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Shades, Chapter Two: Shapeshifting, pt. 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Two: Shapeshifting, pt. 4
Mmm. Tired. Good thing Tonks is tired, too. But I've got a family thing this weekend (I get to meet two new babies, yay!), so I definitely wanted to get this up tonight, before I start rushing around, since I don't know if I'll be able to get online much over the next couple of days.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




It didn't take long to arrange for Emmeline's funeral. Most of the Order of the Phoenix that wasn't undercover came, but summoning them had been a simple matter. Dumbledore had arrived late, with one arm heavily bandaged, and had looked for a long time at Emmeline's body before taking his seat beside Tonks's parents, who had sought him out. Tonks herself sat beside Moody, who insisted for some mad reason of his own that she take the outermost seat in a row, off near the cloak room. Hestia Jones had given the eulogy. It was all very short. Too short.

Emmeline had never married and had no family in the wizarding world, her friends outside the Order could be counted on one hand, and she'd been estranged from her Muggle family for years. There had never been any argument; it had apparently just been a kind of drifting, a thought that frightened Tonks in a deep and painful way.

"It happens," Dad said heavily, looking down at the body after the service. "It was just Mum and me when I was growing up, so I'd no one to lose. But the others? Cousins and great-aunts and even grandparents, sometimes who couldn't be told anything? Old family friends offended because they were never invited to things? It happened a lot. Hurt feelings and drifting apart. We enter a new world, Dora. And it means leaving the old one behind, even if we don't mean to. That's why we always stuck together at school. Or at least we used to." He touched Emmeline's cold hand, and squeezed her fingers. "Stand down, Emmy," he said quietly to her. "We've got it now."

"Are you all right, Ted?" Mum asked, coming up on his other side.

"I'm going to talk to Dumbledore, Andromeda. I have to do something."

Mum closed her eyes and leaned against his arm. She muttered, "Don't," but then nodded. "I do as well. We both know that."

"Not what you were talking about before."

"I don't much like what you were suggesting, either."

Dad didn't answer.

Tonks looked between them, trying to understand what they were talking about; they'd always had a secret language, but she thought she'd learned to understand it long ago. This time, though, it was incomprehensible. Mum looked drained, and Dad...

When Tonks thought of her father, it was always with laughter and music, but now, he was grim and determined. He looked like pictures of his own father, in uniform for the second World War. Mum looked like someone was practicing Entrail Expelling curses on her.

Tonks hugged them both, then made her way over to Mad-Eye, who was talking to Kingsley beside the table where the tea set was sitting. Each of them had a cup.

"Wotcher," she said.

Kingsley nodded to her. "I was telling Mad-Eye how it happened," he said, expanding the Distraction Charm he was using to include her in their private conversation. "You did well for her, you know."

"Not well enough. Did you know that no one had seen her for a day before we found her?"

"No."

"Well, no one had. She never got to work, she never got home. They had her, Kingsley. They caught her before they killed her. Where is Snape? I want to know who did this."

"He wouldn't know. I'm sure he'd have found some way to get her out of it if he know. He's sharp enough," Moody growled, a grimace on his face. "Anyway, he's not here. Can't very well be seen with us in public, can he?" He glanced over at the cloak room with his magical eye, then significantly back at Tonks. "He's not the only one who can't be seen, of course."

Tonks's heart rushed for a moment as she realized what he meant, but then she saw poor Emmeline on the bier at the front of the room. She nodded. "Right," she said. "I, er... think I left something with my cloak."

Kingsley and Mad-Eye patted her shoulders a few times, then sent her off. She went into the shadowy little alcove slowly, feeling for the Invisibility Cloak, but she didn't brush against it. Still, she thought she could hear breathing, and she could definitely feel the warmth of another body in the room with her. She busied herself shifting the cloaks around, pretending to search for something, and cast a Distracting Charm of her own to keep people from listening in. "Mad-Eye saw you," she said quietly.

"It's Mad-Eye's Cloak. He lent it to me. I wanted to say goodbye to Emmeline." He paused. "And to see you. I feel ashamed to use a funeral for it, but I..." A shaky sigh came out of the nothing behind her.

"Let me in, Remus," she said. "Let me under the cloak."

"It won't cover both of us."

"It will if we're close."

She wasn't sure what he would do, but after a moment, she felt him pass by her, slip into the deeper shadows on the other side of the alcove. The the air shimmered, and an opening appeared. She slipped into it quickly, and his arms closed around her. It was stiflingly hot, and she could see only his chest, and that only dimly in the dark. She wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled herself as close as she could get.

He took a deep breath. She could feel his heart slowing, his muscles relaxing. "I feel like it's been a year," he said.

"It's been a lifetime."

"You were on the scene?"

"Yes."

"I'm so sorry. I should have been there for you."

"You have work to do."

"I should have been there. God, you deserve better than me."

"Don't say that. I'm so tired. I don't want to argue, so please don't make me."

"You should get some rest."

"I know. Later." She just let him hold her for a moment. "How are you doing, Remus? Really? How are things with the, er... pack?"

"It's not really a pack. They help each other out, but they're mostly alone. I studied wolf packs before I went and--"

Tonks was surprised to hear herself laugh.

"What?"

"You studied how to be a better wolf?"

"Well, I thought I should know--"

She kissed his chest. "That's the most Remus-like thing I've ever heard you say. I love you very much."

He laughed softly. "You have very strange taste in men."

"Lucky for you."

"Very lucky for me. Not particularly lucky for you, though." He stroked the back of her neck with his strong fingers. "My Dora. How can I walk away from you?"

She went as cold as if a Dementor had entered the cloakroom. "What do you mean?"

He didn't answer. After a long time, he just said, "I have to go back. I'm expected."

An unexpectedly cold blast of air hit Tonks's back as he opened the Cloak, and she stepped back into the alcove quickly. For a moment, he let the cloak remain open, and she saw him--gaunt, scratched from head to toe, a great gash visible just above the neckline of his robes.

Then he let the Cloak close, and he was gone. He might have said goodbye, and she might have said goodbye, but he was gone, and when she reached for the spot he had been in, it was empty.

She went home with her parents, who were having a distracted argument about whatever they'd discussed with Dumbledore, and dinner before work was a tense affair. Neither of them seemed the least bit willing to tell her what the substance of the disagreement was.

When she got to work, the offices were mostly empty, the night shift teams already deployed, with the exception of her own. She checked the schedule.

Dawlish. Wonderful.

He'd left a note beside the assignment, saying he'd gotten in early and had decided to get a bit to eat while he waited for her. She swiped it off the wall and crumpled it. A flash of movement above her caught her eye.

Glancing up, she saw another of the true image mirrors that had been installed. A mousy, brown-haired woman with sunken eyes and prominent cheek bones looked back down at her, blinking sleepily.

Who are you? she thought wearily. Who are you, and where is Nymphadora Tonks?

The woman in the mirror offered no particular answers. She just stayed there, unchanging and unsmiling.

After awhile, Tonks looked away.
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Comments
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(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know. It hurts to have Moody be so non-vigilant!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 19th, 2005 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
It's shivery and fabulous and sucking me in already, and it's only the second chapter... well done, you! Have a good time at your family thing. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! And I plan to. :)
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: August 19th, 2005 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
The bit about reading up on wolves made me laugh, too. But what a note to leave her on.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
The truth is, I'd been reading up on wolves myself, and was going to give Remus all this knowledge, and then I realized he'd have probably gone about acquiring it the same way, which amused me, so I threw it in. :p
dalf From: dalf Date: August 19th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow! First off I want to say that in truth most of our little AU debate was theoritical for me. FOr th most part I agree with yoru taste in fanfiction if not for the same reasons. This is relavent here because I was just now half way thought a on-off T/R fic set after HBP and it was not bad but it was not Sifts! Its strange Shifts fit so well with Cannon that it has taken a place in my head next to cannon. This is actually very very bad. It means that almost every R/T fic I read I am not going to like unless it fits with Shifts :-/ ... in my frustration with the fic I was reading not being this I stoped and looked at live journal. Needless to say I read here instead.

So, on to the story. I am tired so I might have more to say tomorrow but the only thign that jumped out at me is Snape. How did Kingslys thinking work when he said Snape could not be seen with them in public? There are a lot of ways this could go but in my mind I had imagined the brilliance of Snapes position being its transparency. The reason he is such a good spy and liar the reason its such a conadrum is that he was telling the truth to just about everyone. Voldemort thinks that Snape is spying for him, Dumbledore thinks that Snape is spying for him, and they BOTH know that the other thinks this is the case.

So, I am wondering what Kingsly thought Snape would be revealing and to who if he had shown up?

Cannon is pretty vauge on this, but I ask because your statment is less vauge than Cannon. It implies that Kingsly does not know (and therefor possibly not Dumbledore) that Snape would be in no danger from Voldemort by appearing to be chummy with the Order.

It was one of the strokes of brilliance in HBP that there was no need to "treat Snape with suspciion" as to not blow his cover spying on the DE's that we saw so much in fanfiction. But it is pretty clear from chapter two of HBP that Voldemort knows that Snape is "the orders spy".
dalf From: dalf Date: August 19th, 2005 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh and I forgot. That line! So perfect! So Remus! Tonks was 100% correct:

"That's the most Remus-like thing I've ever heard you say."

It was!
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: August 19th, 2005 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Tonks.

And it's funny you should update, I had a Shifts dream last night... I was trying to contact the Levinson's, but somehow kept looking for Remus and Tonks's nicknames.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha. :)

Thanks... and that was my feeling through a lot of HBP, Tonks-wise. Poor girl.
super_pan From: super_pan Date: August 19th, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure they have, but I hope all your readers have read Your Very Own Dora, because the backstory gives scenes such as this even more heartache. When Remus called her "my Dora", and asked how could he walk away, I just felt so bad for them both. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Ted and Andromeda are up to right now. I like them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not entirely sure what they're up to, but I think I'd rather see Ted get his way than Andromeda get hers.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: August 19th, 2005 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
This update is sad on so many levels - because of Emmeline's death, of course, but also because of the drifting that separated her from her Muggle ties. And I can really feel the love between Tonks and Remus, but you're setting up their miserable year beautifully.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad the love is coming out, because they're going to spend so much time separate, that really needs to get set up.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Er, yeah. Thanks. I'll get that.

Glad you liked it.
humantales From: humantales Date: August 19th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I've been bad about reviewing this story. I enjoyed Shifts, which I didn't find until after you'd finished it and were fixing it up, and now I'm enjoying this one.

It's funny how Shifts, which followed OotP, wasn't very angsty, but Shades, which is following HBP, is shaping up to be very angsty. Interesting how your stories have the opposite emotional tone of the canon books.

"That's the most Remus-like thing I've ever heard you say. I love you very much."

It really is a Remus-like thing to say. And a very loving thing for Tonks to say. Not lover-like, not romantic, just loving.

I hope the babies are in a happy mood.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I try to parallel themes, but the tones do tend to be quite different based on what the narrators are feeling.

And a very loving thing for Tonks to say. Not lover-like, not romantic, just loving.

Oh, I'm glad you said that. I enjoy R/T, but the loving-ness is more important to me than the romance, and a funeral is a good time for the former, but a fairly tacky time for the latter.

I hope the babies are in a happy mood.

Me, too. I'm iffy with babies. But looking forward to making their acquaintance anyway.
coralia13 From: coralia13 Date: August 19th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another fantastic chapter! The scene between Remus and Dora was so moving and wonderful - Remus trying to walk away but just not being able to, Dora clinging to him for dear life... Oh, I hope it works out for them in the books! It's becoming easier and easier to understand why Dora was so distracted in the book.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope it works out for them in the books, too (though I'm going to try and avoid fic assumptions on the matter this time!). I just like these people.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 19th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Fern, way to pull on the old heartstrings. Two moments in particular got me:

He touched Emmeline's cold hand, and squeezed her fingers. "Stand down, Emmy," he said quietly to her. "We've got it now."

*sob* Also:

An unexpectedly cold blast of air hit Tonks's back as he opened the Cloak, and she stepped back into the alcove quickly. For a moment, he let the cloak remain open, and she saw him--gaunt, scratched from head to toe, a great gash visible just above the neckline of his robes.

Then he let the Cloak close, and he was gone.


I can see it's only going to get darker before it gets brighter. Poor Tonks. I'm really enjoying having this story from her POV, for a change.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Her POV is unexpectedly difficult, but hopefully, as the story goes on, it will get easier. :) At the moment, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to the full moon, when I can get back into the more familiar realm of being a male werewolf. ;)
sreya From: sreya Date: August 19th, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
*laughing at your male werewolf comment before this*

This was a well-written funeral scene, with just the right touches of sadness, as well as anger and resolve from the attendants. It hit me particularly because I'm supposed to be working with Emmeline in Fideles, as the Longbottoms' secret-keeper. Reading in HBP that she'd been killed was one of the more gutwrenching parts of the book.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2005 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Oof. Yeah, I can imagine working with a character and then finding her dead between books, with no one in canon seeming to share the level of involvement it takes to write about her.... shiver.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ack! This is so depressing. I hate how Remus is acting. I love him but he's just being so...I can't even think of a good word to use.

I'm such a big fan of your stories. I was talking to my friend today about Tonks's Patronus and she said she wondered what it was before the change. I almost told her it was butterflies and then I remembered that that was a FernWithy thing!

- Whitney
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2005 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
The butterflies feel natural, I think, because they're a symbol of shapeshifting, so that's probably both why I thought it and you remembered it. But JKR may have a whole backstory for Tonks that would make it extremely natural for her Patronus to be a freshwater trout. ;)

Anyway, thanks!
dalf From: dalf Date: August 20th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I was trying to figure this out and figured you woudl be the person to ask. I know the books dont say but how old do you think tonks is? Based on the date given for Nearly Headless nick's execution and his 500th deathday party I know people have decided that Remus and friends were all born in 1960. Its just I was just reading a R/T story where the author had Tonks saying "You're less than ten years older than me". Do we know how long Auro trainning takes? I had put her as 22 or 23 in my mind (makeing her 13 or 14 years younger then Remus).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2005 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely forget how I got there, but I thought she was 23 in OotP. Snape was supposed to be 36-37 in GoF (I'd thought it was PoA, and had them a year older, but trust me,in the mid-thirties, a year has long ceased to matter ;)), so it's thirteen or fourteen years. I don't think the precise age difference matters as much as the generation difference--Remus would have to have gone to school with Andromeda and Ted, if Snape went to school with the older Bellatrix. So even if they didn't know one another as I've postulated, he'd still have that moment of, "Er... didn't I watch your mum playing Quidditch, and hear your dad singing off key in the Great Hall...?"
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: August 20th, 2005 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I love coming home and having new installments to read from you. So sad, Emmeline's funeral... but what really punched me in the gut was Tonks' sight of Remus, all scratched... knowing that it's only going to get worse for both of them. Ohhhhh....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2005 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
And of course, he didn't give her time to ask about them, and probably wouldn't have answered. I have a feeling that I'm going to want to thwap Remus a bit. ;)
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