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Shades, Chapter Four: Interlude (1): Alpha, pt. 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Four: Interlude (1): Alpha, pt. 4
The moon has gone down, and Remus is re-entering the normal world. Bill Weasley met him with an Invisibility Cloak with the intention of taking him to the Burrow for Harry's birthday, but I think I'll delay them a bit.

I may or may not keep this segment. Part of me would really like to limit Remus's interludes to the forest, on a stylistic level. On the other hand, I had to account for why it was that he was the one reporting on finding Karkaroff's body the day after a full moon, and that meant putting in some way for him to come by that information, and...

Sigh. It's a slight inconvenience.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"Right, then," Bill said after five minutes. "No one's got an eye out for you that I can see." Bill paused. "Er... mate?"

"What?"

"Look, I don't mean to be rude, but..." He bit his lip. "You might want to have a bath before you get in Mum's vicinity. I've a clean set of robes that will fit you as well, I think."

Remus felt his face go hot, but the Invisibility Cloak was hiding it, so he tried to keep his voice even. "Don't worry about being rude, I'd be quite grateful to have a bath. If I can borrow your wand, I can fix my own robes."

Bill didn't push it. He led Remus out on a main street, wending through the crowd toward a somewhat fashionable neighborhood near Gringott's. He started rifling through his pockets for a key. "I'm hardly ever here," he muttered, entering a narrow hallway lined with tall plants. "I feel like I should have my own place, but I'm at Mum's most of the time anyway. Oh, here." He located his key and unlocked the door, then tapped it to undo the security wards. "Home sweet home."

He held the door open and Remus went in, shedding the cloak. Bill's flat was sunny and clean, filled with Egyptian treasures. A high wine rack stood between the windows, and a handmade wooden clock was mounted on the wall opposite the door. It had only two hands. The one which said "Bill" was just arriving at "home," and a delicate silver hand that said "Fleur" read "Mum and Dad's."

"Gift from Dad," Bill said. "When I told him Fleur and I were engaged, he made it."

"It's nice."

"The bathroom is at the end of the hall, and there are towels in the cupboard. I'll go on ahead--the wards will set automatically after you leave, and you can just bring the key with you."

"I appreciate it."

"If you change your mind about the robes, feel free. The wardrobe's in the bedroom."

"Thank you." Remus started toward the bathroom, then turned around. "Bill, could you do something for me? Off the record."

"What?"

"Greyback has maybe twenty children there--six little boys, a handful of girls, and some teenagers. I'd like to know where they came from."

"Wouldn't Tonks be in a better position--?"

"I don't want her anywhere near this. Greyback is watching her. He probably has eyes in the Ministry somewhere. As far as I know, he hasn't the faintest idea who you are."

Bill absorbed this for a moment. "Do you have their names?"

"Only a few. A boy about eight, called Blondin. A little girl who was taken so young that she doesn't remember her name; I'd peg her at about twelve now. And a boy of fifteen or so called Alderman. His mother was in the werewolf capture unit."

"That last one sounds familiar. I'll look into it."

Remus thanked him again, then retreated to the bathroom. By the time he'd finished cleaning up (being careful of the raw wounds), Bill was gone. He'd left a back-up wand on the kitchen table, and Remus did what he could with his robes. These were nearly a loss--he was down to patching the patches now--but he thought, if he was careful, they'd get him through two more months. It wasn't as though Greyback's people would be critiquing his wardrobe.

Feeling more human and further from Greyback's forest lair, he slipped the Cloak back on and went out, carefully locking Bill's door behind him. The best place to Apparate from was The Leaky Cauldron, as people Apparated in and out from there with some regularity, and no one was really noticed, so he made his way there, careful not to brush any strangers in the street. The mood was unnaturally gloomy, and he didn't think it was just the chilly fog that was still lingering on some streets. He passed Florean Fortescue's boarded-up shop, where a girl he vaguely remembered from the year he'd spent at Hogwarts was sitting on the steps, looking numb. Her dark hair fell in a disspirated, curly curtain, and her eyes listlessly scanned the street for whoever she was waiting for. An old woman was reading Witch Weekly near the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, and Remus didn't see her turn the page at all. Her eyes were glassy and unfocused when he passed her.

The tavern was quiet as well, its tables full but its occupants engaged in quiet conversation. Remus slipped between two tables to head for the non-protected Apparition area near the fireplace, and had almost reached it when he caught sight of a small, hunched figure at a table. Her hair was still light brown, and the sunlight from the window above caught in it, making it glow.

He went to her.

One arm was stretched across a pile of papers, and her head was resting on it. Her eyes were closed lightly, her face troubled by whatever dreams were passing through her head. He crouched beside her, letting his hand hover over hers, drinking her in.

"Don't wake her up," someone growled.

Remus looked up. Mad-Eye Moody had pulled out the chair opposite from Dora, and was looking sternly at Remus, right through the Cloak.

"I wasn't planning to." Dora stirred in her sleep, and he lowered his voice and stood. "I should go."

Moody looked at her, then at Remus, and nodded toward a shadowy booth, picking up a newspaper for cover and heading toward it. Remus touched Dora's hair lightly--her face relaxed--then followed him.

"She should go home," he said.

"Yeah. You should try telling her that. The rest of us haven't got far," Moody muttered, his back to the room.

Remus sat on the bench against the wall. "What's happened to her?"

"From the looks of it, some fellow she fancies--for some reason--is mixed up with some dangerous business." He shrugged. "Also, she just came off a double shift. More Dementor attacks. I think she got a good dose of 'em, though she wouldn't say it."

"Make sure she gets some chocolate."

"Already done." He shook his head. "Anyway, the last one was up north, and she and her team came across Karkaroff when they finished up. Bloody idiot can't even do us any favors dead. Damned paperwork."

"Karkaroff's dead?"

"They found him in a shack not far from the Forbidden Forest. Dark Mark, the whole works. I guess You-Know-Who didn't take his resignation."

Remus thought of Sirius's younger brother, Regulus, running from the Death Eaters. He'd fallen out of sight on a Friday--Sirius kept his ear to the ground, pretending that he was just "seeing what the stupid git thought he was going to pull," but he had been utterly frantic from the moment Regulus went missing--and had shown up again--in two pieces--shortly after the weekend. Karkaroff had lasted a year. He was apparently more clever than anyone had given him credit for. "What was he doing up there?"

"That's a question worth asking." Moody narrowed his normal eye (the magical one was continually scanning the room). "Dumbledore's wondering about it, too. Doesn't like it so close to the school, I think."

"And the Dementors are attacking there as well?"

"They're everywhere. Haven't been anywhere near the school, though."

"Well, that's good. Harry hates them."

"Don't think they're anyone's notion of a grand companion. Are you headed up to Molly and Arthur's?"

"Yes. It's Harry's birthday."

"Fill them in. I'll go up and report to Dumbledore."

"Stay with D... with Tonks until she wakes up, will you?"

"You're not fooling anyone, Lupin."

"Then I'd best get more practice."

With an effort, he stayed clear of Dora's table and went to the Apparition area, stepping out of the Leaky Cauldron and into the Weasleys' garden, shedding the Cloak as he he approached the door. Molly was serving tea, and was less than thrilled with the turn of conversation, but once Remus had shared the information about Karkaroff, the talk naturally turned to the other disappearances. To his great alarm, Ollivander had apparently disappeared from his Diagon Alley shop without a trace yesterday.

Harry didn't appear to be having a particularly happy birthday--he was hit harder than Remus would have expected by news of Fortescue's disappearance--but he seemed centered and content to be with the Weasleys. After tea, the children went outside to play Quidditch, and Remus watched them for awhile, glad to see Harry a bit more cheerful. Before he left, Molly healed the bite wound on his shoulder without asking how he'd come by it.

"Thank you," he said. "I should get to Hogwarts. I need to report to Dumbledore. It's very, very good to be entirely human when I do it."

Molly nodded. "You know," she said carefully, "Arthur and I have been trying to get Tonks here for dinner. She's not eating enough and she's been sleeping at work. She needs some time off."

"I'm glad you're looking after her." Remus checked his shoulder. "Both of us, really. I appreciate it."

"I thought you might like to come and talk to her. She only wants to know you're all right."

"I can't."

"Remus, here, you're protected. No one should notice. I--"

"They'll notice, Molly. And she needs to move on. It won't help her if I come around while she's here."

"She doesn't want to move on. She loves you."

Remus looked out the window. Harry was walking along the path, his Firebolt over his shoulder. Ginny was flying overhead, diving playfully at him. Hermione was laughing. Ron was watching all of it with an odd expression on his face. Remus looked back at the table. "I shouldn't have let her."

"She didn't ask your permission." Molly smiled. "I think you should talk to her."

"I can't. I can't be with her." He stood. "I should go to Dumbledore now. I'll just say goodbye to the children."

"You should talk to her," Molly said again. "You owe her that much."

"I can't," Remus repeated. He thanked Molly again, said a brief goodbye to the children--Ginny dropped off her broomstick to give him a hug--and Apparated to Hogsmeade, letting his mind wander as he walked to the school, shedding the Cloak only when he reached the shadows of the gate. Hagrid let him in, going on about his creatures, worrying about his classes, leaving him in the front hall as the sky reddened.

He tried to organize his thoughts as he went up to Dumbledore's office, but Molly's admonition kept trying to find its way into his mind. You owe her that much.

He thought of Dora in the Leaky Cauldron, her face taut and pale, the sun glinting in her brown hair, and he knew he couldn't see her again, couldn't be with her without really being with her.

But when he opened the door into Dumbledore's round office, she was already there.
33 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, so cruel to leave us hanging that way. I'll cross my fingers for another installment tomorrow. :)

Sorry I haven't left feedback on this chapter so far, but it's been brilliantly done. Greyback is just chilly, the kids/pups are so sad and Remus' situation is just scary. Plus you've definitely set it up so that readers can see both sides of the break-up. If I were Remus, I'd be terrified to even look at Dora while Greyback is having her watched.

I liked the scenes with Bill and Moody, I'd keep them both. It allows Remus to transition from one world to another, have some human contact after a horrible moon and bring the news about Karkaroff.

Looking forward to more! Mary
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, Greyback is chilling, not chilly. LOL Mary
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: September 5th, 2005 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Dora. Poor Remus as well, but moreso Dora
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree. I'm concerned that with a lot of drama happening in Remus's life, Tonks will come off as somewhat pathetic, but my heart is with her, as she is not only dealing with her fears, but dealing wiht a man who isn't telling her anything. The things she's got to be imagining!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with everyone else that this is even better than Shifts, which I didn't think was possible. This is such a moving story, and we're so lucky to get to read it.

One typo I noticed--Gringott's should be Gringotts', as it's Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and not Gringott Wizarding Bank.

Please update soon!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
:facepalm: on the typo. Plus, :eyeroll:

I'm enjoying writing this, actually, both Remus and Tonks, so I'm glad people are enjoying reading it.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: September 5th, 2005 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Wargh, another inadvertent Remus/Dora meeting! Morenowplease.

I do see what you mean about the pros and cons of keeping this segment. On one hand, I love seeing things from Remus' point of view (and the interaction with Bill was lovely) -- but on the other hand, now that the moon's over, it doesn't feel like an interlude anymore. I'm curious as to what you'll decide to do with it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
If they've had their argument "millions of times," I'm guessing there will be several inadvertant meetings. Though this one isn't entirely inadvertant; Albus Dumbledore isn't big on letting people accidentally bump into each other in his office. ;)

I think I'm going to keep it, so that I'm free in future interludes to do it if I need to.
bronells From: bronells Date: September 5th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I can understand why you would want to limit Remus' interludes to the forest, but after all the tension Remus experiences interacting with the other werewolves it is nice to have this segment as a bit of relief. Having said that, this part doesn't lose the tension from previous installments, with Remus coming across Dora in The Leaky Cauldron etc. You've also set up the transition back to Dora's POV very nicely, even if it is an evil cliffhanger! :P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm afraid the cliffie might be a little disappointing when I actually follow it up! :)

Glad it worked.
katinka31 From: katinka31 Date: September 5th, 2005 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's like Christmas every time you post more of this. :)

I got a kick out of Molly -- it's like she's dealing with one of her own stubborn children. I also liked how you handled the shift of locations -- we can really sense that Remus is back in civilization again.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Molly Weasley, universal Mum. I think she's decided that Remus needs either a mother or a wife, and if he's turning away from his fiancee, he'll just have to deal with being mothered.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
But this segment is also useful in that it shows Remus asking Bill to find out about the children

I think that's probably the most important reason to leave it in. I'd like to build up the friendship among Remus, Bill, Tonks, and Fleur (though I think Fleur will have to wait awhile, since she's so self-absorbed at this particular point).
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: September 5th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
*ACK*

ACK ACK ACK!!!

I'm just... ACK!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm, er... not sure what the response is!
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I approve of not limiting Remus to the forrest for the interludes for what its worth. I can see the appeal of that stylistically, but Karkaroff is not the only problem you will face if you go that way. You will be painting yourself into a corner a little if you later decide that you want him to be doing anything else related to YOUR story where Tonk's POV will nto suffice. On the other hand, you could try and work Tonks into anything you need Remus to be doing outside of the forrest and switch to her POV for them. Or even save any sort of deviation from that pattern for somethign really significant at the end. Or you coudl do the other pattern where each interlude ends with him doing somethign away from them. Though that would imply that Greyback sends him away after each fullmoon as a habit (or that he has to sort of earn the right to stay).

To the story:
- I love that you had Bill as a collector type personality. Egyptian thigns and wine just indicators of a personality type that I think fits him perfectly. Then again I am a geek and that falls into "geek cool" for me and JKR does describe him as cool.
- Same goes for the clock. The mention in HBP that Molly did not knwo of anyone else with such a clock makes me think that the spells involved were invented by someone in the family. Having it be Aurthor (or implying it anyway) is nice. He *IS* the twins dad!

"She didn't ask your permission." Molly smiled.

<3 Molly!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
You will be painting yourself into a corner a little if you later decide that you want him to be doing anything else related to YOUR story where Tonk's POV will nto suffice.

I think that's the deciding factor. If I limit it in the first one, I won't have the freedom to change my mind later, so I think I will leave it.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 5th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, please don't take this chapter away. I actually think you should keep it for stylistic reasons: make the Remus POV symmetrical by hanging on to it for a while after the transformation as well.. not just before it. You know? We begin with him as a man, end with him reentering the world of human beings again... which makes the next full moon all the more gut-wrenching, because he has to walk back into total wolf-dom again.

See? Completely objective reasons to keep this chapter. I haven't said a word about how I'm totally fangirling you right now, because I suddenly *love* Bill Weasley, and of course I've always loved Remus, who is such an idiot when he walks away from Dora three times in this chapter alone (mentally, at least), and the man won't accept Bill's robes.

[/horrible run on sentence]
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
My thoughts were exactly the same. There is the long period of Remus gradually losing his humanity in the forest, then the relatively brief period when he is an animal, and then a glide back into the being a man again. It gives a nice, symmetrical, Shakespearian plot line for the chapter: the inital exposition, the build, the climax in the middle, the slide back down to normalcy, and then the resolution.

And, of course, the more time you have to work with Remus as a man gives you all the more time for teh angst, which we all know Remus does so well.

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

from Violet Azure

I see what you mean about not wanting the interludes to be much more than the full moon, but I think you handle the transition back to Dora very nicely and this segment is still related to the full moon since it's the day after. You're going to be writing several full moon chapters, right? So you can restict some and expand others. Besides, this line is priceless:

[Bloody idiot can't even do us any favors dead. Damned paperwork."]

I love Moody! (And I love Shades)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: from Violet Azure

Moody is fun. I just love the way he growls about everything, and his sympathy for former Death Eaters of any stripe is just completely lacking. Paperwork.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: September 5th, 2005 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Remus. And poor Tonks. And I suspect I'm going to be saying that a lot. *sigh* Remus could have just told her to stay away for a while, she would have waited for him... I'd tell him off but I know it's going to be nearly a year before he comes to his senses, so it's probably a waste of breath. ;)

The scene in the Leaky Cauldron was so sad, as was Remus' embarrassment at Bill's quiet recommendation. And this meeting, I suspect, will prove angsty...
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: September 5th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice linking sequence again, good to see Remus sloughing off the effects of Greyback's pack for a bit. One minor query: where in Britain do you picture them being? The reference to hunting deer made me blink a little - I have a feeling most herds here these days are cultivated rather than truly wild. I could well be wrong about that, but I don't think there could be many places (at least not in heavily built-up southern England) where a group such as this could live semi-ferally without coming to the notice of the authorities quite quickly.

If Bill's going to be asking questions about the kids, is that perhaps a reason that Greyback would go for him particularly at the end of the year? Another thing for Remus to torture himself about. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
In a kind of, er, hidden pocket in the Forest of Dean, honestly, though I didn't plan to be so specific (I just picked a place so I could refer to photos of the region). When I asked about it on the All Things British thread, they said there was actually a problem with wild deer in the area (which makes sense, as there are no actual wolves to prey on them, which is a bigger problem for werewolves avoiding detection!); that's why I threw in a deer.

I'm toying with the idea of having Bill offend Greyback, but I haven't decided yet.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 6th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, BTW, I love Remus's concern for Harry... and the way he notices the other kids. Forgot to tell you the last time I commented. Ron's "odd expression" had me cheering internally. I'm still not over my thrill over R/H!

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm loving this, just as good as Shifts. Well written, with much on the characters inner thoughts.
Nice to see the plot from Tonk's point of view as well.

Just one smallish point, how does Lupin apperate without a wand?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
When in Apparating would a wand be used? Everything in canon suggests that it's wandless magic.
33 comments or Leave a comment