(and haha I think a lot of mothers would love the idea of Extendable Ears!!!)

Thank you - I hope the inspiration holds!
belladonna1986belladonna1986 on May 19th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
I love what you made of the prompt!

You managed to convey Tonks' issues with her name in a convincing way and the development of her approach on it was just great. I especially like that you made Tonks actually like her name, but still preferring "Tonks".

Great work!
pinkhairedauror on May 20th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC)
Hee thank you! I mean, the prompt's general idea, for me, is to try and demean the importance of a name. ... but I have a character who most emphatically tries that anyway - so why not poking at her, finding the reasons why and finding the ways around and through it?

I am glad you liked, and thanks a bunch for taking the time for feedback!
sspring92: quillsspring92 on May 20th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Just Lovely! That is the best explanation I have ever read as to why Tonks hates her name! I can really see her thinking that she is a disappointment to her mother and doesn't live up to her name! And I think Remus would hate that that's how she felt about it. I also love the use of Dora! I really don't think Tonks is intimate enough for him@
pinkhairedauror on May 20th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! I tried to make it as... reasonable as I could, because - while impulsive and changeable, she's a consistent person, and to react so strongly, I thought she must have good reasons... So, writing. Let's dig those reasons up! :D

And yes... Remus calling her Dora at Shell Cottage was the thing, for me, that said that Remus had relaxed and opened his heart. Ahhh, Remus and Dora. We luffs them so!

Thanks a bunch for reading and reviewing!
gilpin25: Remusismyfictionalboyfriendgilpin25 on May 20th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
This is a lovely read. It would have been quite easy to do the obvious with the prompt and tell us the story which the first part does - why she dislikes her first name. It seems an excellent explanation, and also very likely that Tonks would see herself as lacking the type of grace and elegance that she imagines her mother was hoping for in a daughter. (But then there's different types of grace and I rather doubt Andromeda feels let down at all.) But you've taken the story beyond that to show us how Remus comes to call her Dora and, in his quiet, thoughtful way, plays his part in getting her to gradually accept 'Nymphadora' before their son makes her realise that the name being said unconditionally and lovingly, as a source of pride, is what it's all about.

Really enjoyed this and your very thoughtful characterisation. I loved this line about Remus:

Giving tiny compliments the way only he could do and was so good at: understated, quiet, slipping past her reflex to deny anything that suggested she was something she wasn't.

pinkhairedauror on May 20th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much!
Heh. Longest as it is, the first part was the hardest to write - maybe because it is obvious. I needed a good strong idea to pull me through it and tie it properly with the prompt.
And... no. I don't think Andromeda feels let down. Dora was certainly not what she might have expected, though, that far her daughter is right. I think that Andi loves too strongly, and accepts too thoroughly - with an open mind - to let unmet expectations blind her. (Which is something I believe she passed on to her daughter.)

Thank you thank you :D I think that by the time I completed the month for rt_challenge, I had lost my good grip on the characters, so knowing that they ring true here - means a lot.

And heh. That sentence was extremely amusing for me, and I think my beta too - she plays Remus a lot against my Tonks, and Tonks makes him blush so hard with her ... open, almost extravagant - but always honest - compliments.
... and the sentence itself is a praise/compliment to Remus.

Again, thanks a bunch - for taking the time to read and comment, and for the kind words!
What's Taters, Precious?: Quill Tatermrstater on May 20th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is really, really lovely! I like the different scenes with the evolution/acceptance of Tonks' name, but I think the first scene is particularly well done. The way you've started it off with strictly dialogue really establishes the Tonks you have her describe herself to be, and I also really like how you slowly reveal where they are, what they're doing -- the style really fits for two people scoping out a situation.

It's a really perceptive take on Tonks' name to approach it from the angle of the name symbolizing all of Andromeda's expectations for her daughter, and how Tonks feels she doesn't measure up. I think that's a really in-character look at their relationship, and even more I like how Tonks is so confident in who she is while at the same time not feeling like she lives up to Andromeda.

I just love fics that give me a new insight into the characters I'd not thought about before -- and so entertaining, too! A great read!
pinkhairedauror on May 22nd, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
Thank you muchly! As I've commented above, the first part was hardest to... get a good grip on, maybe because it was the obvious reaction and I tend to avoid those when writing (heh, I love twisting the arms of prompts!)

I am glad the fic was insightful. I think Tonks is very much... 'I'm not perfect. I can't be. And I won't try to be, no matter how much you may wish me to be. ... good news is, I don't expect to be perfect either. Just yourself.' ... but the name reminds her that somebody very important expected something different of her, and she'd rather not be reminded. (Of course, Andromeda is among the people who insists on calling her Nymphadora, which also figures... I really don't want to have been among those two when they were fighting, they are so stubborn, both of them!)

Heh. Thank you again, for reading and taking the time to comment!
bookish_browniebookish_brownie on May 22nd, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
That was very nice. As others have said, I like how the evolution of their relationship goes along with Tonks' eventual acceptance of her name. I especially like the ending of the first part when it shows their professionalism, going from talking about something relatively inconsequential to working.
pinkhairedauror on May 22nd, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
I am glad you liked, and I thought that was a sensible way to end that section - which, with those two, could drag on and on till it got boring for anybody but them ;)

Thank you for reading and commenting!
s: remus lupinlove_1776 on May 22nd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, I liked it. I don't normally like Tonks, here characterization is just bluh, but this was different then most fics. It was so adorable! Who doesn't love fluff?
pinkhairedauror on May 23rd, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
From the land between Wake and Dream.: Quill - godricgalsea_thoughts on May 24th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
Awww! What a sweet AU. I love how you carry the theme of Tonks's name throughout the story, and how it's Teddy who helps her to realise that her name is a beautiful thing and she should be proud of it. Bravo!
pinkhairedauror on May 26th, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I am glad you enjoyed!
jncar: tonksjncar on May 28th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
I love the way you build to the end, and how Teddy's proud use of her name makes her reconsider her own distaste for it. It's a lovely idea. :)
pinkhairedauror on June 2nd, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I am glad you liked, and I appreciate taking the time to read and comment! :)