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Fic: The Shape of Things (Tonks) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Fic: The Shape of Things (Tonks)
Well, I'm not sure how this is going to come out, because I don't know what the story is exactly. Another first draft. I'm just getting used to writing with new canon stuff. Please excuse Tonks's old friends, who insisted on a cameo at the beginning; this takes place parallel to Into the Mists (which is going to get a workover, and btw, before you click, has spoilers), even though it starts with a little reminiscing.




Nymphadora Tonks produced her first true Patronus at the age of seventeen, in her first year of N.E.W.T. level Charms. She'd spent months with her friends, producing light bits of fog from her wand, gradually maturing into something resembling a shield, but it was nearly April before she really mastered it.

She was the first in the class to do it.

Her Patronus was met with a wild gale of laughter in the Hufflepuff common room.

"B-B-B.... Butterflies!" Maddie finally managed to spit out. Tears were streaming from her eyes, and she was waving her hands uselessly. A few white sparks came from the tip of her wand. "Tonks... chasing bad things... butterflies..."

"Oh, shut up," Tonks told her, waving her wand lightly, making the glowing butterflies dance around her. One alit on her forearm and dissipated; the swarm drew closer together. "I like them."

"Yes, but... butterflies..."

Daffy Apcarne rolled his eyes. "Well, we're still waiting with our breath held to get a peek at your killer bunny rabbit, Mads."

Maddie made kissing noises at him.

Sanjiv, perched high on a stepladder, had sketched madly before the Patronus disappeared, and the cartoon he made of her surrounded by her butterflies remained tacked to the lid of her trunk through the rest of school, and throughout her Auror training. As far as she knew, it was still there, in the cellar of her parents' home, curling with untouched years. She hadn't needed to look at it--she used the Patronus charm often in her work, and occasionally simply worked it to fill her flat with light. The charm was self-sustaining--it was generated by her happiest thoughts, and it gave them form, which in turn made her happy. A good system.

Something she never expected to change.

She hadn't needed to use a Patronus for a month. They didn't work well on the dark witches and wizards who were her most common quarry now, and Remus had generally done the communication for the little household they'd formed (with Sirius) at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. The Dementors were out there, but until tonight, there'd been no sign of them.

Now, flying, Buckbeak's powerful wings stirring the air around her, she could see their trail, marked in the cold, rising mist on the ground. It crept up the rivers and creeks, concentrated itself in cities, sometimes pooled in odd locations. She supposed these were schools and parks, places in the middle of nowhere that suddenly supported large groups of people. Places to which the Dementors would be drawn.

They're breeding.

She shivered and slid her hands further down the feathers of Buckbeak's neck. "Can you feel them?" she asked.

Buckbeak swerved higher up. She could see his wavery shape, Disillusioned against the stars, and the murky shape of her own hand distorting the air. It was cold this high, but it was a healthy sort of cold, and she'd rather deal with it all the way to Scotland than dip down into that--

...help me...!

Buckbeak slowed abruptly, drawing himself in a quick circle, and Tonks realized that she'd moved her hands already to suggest that he do so.

"Help! Somebody, please! Help!"

The voice was faint, but unmistakable. Tonks looked down. Far below, she could see feeble flashes of white light, becoming fainter with each pass.

"Damn," she whispered. "Buckbeak, down."

The hippogriff dove, and Tonks felt the streaming of the cold wind around her ears. She held on as tightly as she could without pulling Buckbeak's feathers, but when he landed hard, she was jostled off of his back, falling hard onto the ground. Above her, she saw the shape of Buckbeak's wing wavering in the sky, and she rolled out of the way. There was no time to undo the Disillusionment.

The girl was rushing at them, headlong, her wand flung over her shoulder, no longer even attempting a Patronus.

"Up, Buckbeak," Tonks called. "Circle round!"

She felt the air stir as Buckbeak cleared the field, then she was tackled to the ground the stranger running toward her. A hand felt for her as they hit the grass. "Who... are..."

"Auror," Tonks said. "I'm disillusioned."

The girl pushed away and pointed back. "Dementors," she said. "I saw them. They took my parents. They're Muggles. They didn't even know what..." Her face twisted and the finger she was pointing twisted. "THERE!"

But Tonks didn't need them pointed out. There were four of them, slipping through a copse of old trees, their breath rattling, mists rising around them in a swirling mass. She raised her wand, thought of her father singing, of the touch of Remus's lips, of every good thing she knew.

The butterflies did not come.

Instead, a vast white light burst from the tip of her wand, and a creature she'd never seen bounded away from her, sharp claws stretched out at the Dementors, long snout and pointed teeth leading the way.

For a moment, she could only blink at it.

Then it plowed into the first of the Dementors, sending it skyward (she saw the wobbly, vague shape of Buckbeak ducking away). The second was gone as quickly, and the third was in retreat. It chased the last one far into the shadows, until she could see only a flash of light between the trees, then came slinking back to her, low on its forepaws, its deadly teeth bared at her.

She dropped to her knees to look at it. "Moony?" she asked.

The Patronus leaned further forward, then dissipated.

The woman she'd helped was panting behind her. "Your Patronus... is... a werewolf?"

"Apparently." Tonks turned, reversing the Disillusionment spell with a tap of her wand as she did so.

"I'm Judith Moore."

"Tonks. I think you should--RUN!"

There was barely time to grab Judith Moore. The shapes of the Dementors arose from the grass behind her swirling up from the mists. Tonks dragged Judith up the side of a hill, scanning the skies above.

"Buckbeak! Buckbeak, here! No time for manners! Be good! Please be good!"

It was risky--hippogriffs were dangerous animals--but a moment later, she felt the rush of air under Buckbeak's wings. She pointed her wand at Judith and levitated her onto Buckbeak's back, then bowed quickly, unable to see if it was returned, straining to find her seating.

"Sorry, Buckbeak," she said. "I'll make it up to you."

"There's a town ahead," Judith said. "Drop me on a roof. That's where I was trying to get to."

"Good a plan as any," Tonks said, steering Buckbeak toward a line of glimmering lights.

The hippogriff swerved sharply, and Tonks felt herself slipping against his wings, unable to find her balance. Buckbeak tried to right her, but with two riders, he was off balance himself.

And the Dementors were gaining.

The hill was still rising below her, and she did the only thing she could think of to do. "Take her to town," she said. "Please, Buckbeak!" Then she rolled sharply sideways, throwing herself off of Buckbeak's back.

Judith Moore gave her a frightened look, then was borne high into the sky, speeding away.

Tonks hit the ground hard, jarring her wand arm and losing hold of her wand. The mist swallwoed it greedily.

"Lumos!" she yelled.

A faint light in the grass, surrounded by unhealthy fog.

And then blackness between her and it.

Monstrous freak! Avada...

I'm going to kill your father, and then I'm going to kill you...

Falling, falling. And somewhere in the darkness, another voice, falling also, backward. She was too late. She'd lost hold. She'd let him down. She...

"Expecto.... patronum..." she said, concentrating as hard as she could on her wand, beyond the Dementor. She could feel its clammy hand on her face.

The world was full of white light.

Then there was a rush of wings, and the slash of claws above her.

She faded into the mists.

When she awakened, the mist had cleared, and she was lying alone in the grass. Buckbeak was stalking around her in a guarding pattern. The Patronus was gone.

She smiled to herself, but it felt waxy and fake. She imagined telling Remus that he'd become her Patronus... or that his inner wolf had, at any rate. She hoped he would find it amusing.

She sat up, rubbing her head, then rolled over to give Buckbeak a deep bow. "Thank you," she said.

Buckbeak nodded to her graciously, and offered his wing.

"Shall we go to Hagrid?" she asked.

Buckbeak answered with a quick wave of his wing, and she mounted him again, letting him find the way himself. She was tired suddenly, cold, and all she wanted was to find out where Remus was--the real one--and curl up beside him until the effects of the Dementors went away.

With this pleasant thought in mind to re-center herself, she slipped down against the ruff of Buckbeak's feathers, and let herself drowse while he carried her away.

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Comments
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 19th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooooo, that makes Snape's snarky comment about her former Patronus being stronger even worse. Git.

As I'm sure you've noticed, I find it hard to do anything other than gush about your fics. I loved Shifts and there are parts of Of A Sort I'm rather attached to, but a lot of my favourite moments are found in your one-shots, especially the ones starring Tonks. In this case, I love the way you've taken mousy, drawn HBP Tonks and her strange new Patronus and made them so alive and made them make so much sense and I'll shut up now, but I loved this. :)
dalf From: dalf Date: July 19th, 2005 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice. In the final cut will this one fit in with the other? I can't remember how much POV changing you did in Shifts now that I think of it.

Though yoru dementors really do seem to kick some butt!
From: psalm_27 Date: July 19th, 2005 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Its a banner week: new canon and new fic from you based on it. Life is good.
artaxastra From: artaxastra Date: July 19th, 2005 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very cool!

I like this Tonks, older and more serious, but still with that inner happiness that is in itself some protection. And I like the description of the butterflies. That's just perfect, really!
valerie_valerah From: valerie_valerah Date: July 19th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent. I love how you are making the Shifts universe fit so perfectly with canon. The butterflies were a brilliant idea; they really fit with Tonks's personality.
dadaginny From: dadaginny Date: July 19th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent work. The butterflies were fantastic, and I loved seening Tonk's friends there as well. I love the shock that she showed when she realized that her patronus had changed.

kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 19th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now, see, you have to write a fic where Snape sees her patronus for the first time.
caitie From: caitie Date: July 20th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Hear, hear!

Here by way of mctabby and I enjoyed this immensely, thanks!
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