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Shades, Chapter One: The End, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter One: The End, pt. 2
Okay, picking up. Haven't got a page up to keep track yet (because I'm lazy), but if you click the "shades" tag at the bottom of the post, it will take you to part one as well as this part. In part one, Tonks, who has moved back in with her parents, is surprised to find herself a bit miffed at Sirius's will, which doesn't consider her family for Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, but she deals with it. She's more concerned about the fact that she and Remus haven't spoken about marriage since the night he proposed, and he now seems to be actively avoiding the subject. Before they have a chance to talk, Dumbledore appears, and tells them that he needs Remus for a mission to which he is uniquely suited. Tonks heads away, and when she turns back, the mist from the Dementors has swallowed them.

Moving on.




By the time she reached her parents' home, the mists had become a chilly, pervasive fog, and she was glad to trade her sodden cloak for a warm jumper and a pair of jeans. She warmed a second jumper with a Heating Charm and picked up her old cat, Granny, in it, being careful of her arthritic hips in the cold and damp. Granny gave her a grateful purr and nudged her chin.

When she got downstairs, the other three housecats--Granny's last litter of kittens, Quaffle, Bludger, and Snitch--were huddled together on the sofa, trying to keep warm. Dad was at the living room window, watching the swirling mist and absently flicking his wand to light candles. He looked over his shoulder and gave a faint shadow of a smile. "It seems we've been hit with quite a severe Stereotypical Weather Curse," he said.

"Yeah, foggy London. Who'd've thought? I wonder how long it will take the Muggles to notice anything wrong." Tonks sat down on one of the unoccupied armchairs, curling her legs under her and being careful not to jostle Granny too much.

"They have instruments to track these things. They'll notice soon enough. What is it really? Dementors?"

"Dementors," she confirmed. "They're breeding."

"That's a mental image I didn't need." Dad left the window and sat down on the couch, across from the other cats. He absently scratched Quaffle's head. "We've seen some attacks at St. Mungo's. The Closed Ward is becoming crowded. Your mum got a nasty group in just before the end of her shift."

"We're trying to keep up."

"I know, Dora."

They talked for an hour as the night deepened, Mum joining them when she finally made it home. After Mum and Dad went to bed, she found herself wandering the house, stopping at windows, Dumbledore's last words echoing in her mind more and more loudly as the night grew more silent.

She hadn't thought much of it at first, assuming that Remus would come by, tell her about it, work out anything that needed to be done. But minutes and hours went by, and there was no word. She was nearly asleep when she saw an owl making a weary, zig-zagging path toward the door.

Suddenly wide awake, Tonks opened the door. The owl flew in, crashing onto the floor with resignation, his wings still flapping weakly. From the armchair, Granny gave him a sympathetic mew.

Tonks managed to find the small bit of parchment, and sighed with relief, recognizing Remus's small, spidery handwriting. She untied it and carried the ancient owl to the kitchen to have food and water before sending it back.

She unrolled the scroll and did a quick decoding spell.

Dora, he had written, Dumbledore has received rather disturbing news regarding the reappearance of an old acquaintance of mine, and wishes me to go undercover to investigate. Time is of the essence if I'm to arrange an accidental crossing of paths, so I can't write at length, or speak to you before I leave. I won't be able to send or receive messages with any regularity, but Molly and Arthur, whose owl this is, have quite generously agreed to be my contact point during this assignment. If you need to reach me, I will visit them on Saturdays (depending on the obvious timing issues).

There was a wide blank space here, and when the writing picked up again, it was a slightly different shade of ink, and the letters were even smaller, and more quickly formed. She imagined him writing his cool-headed bit of information, reading it over, then, at the last minute, grabbing another quill and ink bottle to add his coda while no one was watching.

I'm very sorry to disappear like this, Dora. I miss you already, and love you always.

Remus


She sat at the table, suddenly very cold. Nervous pinwheels of energy spun around in her stomach, and the note was shaking in her hand.

"Bad news?"

She looked up. Mum was standing in the door to the kitchen in her dressing gown, her light brown hair a muzzy halo around her face.

Tonks tried to speak, found no particular word, and finally just shook her head. "Remus," she said.

"What's happened?"

"Dumbledore's sent him off somewhere."

"I suppose I'm not cleared to know where."

"Apparently, I'm not either."

Mum frowned and sat down, Summoning the teapot and two mugs. The sugarbowl and creamer floated along and began sweetening and lightening. "Do you need to talk?"

"No. I'm sure... there's a good reason. He'll tell me. I can see him at the Weasleys' this evening, I think. I'm just worried, is all."

"Understandable." Mum gave her a suspicious look. "Dora, Dad and I were talking. You haven't mentioned anything about--"

"Can we not talk about that?"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

Mum nodded dubiously and picked up her teacup. She gestured at Tonks. "I don't think I've seen your hair that color since you were four. What's the occasion?"

"What do you mean?"

"The natural look?"

"Accio mirror," Tonks said, and a small mirror flew over from the counter. Her hair was the same light brown as Mum's. She looked up. "No offense, Mum, but I didn't make it this way."

Mum smiled. "No, I believe Dad and I made it that way."

"But my hair is black when it's not morphed. Like Sirius and Aunt Bellatrix and Auntie and..."

"Like your Dad," Mum corrected. "Totally different side of the family. You decided it was black when you were little, and I never could talk you out of it."

"Would you be terribly offended if I changed it back?"

"I'll live."

Tonks concentrated, looking into the mirror, and after what seemed like a very long time, bright color rushed up from the roots of her hair. The pink didn't feel quite right at the moment, but her head hurt from the effort, so she decided to leave it alone. "Odd," she said. The pinwheels in her stomach spun faster, sending out little sparks. She shook her head; there were more important things in the world to worry about than the color of her hair.

Which had faded back to brown by the time she got to work.

Kingsley and Mad-Eye commented on it. She lied to them.

By the time her shift was over--all deskwork, Scrimgeour's notion of punishment for aiding a perfectly innocent fugitive--her heart was beating too quickly, and sounds seemed to be echoing. She took several deep breaths before Apparating to the Burrow.

It wasn't a place she'd been before, though Molly had given her the coordinates long ago, but she would have recognized it in an instant--everything about screamed "Weasley," except for the redheaded girl running out of the house screaming, "Tonks! I'm so glad you're here!"

She found a smile and painted it on. "Wotcher, Ginny."

Ginny Weasley examined her. "I like the brown. It's different."

"I aim to please. Is Remus here?"

"Professor Lupin?" Ginny looked puzzled. "No. Why?"

"I had heard... Er..."

"He's due in later," Molly said, coming up behind Ginny. "Go on inside, Ginny."

"But--"

"Ginny."

"Yes, Mum." She disappeared into the house.

Molly sighed and put her arm over Tonks's shoulders. "I'd prefer the children not know... everything."

"I don't know anything," Tonks said. "He couldn't tell me anything in the note. I'm worried sick."

"Come inside, dear. Have some tea while we wait."




Yes, I'm leaving it off before Remus gets there, which is of course the main point of this rambling monstrosity of a sequence, but it's getting late.
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Comments
simibee From: simibee Date: August 3rd, 2005 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay for updates!

No wonder Tonks hair has turned brown. I'm so sad for her. It's going to be a tough year. I like how you corrected the natural hair color question... Tonks didn't even know she was doing it. Though i must confess i like the idea of her having natural black hair much more than natural mousy brown. I don't know why. Maybe just because I like Shifts so much.

Can't wait to read her discussion with Remus!!
galaxianomiko From: galaxianomiko Date: August 3rd, 2005 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I love this fic. It's great to see Tonks written so likeable and sympathetic. :) I'm terribly worried about what Remus will say, though.
dalf From: dalf Date: August 3rd, 2005 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Mum smiled. "No, I believe Dad and I made it that way."

ahhh so perfect. The slightly humorus undercurrent of an otherwise serious situation. The kind of seriousness that you don't have to explicitly describe so a halfway serious joke will do. Mixed right in there with a slight trick to bring Shifts back into cannon. Very devious. Very sly. Very FUN! *grin*

Wow! Infact I have no complaints, quibbles, nitpicks, unsetteled feelings, or anthing else to complaien about. That is ofcorse saying somethign as I have a tendency to be very opnionated and seem to take (unhealthy) joy in finding minor flaws with fanfiction (im working on that anyway).

So happy we get to see TOnk's family more. I like what you did with them in SHifts and woudl be sad to see less of them here. Poor Tonks! (At elast I like brown hair ... heheheeh .... "you decided it was black when you were little and I coudl never talk you out of it" LOL!)
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: August 3rd, 2005 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Tonks. :( And poor Remus too. I find myself already clinging to page 582 (Uk Ed.) and whispering to myself "It'll be all right, it'll be all right, it'll be all right" because I'm just so fond of them both and your version of their relationship. Goodness knows what kind of a state I'll be in after a couple of chapters! ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 3rd, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, I'll get some lighter stuff in once she moves to Hogsmeade, so it won't be all angst... but yes, while he's busy being a dope, I have to keep reminding myself that they love each other and do make it in the end.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 3rd, 2005 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Tonks... I can only imagine how she must feel.
From: psalm_27 Date: August 3rd, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
"That's a mental image I didn't need."

I bet we couldn't find one person who didn't think this when reading HBP, thanks for voicing it for all of us!

Again, you capture the tone of the story perfectly. I'm trying not to gush through every review I leave you, so this may be short. I loved this description of Remus:

There was a wide blank space here, and when the writing picked up again, it was a slightly different shade of ink, and the letters were even smaller, and more quickly formed. She imagined him writing his cool-headed bit of information, reading it over, then, at the last minute, grabbing another quill and ink bottle to add his coda while no one was watching.


My favorite line:


"No offense, Mum, but I didn't make it this way."

Mum smiled. "No, I believe Dad and I made it that way."


While very witty, it also was a reminder that even though Tonks is an adult, she's still Andromeda's daughter. I think it was one of those moments that Tonks needed some mothering, though she might not have realized it.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 3rd, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
She does, but I don't think she'll admit it. Molly's better at forcing mothering on an unwilling subject.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: August 3rd, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
The bit with Tonks and her mother is very touching.

Kingsley at deskwork? Are you going to tell us as an aside--perhaps as a story at the Weasley dinner table at some point?--how Kingsley came by the job as the Muggle PM's assistant?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 3rd, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I'll probably cover that when he gets the assignment. Much angst potential for Tonks in taking down all the pictures of Sirius, after all. ;)
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: August 3rd, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
The scene with Tonks and Andromeda was very moving. I want to hug this Tonks already. I hope Molly does. And how will Tonks respond when Ginny begs for her favorite face tricks? Or will Molly warn her off in advance?
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: August 3rd, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely love this -- it just feels like a natural extension of Shifts (and the way you got out of the natural-hair-color thing was well done!).
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: August 3rd, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not much to say, except that I loved this part. :)

Also, I adored the description of Remus' handwriting as "spidery" ... It fits with how I always pictured it, but I couldn't quite find the right word before.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 3rd, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved this part. Nice, unobtrusive and story-advancing way to slide out of the hair-color difficulty. I must join the masses in loving Andromeda's line: "No, I believe Dad and I made it that way." (The whole color-choice thing added a note of strength to Tonk's character, too; she's stubborn enough to have made identity choices at 4 years of age, and to stick to them, in spite of her fluid nature.)

She shook her head; there were more important things in the world to worry about than the color of her hair.

Which had faded back to brown by the time she got to work.

Kingsley and Mad-Eye commented on it. She lied to them.


I thought that moment was excellent, particularly the last sentence. Quickly, simply putting forward this minor problem and Tonk's reaction to it.

More, please. :-)
katinka31 From: katinka31 Date: August 6th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remus' note is so ominous. Wah!!!
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