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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!