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Shades, Chapter Five: Relocation, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Five: Relocation, pt. 1
I realized as I was writing this that I forgot to put in Tonks finding out that 12GP was in the Order's hands, so I added this in Chapter 3 at HB (and submitted to the Quill) establishing that she knows it's back but isn't entirely comfy there:

On Wednesday, Dumbledore sent word that Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, was safe for the Order's return, and Harry had given permission to continue using it. Tonks went by herself, haunting the empty rooms, listening to Auntie's diatribe, sensing the ghosts of the place--not the shades that spoke, but the quiet emptiness where memories sat in solitude. She saw Sirius sitting at the kitchen table, peeling bits of splintered wood away. She saw him singing Christmas carols, transforming into a dog, drinking in Buckbeak's room. She saw Remus and herself planning elaborate charades that became ever more real, and she saw him catching her at the base of the kitchen stairs. She felt Sirius watching her from everywhere here, trapped for all eternity in this prison his friends had built for him.

She sat on the stairs and wept until Mad-Eye appeared with Hestia Jones, and they both pretended not to notice anything amiss.

Tonks didn't return to Grimmauld Place.


Anyway, Remus was just coming off a full moon, thinking that he needs to stay away from Tonks, but when he arrives at Dumbledore's office, she's already there.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Tonks stood shakily, feeling entirely blindsided. Dumbledore's summons had come an hour ago; the fact that he would be receiving Remus's report hadn't occurred to her at all, which she supposed showed that she was slipping more than she could afford to.

"Remus," she said.

He didn't say anything. He just looked at her.

"Do you need me to leave? Will they be able to tell...?"

"No." He shook his head and sat down in the chair across from her, resting his elbows on his knees and staring at the carpet. "I can stay away for a day or two now without anyone noticing. I already took a bath, so I'll undoubtedly need to roll around in something foul before I go back anyway. Where is Dumbledore?"

"He stepped out. He got a message from someone. He'll be back in a moment." She looked at him, tracing the taut arch of his neck with her eyes, taking note of the length of his hair. "How are you?"

He took a deep breath. "I'm all right. Really, I am. Moody and Molly both say that you're not sleeping right, though."

"Mad-Eye and Molly talk too much."

"Dora..."

"I'm fine, Remus. There's just a lot of work to do right now, and I seem to have lost my other commitments." He winced. She shook her head. "Don't worry about me. Isn't worrying about me and thinking about me meant to be dangerous for your cover or whatnot?"

"I imagine I can worry about you to my heart's content. That's not an entirely hopeful thought."

"You sound like Sirius, fantasizing about doing dreadful things to Wormtail to get away from the Dementors, just because they weren't happy thoughts."

"I'm beginning to understand what he meant."

"Does that make me Wormtail in this scenario?"

"I'm not fantasizing about hurting you, Dora. I just can't--" He paused and stood up, looking out over the mostly empty grounds. "They have to believe I've lost everything."

"So let them believe it. Why must you? That's the part I don't understand." Tonks bit her tongue to keep from going on. The last thing she wanted was to hurt him or fight with him, but her traitor mouth was trying to escape her control. She went to him and let her hand hover over his shoulder. "Are you really going to roll in something foul before you go back? Mask where you've been?"

His muscles tensed, then he reached over his shoulder, grabbed her hand, and pulled her to him.

There was no elation, no rush of relief or joy as she settled into her place against him. There was just weariness and a sense of fitting. She let her breathing slow down to match his. "I've missed you," she said.

He kissed the top of her head and ran his rough thumbs over her cheeks, then pressed his lips briefly against hers and let go of her. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have--"

"Are you both quite finished?" someone asked impatiently. "Because this is really all quite dreary. I never thought I would wish for another public reading of a tawdry bodice-ripper..."

Remus smiled and shook his head, rolling his eyes, and there was a moment of sheer normalcy. "Did you have something to tell us, Phineas?"

Phineas Nigellus, Tonks's some-number-of-greats-grandfather on the Black side, lounged against his portrait frame. "Well, I have no wish to disturb your mutual display of self-pity--"

"What is it, Grayfur?" Tonks asked him.

Phineas wrinkled his sharp nose harmlessly at her use of Sirius's (somewhat) affectionate name for him. "Dumbledore is coming back. I thought you might want to conclude your tearful reunion before he... oh, I see I waited too long."

The door to Dumbledore's office opened, and Phineas took the painted seat on his canvas, leaning back as though he meant to join the meeting.

Albus Dumbledore came in, looking distant and troubled. "Phineas," he said, "go back to Grimmauld Place and tell Alastor that everything has been arranged, and he needn't go to the trouble of harassing Robards, who turned out to be rather agreeable."

"Robards?" Tonks repeated.

Dumbledore turned to her with a smile as Phineas disappeared with an indignant snort. "Yes. Interesting man, and something of an improvement in terms of Ministry contacts, at least as long as our goals are complementary."

"Hard not to be an improvement." She frowned. "Does this have to do with... well, Robards mentioned something about the school yesterday. About Aurors coming here?"

"To Hogsmeade, at any rate," Dumbledore said. "There's no need for a permanent presence at the school. If you are agreeable, Nymphadora, I would very much like for you to be among those assigned."

"Things are quite busy in London. I have seven open cases."

Dumbledore frowned at her. "Your Division has already approved the transfer of four Aurors to Hogsmeade. According to Robards, there are other Aurors also assigned to the cases you're working on."

"Well, I--"

"Nymphadora, the truth of the matter is that I would prefer a member of the Order to be among the Aurors stationed nearby."

"I see."

"I think it might be good for you to get out of London," Remus said.

"Do you?"

Remus looked between Tonks and Dumbledore, then said, "I think Greyback has eyes in the Ministry. He's very aware of"--pause--"Tonks's movements."

"Wonderful," Tonks said.

Dumbledore looked between them, then took off his half-moon spectacles and laid them on his desk, rubbing his eyes with his good hand. Tonks hadn't asked what he'd done to the other hand. She had a feeling she wouldn't get an answer. "Remus, as much as I would like to protect everyone in the Order, I'm not asking Nymphadora to come here for her safety, though it would certainly be advantageous to make her less visible to Greyback."

"Of course. I didn't mean--"

"I know."

Tonks sat down. "Robards is going to offer me the option to transfer here?"

"He seemed willing, though he asks reasonably that you share any information that will be of use to your colleagues in defending themselves."

"All right. I'll do it, then."

"Good. Aberforth has offered to provide housing for the Auror Division in the rooms above the Hog's Head. You needn't worry about securing a flat, unless of course you enjoy sleeping at night or are inordinately concerned with cleanliness."

She smiled. "Professor, if I can sleep in a dormitory here, I can sleep anywhere."

"It's settled, then." He turned to Remus. "This brings us to why I asked Nymphadora to come while you were here."

"I don't understand."

"Security at the school is going to be tightened quite a lot this year, for obvious reasons. Even the Aurors stationed in Hogsmeade will not have access to the school unless I determine it to be necessary, or Minerva McGonagall does in my absence. I would like to arrange for Nymphadora--and other Order members--to have access to and away from the school, if an emergency should arise."

"The Shrieking Shack."

Dumbledore nodded. "After you've given me your report, I'd like you to show Nymphadora how to get past the Whomping Willow, and give her the charms she'll need to get past the security at the house."

Remus crossed his arms, looking troubled. He looked out the window again. "If I give you the charms," he said, "you need to understand that going in there on a full moon might be more of an emergency than one you're coming to stop." He turned back to them. "My father was very careful in building the anti-Apparition wards there. They're quite complex. They allow me--and only me--to Apparate there from anywhere, directly into the interior of the house. He..." Remus smiled nervously. "I feel a bit disloyal admitting this."

"There will be no repercussions, Remus," Dumbledore said.

"Dad taught me to Apparate when I was eleven, just before school. I pretended not to know, of course, and Dad insisted that I only use it for emergencies. Moon-related emergencies. I could Apparate from anywhere--except within the school, of course--into the Shack, if I got caught in public at moonrise."

Dumbledore smiled. "You keep a good number of secrets, Remus."

"Yes." He took a deep breath. "I don't use it often. It's a last resort. I haven't used it for years, at least not that way. I did end up there on Valentine's Day, but..." His voice trailed off, and Tonks thought of the previous Valentine's Day, when he'd Apparated on the fly from a madly dangerous scheme of hers, and had come back to London and kissed her for the first time. Remus shook his head sharply. "Matters with Greyback's people are less than clear. If worse comes to worse, I want the option to be open."

"A wise precaution." Dumbledore leaned forward. "Nymphadora, if an emergency arises on a night the moon is full, can you control a werewolf long enough to get a team through?"

Tonks nodded. "I've done it before."

"And you will otherwise avoid the house at such times."

"All right."

"Very well, then," Dumbledore said. "Remus, I'd like to know about Greyback and his people now."

Remus looked at Tonks sideways, and said, "I'd like to give my report without Tonks here."

To Tonks's surprise, anger flew faster and stronger than hurt or confusion. "What's that supposed to mean? Do you really think I can't--?"

"I think Greyback has made it quite clear that he suspects me of passing information to you, and I think I'd prefer it if you didn't know something that would confirm his suspicions."

Dumbledore looked from Remus to Tonks, his brow furrowing. "Remus's argument has some merit. We can discuss it later. For now, Nymphadora, please wait at the base of the stairs."

"But--"

"Now, please, Miss Tonks."

Feeling helpless and decidedly young, Tonks left the room with as much dignity as she could muster, and waited for an hour at the base of the stairs.
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Comments
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 8th, 2005 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, lovely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :)
moonlinnet From: moonlinnet Date: September 8th, 2005 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter! *wants to knock some sense into Remus* Well, it's so confusing, because at the same time he's right in a way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I know. His position throughout isn't without merit... it's just infuriating!
sreya From: sreya Date: September 8th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Ouch. Painful reunion in more ways than one. I'm particularly caught by your portrayal of Dumbledore - he seems so very weary and old.

Hmm, con-crit for you:
Tonks hadn't asked what he'd done to the other hand. She had a feeling she wouldn't get an answer.
This stood out as being a little too matter-of-fact, maybe more of a reaction to the condition of the hand would help - is she repulsed by it? Does she feel sympathetic, or wince because it looks painful?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a good point. I just put that line in because I forgot about his hand, which is a fairly important thing to forget, and the slapdash insertion point shows. I have to figure out a better way to handle it.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: September 8th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know why, but the phrase "sheer normalcy" left me near tears.

Beautiful, as always.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, as always. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think he's already starting to believe it. He may intellectually know better, but I think he's already kind of on the wavelength that he's saved Tonks in the nick of time from a life that would make her unhappy.
bronells From: bronells Date: September 8th, 2005 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved the moment with Tonks' hand just hovering over Remus' sholder, waiting for him to make the next move. It's so heart breaking to see them this hesitant with each other after how close they grew in Shifts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know. I'm really beginning to miss Hadria's Hope.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: September 8th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
To be honest, at that last part, I sort of saw Remus's point. What if Greyback found out Tonks definitely did know something? There's no way he'd ever let her live.

I also see, however, why Tonks is upset. I mean, she *is* an Auror. (And was his fiance up till recently).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remus absolutely has a point here (and throughout). (I've started the next section, and Tonks is berating herself about being oversensitive.)

The thing with Remus is that he didn't communicate his point particularly well, refusing to speak to her before explaining himself, and after the break-up note. He needed to start the conversation by saying, "Tonks is in danger if Greyback suspects she has information I'm passing, so... Dora, I'm sorry, but I can't fill you in on things."
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 8th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore really reached me in this one. Just.. the weight of his responsibility, and how helpless he feels for not being able to protect everyone who deserves that protection.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore's responsibility for people is awesome--he takes more onto himself than the entire Ministry does. (This is why DD-bashing bugs me. Yeah, the guy screws up a little, but he's got a bit of a problem, in that no one else is really stepping up to the plate!)
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: September 9th, 2005 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
This whole story continues to be excellent. I'm especially glad that you're able to leaven all the gloom with humor. Phineas's crack about bodice-rippers and Dumbledore's comment to Tonks about living with the Hog's Head's level of cleanliness made me laugh out loud. Looking forward to more.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: September 9th, 2005 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Amazing. I'd say more, but school is sucking the life and words out of me.... :( Wonderful chapter. I am not good at typing right now........
dalf From: dalf Date: September 9th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
First off the bit at the top, the addition with TOnks at GP. Just WOW! Very powerful. I have read a number of one-offs of Remus or Harry or whoever going back to GP and ssort of walking about seeing and feeling Sirius there but I think yoru line about: "She felt Sirius watching her from everywhere here, trapped for all eternity in this prison his friends had built for him." has to top all others, working in the "shades" bit too was nice.

I really like the shack being set up by Remu's father. I imagine as soon as Dumbledore opened up the possibility of Remus going to school that his parents woudl have been rather inclinde to take significant steps. ALso th e idea that he has a place he can disapparate to and not be followed. That is a major advantage, one Harry could use really.

The rest is amazing as usual.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great update, although I do think Lupin's being a bit snooty not even discussing Greybacks activities in front of Tonks.

BTW the way you were perfectly right about apparation, guess I was confused by fandon (well that's my excuse)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I'm actually kind of curious as to where fanon got it!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
And yes, Remus is displaying very, very poor communication skills here.

:thwaps him:
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