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Shades, Chapter Two: Shapeshifting, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Two: Shapeshifting, pt. 3
Okay. I'm going to knock this thing down.

Tonks is having some trouble morphing and worried about Remus. When she goes to work, she learns that Amelia Bones has been murdered and Kingsley Shacklebolt has been reassigned. Despite the fact that her coworker, Dawlish, doesn't want her help, she patiently gives it, wanting to work more than she wants to talk to anyone about her suddenly brown hair.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

On Sunday night, Tonks helped Remus pack up his few belongings, sending them to the Shrieking Shack. They argued about his refusal to carry his wand, and parted without reconciling.

On Monday, Tonks had the day off, and slept until two in the afternoon, when she was awakened by the doorbell and a contrite Remus, who still refused to take his wand back.

On Tuesday morning, Cornelius Fudge was officially sacked as Minister of Magic, and Rufus Scrimgeour was selected as his replacement.

Shortly after lunch, Scrimgeour named Gawain Robards as his successor as head of the Auror Division.

At tea time, Tonks meant to meet Remus to discuss safety precautions on his mission, but discovered that he'd already gone.

At seven-thirty, Dad arrived home from work and told her that Remus had left a note. The note simply told her that he'd had to leave abruptly, and was sorry, and would be at the Burrow for Harry Potter's birthday on the thirty-first of July.

At nine, Mum arrived home to find Tonks crying at the kitchen sink, and flew into a rage at Remus, which wasn't particularly helpful. Dad calmed her down.

At nine-forty-five, Emmeline Vance was found dead, the Dark Mark hovering over her body and the withered phoenix feather that had resided in her broken wand lying across her eyes.

The night shift had already been occupied--Tonks would find out later that a tribe of giants had attacked in the West Country--and she'd been hastily sent to the scene by a harried assistant.

To her surprise, Kingsley was already on the scene when she got there, wearing a Muggle suit and carrying a very new briefcase. He had Vanished the Dark Mark and pocketed the phoenix feather, Obliviating the three Muggles who had seen these things, but there were too many people out and about near the Westminster tube station to hide the murder entirely.

The Muggle police had arrived almost immediately, and the flashing lights on their cars painted the world in a harsh, fluctuating storm of color, lighting first Emmeline's high cheekbones, then her sprawled legs, then her dark hair. The white blouse she'd been wearing was scarlet with her blood. Her eyes were open wide, unresponsive, and her mouth was drawn back in a scream. The Muggles were putting up blue checkered tape around her and snapping photographs. Some of the photographers appeared to be with the police, but others, busily elbowing one another out of the way, seemed to be in trade.

"Reporters," Kingsley hissed. "They're going to splash her over every tabloid in Britain by morning. Vultures. They'd kill for a picture and then fight for a clear shot of the corpse."

Tonks pointed her wand at them, disguising it under the wide butterfly sleeves of the blouse she'd pulled on, and a moment later, several of the cameras clattered to the ground. A great deal of noise arose as they accused one another of deliberate sabotage. Kingsley arched his eyebrow at her, and she shrugged.

She drew a battered billfold from her purse and tapped her Auror identification once, Transfiguring it into a Muggle document that identified her as an investigator in an obscure branch of the London police department. To her surprise, Kingsley didn't follow suit, and when she lifted the tape to reach the body, she did so alone.

"You can't be here, Miss," a young policeman said. "Crime scene."

She showed him her identity quickly. "Detective Inspector Dora Tonks," she said. "I was nearby, so they sent me over."

"Oh, right. Sorry then, Miss. Er, Inspector. I'm Constable Frank Neely." He stepped aside and squatted beside her as she bent to look at the body. "I can't tell what they killed her with. No purse, though. Must have been a robbery."

"Or a woman who doesn't habitually carry a handbag."

Neely flushed. "Right, of course. She was carrying that, though," he said, pointing at an envelope that was protruding from under Emmeline Vance's hip. "Should I retrieve it?"

"Of course you should."

Neely made a great show of putting on gloves and picking up a clear plastic bag. He plucked the envelope out quickly and dropped it into the bag, then handed the bag to Tonks.

It was nothing but a rude note from the library, but it had Emmeline's name on it. Apparently, she had been late in returning several books. Tonks wondered if she'd had a chance to read them, and suddenly wanted to be back in the kitchen, crying. She took a deep breath instead. "Emmeline Vance," she said. She was a member of the original Order, and a school friend of my parents. She was Muggle-born. She had an emerald green shawl, and she thought it made her look very dignified. She was right. "We should get these people away from her."

The next twenty minutes were a blur of action as the Muggle police cleared the crowd and brought in experts to move the body. Gawain Robards arrived at the morgue with a story from the Muggle-Worthy Excuse department, giving a reason for the body to be inspected in the fictitious department they both allegedly worked for, and Tonks helped him get Emmeline to the St. Mungo's morgue. Mehadi Patil declared her dead. There was no reason to investigate--the Death Eater who'd attacked her had used a brutal cutting spell, and even the Muggles would have been able to tell that she'd bled to death.

Tonks went back to the scene with Robards when they'd finished. The Muggle police had left, with only the tape to mark it. A few curious Muggles passed by, but Robards quickly cast a distraction spell to keep them out.

Robards crouched beside a splash of blood beside a rubbish bin and ran his wand over it, muttering a detection spell. "Nothing," he said.

Tonks was hunched over the main blood spill, which was seeping into the cracked pavement. Her detection spells didn't pick anything up, either. The spells had once been useful, but most Dark Wizards were aware of them now, and only left traceable clues if they meant them as a warning. "Nor here," she said, and put her wand away. She turned over some loose papers and examined the wall Emmeline had fallen against. Spots of blood were fanned across it, and a handprint was vaguely visible against the bricks. "Whatever the spell was must have hit her hard. She was thrown into the wall before she fell."

"We saw some Cutting Curses last time," Robards said quietly. "I'd thought they were Dolohov's specialty, but we have him pretty securely in Azkaban, and there's been no sign of a break. Last year, when you were... not entirely working for us..."

"I was entirely an Auror..."

Robards cut her off with his hand. "I don't mean to impugn your dedication. I only mean to ask if you learned anything that would be useful to us in this. You and Shacklebolt have a year on the rest of us."

"I... I'm sorry, I thought..."

"I know what you thought. And you are on quite thin ice with me, Tonks. For all your dedication, you did lie, you did hide things, and you did hide a fugitive, however innocent he may have actually been. But there's no time for that now. Let Dawlish fume. I'm more interested in knowing what you know. We're at war."

Robards looked tired, and Tonks guessed that this mood wouldn't last long--he'd been hand-picked by Scrimgeour, and didn't have any special reputation for being open-minded--but she answered as well as she could, because he was right: they were at war, and the Auror division was as much on the front lines as the Order of the Phoenix. Unfortunately, what she knew didn't amount to much. Bellatrix specialized in the Cruciatus Curse, but there were so many sorts of Cutting Curses, and with most of the known Death Eaters--the ones she'd been able to research thoroughly--in Azkaban, she was flailing in the dark in too many cases. She mentioned that she was suspicious of Narcissa Malfoy, but that Narcissa tended toward more subtle attacks. Bellatrix was a good candidate, but there was nothing that really suggested her. Before Dolohov's first attack, he'd been quite chummy with a wizard in the West Midlands, of whom the Order continued to be suspicious; he was also a potential caster of cutting spells. The one thing she didn't share was the fact that they had a Death Eater on the inside. Compromising Snape's cover was out of the question. She'd have to get a message to him, to see if he knew anything, but in the meantime, she'd work with what she did know.

Robards listened to her carefully, then nodded. "It's a start." He sighed. "I have heard rumors of werewolf recruitment," he said.

Tonks's heart jumped into her throat. "In case you haven't noticed, the moon's not much more than a sliver at the moment."

"I know your... friend... is a werewolf, but he isn't the only one out there, and they are quite capable of attacking in human form. This sort of thing, the blood..." He shook his head. "I suppose there's nothing leading there. But I must ask you to keep your mind open on the subject. In fact, I must require you to do so. Will you be able to?"


He gave her a mistrustful look, then returned to his investigation, turning over a loose bit of paper to reveal a large sliver of Emmeline's wand, close to where her hand had been as she'd collapsed, crawling away from the wall with the Dark Mark lighting the sky above her.

"What's this?" Robards said.


Tonks crossed the small alley and looked over Robards' shoulder. He was holding the shard of Emmeline's wand, which was soaked with blood, and had uncrumpled the piece of paper.

In a shaky hand, Emmeline had managed to scratch the letters T and R. A diagonal line had begun next, but faded away as her blood had flowed from her. "A?" Tonks suggested. "T-R-A?"

"Initials? The beginning of a name?"

"It doesn't sound familiar. Could be a Travis, or a Traynor, or..." She stopped.


"Traitor," she said.

"Wonderful," Robards said. "May I say I truly hope there is a Death Eater called Travis?"

"Be my guest."

"Don't spread this around. There's enough stress at the Ministry without people accusing everyone they see of treason. I'll investigate it myself."

"And if you're--"

"And you may investigate it independently."

Tonks nodded.

They finished their examination of the scene in silence, then went home in different directions.

Hey--I wasn't going to write Robards as a good Auror, more as a political lackey, but look, he woke up. I like when that happens. Now, watch JK start book 7 with, "Robards was a horrible Auror." ;)
32 comments or Leave a comment
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: August 16th, 2005 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Lucky I checked my f-list before I turned off the computer, or I'd have to wait until tomorrow morning to read this! :)

It was wonderful, as usual. I haven't got anything useful to say, but you've really managed to perfectly capture the way I believe Tonks was feeling during HBP. She manages to be upset over Emmeline's death, but still be a responsible Auror; most other fan fics would probably have her breaking down in tears and sobbing for hours right on the spot.

Now, watch JK start book 7 with, "Robards was a horrible Auror."

harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 16th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ditto to all of that. I'm moving in the morning and I don't know how soon I'll get my computer set up, so this is a nice treat before I go into withdrawal. I'm very excited you're writing Shades.
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: August 16th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)
What fun, we now have a mystery to guess at while we wait for more story. Tom Riddle's initials? And I think it's more interesting if the ministry is not uniformly filled by lackeys and incompetents, so good for Robards.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
All we really know about Scrimgeour himself is that he wants Harry to be a Ministry spokesman and that last year, he had some questions for Kingsley and Tonks... neither suggests that he's not a good Auror, or that he'd leave someone who wasn't in charge. If it's as difficult to become an Auror as McGonagall says, then I guess Kingsley and Tonks couldn't be the only bright people in that office.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I was glad, too.
kinderjedi From: kinderjedi Date: August 16th, 2005 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh... Sectumsempra? Plus the word (possibly) "traitor"? Eenteresting.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't notice and would have to check, but does Sectumsempra tear the clothes? If the clothes weren't torn, the Muggle police would be a bit curious, neh? ;) But I was definitely thinking of Snape-ish curses.
kismeteve From: kismeteve Date: August 16th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)
The first section was great. The list format can be a bit cloying, but it worked really well. I could see each 'scene' in my mind. I loved the police procedural feel of this. A lot. It feels very grounded and real, especialy in how Tonks has to navigate the bureaucracy. Very nice.

[Hah, now I have a DI Tonks works with Jane Tennison thing runnning around in my head. :D]
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm missing the last reference entirely, but thanks! The very brief mention of things that happened before the murder was me being totally desperate--this section was just awful to get going--so I'm especially glad it worked.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: August 16th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting - I hadn't thought too much about what the Ministry attitude towards Tonks and Kingsley and their Order activities would be, but this sounds about right - not at all happy about it, but having to accept it under the circumstances.

"TRA..." - wasn't there a DE called Travers somewhere?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)
"TRA..." - wasn't there a DE called Travers somewhere?

Yes! I forgot about him, but he killed Marlene McKinnon, according the Lexicon. If he's still at large, there's a good misleading thought for the Aurors... Hmmm.

Yeah, I think wouldn't be able to punish Kingsley and Tonks, who were, after all, right. But I'm willing to bet they were made to feel it.
dalf From: dalf Date: August 16th, 2005 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the look into the intersection of Auror duties and Muggle police. Though I ahve all sorts of questions. Is the badge identifying her as a inspector from some obscure department chamred to detur questions? Or does she have to be a decent liar? I guess they all seem to be from the same department, I suspect Kingsly does not have such a card anymore due to his reassignment. Nice touch having him there as HBP mentions that the murder happened close to the PM's offices.

I also like Robards. He strikes me as an ok guy, up frount about her "being on thin ice" and yet totally pratical and honest about them "having a year head start" and such. I think that is the approprate additude all the way around for someone in his position. Though I do wonder about how Tonks (one of the more junior Aurors) and He (the head) ended up there at the scene alone. Also him showing up with the Muggle-worth excuse alone seems a bit off too, I had a mental image of him or someone showing up with someone who was obviously not an Auror and a bit stuffy. I'm not complaining though it just felt a little compressed, and now that I have typed that I am thinking maybe the compressed feeling is intentional? At least in the opening where you do the rapid timeline, which makes you sort of feel the same shock as Dora (gah you have me typing Dora now!)

Oh and: "And you may investigate it independently."

He is sharp and good and trustworthy! I like him!

Ok the quibbles:
"Tribe of Giants" -- while in no way conclusive Fudge says "We've got the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures running around Somerset, but we can't find the giant-- it's been a disaster" on page 13 of HBP. Whatever the actual details and scope of the destruction it does not look like the minestry thinks there were lots of giants involved. Likely lots of DEs and one or two Giants. My impression from OotP was that the giants did not really function as a group that much except as necessarry, and then they mostly just killed eachother.

Question: Is the police tape in the UK really "blue checkered"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 16th, 2005 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
More than the single or multiple giants, I think I have a problem in that two days later, they still only "suspect giant involvement"! Glad to have checked that, and I'll fix it.

Anyway, the fact that the other Aurors are occupied is why Robards comes down personally--along with him being very new as head of the office and probably still thinking of himself as a hands-on guy more than an office guy--and if they're calling in off-duty Tonks to show up, they're a little short. So Robards comes in, works with sometone Muggle-Worthy Excuses who's probably at home in a housecoat when he calls, then brings the excuse to the scene and keeps working it since he's there. Maybe he even wants a chance to see if she's trustworthy and takes advantage of a chance.

I just figured Kingsley couldn't blow his cover, as he's right in the nighborhood he works in.

And yeah, blue-checkered tape. I had to look that up in in Shifts when Edward killed himself.
(Deleted comment)
myf From: myf Date: August 16th, 2005 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, and ficlove too, of course, Fern. Very much enjoying how this is going, and this instalment doesn't read as if it were horrid to start.
super_pan From: super_pan Date: August 16th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
The pummeling for Tonks keeps coming. I can see her head spinning after each blow. I agree with what Dalf says, that it feels compressed, but it does seem intentional because it gives the impression of relentless pressure, stress, and heartache. Anyway, my particular favorite passage was Tonks's private eulogy in her head for Emmeline Vance. It gave Emmeline and her murder more weight and poignance. Good chapter
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: August 16th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Tonks. :(

And T-R-A for traitor and cutting curses? Did Emmeline perhaps find out something alarming about Severus Snape?
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: August 17th, 2005 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah someone beat me to it. Emmeline knows about Snape, doesn't she? And Scetemsepmara!!!!!!! It's a cutting curse!!!! I got it!
From: isabela113 Date: August 17th, 2005 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
While I don't think that Robards is going to be a bosom friend of the Order, I do get a generally good feeling about him. It is the "Gawain", it makes me think noble, but with human failings.

I'm going to have to go back to canon because I can't remember- do we know that Snape has a hand in Emmeline Vance's death (besides betraying her?) If not, I certainly think that the speculation is interesting. Traitor, indeed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
He says his information was instrumental in the "capture" and murder of Vance. I don't think she saw him, and I suspect it was someone else using his spells that did it, but something slipped. (I also found a logic error in my narrative here, in that someone put the feather over her eyes after she died, which couldn't have happened if she crawled over to write T-R-A while she was dying. I think I'll actually address this problem later and have Tonks figure out that something's off.)
moonlinnet From: moonlinnet Date: August 17th, 2005 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey--I wasn't going to write Robards as a good Auror, more as a political lackey, but look, he woke up. I like when that happens. Now, watch JK start book 7 with, "Robards was a horrible Auror." ;)


Lovely chapter. =) Well, I mean, it actually wasn't because it had lots of deaths and sad stuff, but you know what I mean. ;)
From: _kneebiter Date: August 18th, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every time I think I've gotten out, you suck me back in... :)

One technical note: He had Vanished the Dark Mark and pocketed the phoenix feather, Obliviating the three Muggles who had seen these things
I think the Dark Mark is high enough that it would be easily visible to a fair-sized chunk of the neighborhood. If it can only be seen by wizards, that would make sense too, but I have a hard time picturing all memory of a Dark Mark getting erased...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right. I was assuming there was dark mark kind of hovering over the body because of the line that it's sent up when they kill, but then realized that she was killed in a busy Muggle neighborhood, so...

I'll figure it out in perma-re-write.
32 comments or Leave a comment