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Shades, Chapter Seven: Friends and Neighbors, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Seven: Friends and Neighbors, pt. 2
Bopping back and forth to Salem saps some writing time!

Anyway, we left Tonks at her friend Sanjiv's parents' house, after Sanjiv has abducted her to distract her from her bad mood, taking her to a dance club and watching his (Muggle) parents' television. She's doing well, but when a news item visibly upsets her, all three McPhersons are concerned. Sanjiv tells her that she should get some sleep.

(Sanj isn't going to be a major character here; this chapter concerns him, but I'm not going to derail everything just to play with Sanj! He has something he needs to say to Tonks, though, and it's something she needs to hear, so this chapter deals with him heavily.)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




She dreamed of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.

She was on Sanjiv's parents' sofa and dressed in her dance club clothes, but she was now in the parlor of the Black family home, which was in a state of great disarray. The dark green velvet curtains had all been torn down and were lying in disspirited pile on the floor, and books and curios were piled haphazardly into wooden crates. A tattered black curtain hung from a window that looked out into the garden, and Sirius sat in front of it, going through a pile of family rubbish. He didn't acknowledge Tonks's presence.

Beyond him, she could see the courtyard, where several of the children had pulled up Auntie's flowerbeds and were plowing the earth into straight furrows. The family gravestones were leaning up against the house, and when Ginny Weasley's plow turned up a hand that Tonks somehow knew belonged to Sirius's brother Regulus, Ginny just tucked it back under the dirt and kept going. Upstairs, she could hear several different kinds of construction charms going, and a fine mist of sawdust hovered in the parlor door.

"Where is Remus?" Sirius asked without looking at her.

"I... I don't know. He's with the werewolves."

"He's always with the werewolves," Sirius said irritably.

"No. No, sometimes he's with me."

"He's always with the werewolves." Sirius picked up a shattered vase and examined the pieces in the bright sunlight. "Do you think anyone would notice that this is a bit cracked?"

"Probably."

He frowned and tossed it away, letting the ceramic pieces break against the bricks in the hearth.

"Why are you doing that?"

"It doesn't matter." He looked over his shoulder and pointed at the ghastly black curtain. "It's all going to be new soon. I've got them for all the rooms. Moony was supposed to hang them in the kitchen. Do you know if he's finished?"

"No... I wouldn't let him. They're just awful."

Sirius rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Oh, come on, Coz. You know how it's meant to be. We're almost gone now. You can't stop the inevitable!" He poked his hand in a box and came up with a small portrait of Phineas Nigellus, which looked quite annoyed at the intrusion. "Would you like this thing? It's a bit annoying, but--"

"We have one already," Tonks said.

He tossed it aside and pulled out a silver hand. "Do you think Moony would like this?"

"No! Sirius, what's wrong with you?"

He looked straight at her for the first time. "What do you mean?" His gaze shifted upward, and he smiled. "Oh, there you are!" he said. "What kept you?"

"Dora kept putting things in my way," Remus said, coming in with an armful of black curtains.

Sirius stood and took them from him, and went to the empty windows. The curtain on the last one fluttered toward him.

Tonks got up and ran across the room to him. "Sirius, please!"

"Oh, Dora." He hugged her. "It's nothing to worry about. It's just the way things are."

He pushed her away.

His hands had become bones, his face a mossy remnant hanging on an exposed skull. He was smiling. "Nothing to worry about," he said again, and turned her back toward Remus, whose mossy hand was reaching toward her to catch her as she fell...

and fell...

She awakened, gasping bracing herself against the McPhersons' coffee table to keep from falling to the floor with a crash. The room was dark, though an early, dirty gray dawn cast it into barely distinguishable shadows. Early Saturday traffic was going by outside.

"I was wondering if you were going to wake yourself up," Sanjiv said. He was standing in the door to the dining room, wearing bright-colored pajamas. "You've been muttering for awhile. If you hadn't woken up, I'd have probably started shaking you." He came to the couch, and sat down on the floor beside it. "This isn't about breaking up with Lupin, is it?"

"Sanj, I can't..."

"And it's not about your job or the bloody Order of the Phoenix, is it?"

"Yes... no. Yes. No."

He fought against smiling--Tonks could see it in the corners of his mouth--and finally gave up. "No wonder you do so well on tests. You just give all the answers. One of them has to be right."

"Right."

He pulled himself up onto the couch and sat across from her, cross-legged. "What were you dreaming?"

Tonks made a mental list of all the elements of her dream that Sanjiv wasn't cleared to know a thing about, then shook her head. "I can't tell you. Really, I can't."

"All right." He started to get up, and Tonks felt a vast well of loneliness swelling inside of her, ready to drown her.

"Did I ever tell you about my cousin Sirius?" she asked.

He sat back down. "Sirius Black?"

"Yes. He... " She looked away. "I was dreaming about Sirius. You know, he would have done what you did last night. I mean, if he'd seen me being such a damned goose lately. And if the entire Ministry hadn't been out hunting for him." She smiled. "Well, he might have tried it anyway, but I expect Remus would have stopped him."

"Hmm. So you have superlative taste in friends. I already knew that."

"I didn't really know him when he first came back. I remembered him from when I was small, but... I was supposed to hate him all that time. And I did. I hated him so I stopped thinking about him. And then he came back, and I loved him again, and now he's gone." She sniffed. "That's all. I'm just not good about losing people. Everything's falling apart again, and I don't know how to make it stop."

"You can't." Sanjiv shrugged and took her hands. "It's not falling apart because of you, and you can't make it stop. But you've got me, and Daffy and Maddie, and your parents. And I'll tell you something as a man, Tonks--you've got Lupin."

"Not really."

"Really. I've seen him with you. The man is quite definitively got."

Tonks shook her head. "I just... I didn't even have a vote on the subject," she said. "He's treating me like a child. Ever since Sirius died, even before..." She stopped. "And now he's shutting me away and trying to take care of me. And I..." She blinked rapidly. "I'm an Auror, Sanj. I know how to take care of myself. But all the sudden, I'm a little girl to him again, and I thought we'd got past that. I thought he was finally seeing me as... Oh, hell." She wiped her hand over her eyes, and it came away wet. "I'm sorry. I'm horrible company."

Sanjiv shrugged. "I'll just have to sack you as a best friend."

"Right."

Sanjiv looked down and frowned slightly. "Tonks, I think..."

"What?"

"Nothing. Nothing important." He let go of her hands and moved to the armchair across from her. "Do you want to go back to sleep, or hunt up breakfast somewhere?"

"I'm not hungry. I should get back. Work."

"Do you ever not work?"

"I'm always an Auror."

"Is Hogsmeade really all that beset by the forces of evil?" He smiled, inviting her to step off of the unpleasant train of thought.

"You tell me," she said, gratefully taking the bait. "You're the one who lives above Madam Puddifoot's."

"Well, the forces of tackiness are firmly entrenched at any rate."

"It's an advance guard. I'm sure of it. Any place with that many frilly doilies has to be practicing Dark Arts. There's just no other explanation."

"You know," Sanjiv said, "I'm now having visions of Death Eaters tatting lace, cackling madly and declaring victory one tea shop at a time."

"It's insidious, really."

"A dastardly plan indeed."

His mother awakened a few minutes later and started cooking a prodigious breakfast ("I'm well aware that you two children don't eat properly on your own"), involving bacon, fruit, and crêpes. His father joined them before they left, giving Tonks one mildly worried look before Sanjiv cut him off when he thought Tonks couldn't see and then switching to a discussion of his job, which involved designing advertisements to convince people to holiday in Scotland. He suggested that the bureau should change its slogan to, "Come to Scotland. The fog is clearing... really!"

The fog had, in fact, nearly lifted by ten o'clock, when they finally went into the back garden, slipped into the Apparition shelter, and returned to Hogsmeade.

"Is there some reason you drew your wand?" Sanjiv asked, looking quizzically at her raised arm.

Tonks scanned the street in front of Madam Puddifoots, then lowered her guard. "As a friend at work calls it, constant vigilance."

"Mmm."

"Thank you," Tonks said. "I needed a break."

"Glad to oblige you." He bit his lip again.

"Dammit, Sanjiv, if there's something you want to say, say it."

He shook his head. "I'll let you get back to work," he said, and went inside.

Tonks looked up as she walked down the street and saw the drapery in his window move to one side.

She continued on to the Hog's Head.
14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 9th, 2005 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
In the first full paragraph, "were lying in disspirited pile on the floor." You left out an "a." :)

When you say Tonks saw the drapery in his window move, I wonder if you shouldn't specify that it is Remus's window. It is possible to tell what she's thinking, but I'm not sure it's quite clear enough.

Other than that, I loved it. You do dreams so well--they still have their dreamlike qualities instead of being mystic visions, yet they're pertinent to the story and the plot. Well done.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: October 9th, 2005 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoops, I forgot that I'm not on my own computer and thus not logged in. Sorry!
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: October 9th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Now you've got me wanting to see an illo of deatheaters tatting frilly doilies....
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: October 9th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
You write the creepiest dream sequences....
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 9th, 2005 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I was also a bit confused about whose drapery was moving, but loved the vision of cackling, tatting death eaters. Never was too keen about doilies, now I come to think about it!
sreya From: sreya Date: October 9th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't believe you actually had time to type up and post a piece of Shades in the middle of TWH. *shakes head* You are impressive, woman.

Although I have to say I'm glad you posted this after I went to bed last night. I'd already been thoroughly spooked from writing post-Narnia Susan Pevensie, and if I'd read Tonks's nightmare on top of that I would never have gotten any sleep at all!

I do wonder what Sanjiv wanted to say and kept holding back, even after Tonks demanded to hear it. Clearly it's not a condemnation of Remus (I absolutely loved "The man is quite definitively got."), and he had no problem talking about what he didn't like about her work schedule, so I'm not sure what he was thinking.
From: fizzko Date: October 9th, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the way you write dream sequences. They fit so easily into the story. (And, of course, I was delighted to read your Sirius again, even if only in a dream.)

Now you've got me wondering what Sanjiv wanted to say. Can't wait for the next installment!
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: October 9th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have to reiterate the things everyone else has said... I loved Sanjiv, the dream sequence, and especially the mental image of Death Eaters sitting around crocheting doilies. Good job!
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: October 9th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Really. I've seen him with you. The man is quite definitively got."


Love that line. Love Sanj.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 10th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really glad that people like Sanj... it's sometimes nerveracking to put in an OC in a prominent place!
dalf From: dalf Date: October 10th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
WOW (Again)!


And I am sure that Malfoys do have some truly fabulous tea services!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 10th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks... and yes, their property is probably pretty high-class.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: October 10th, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
As usual, another brilliantly done dream sequence! Can't wait for more. Speaking of Hogsmeade does Tonks know, at this point, that Dung is selling off Black stuff? Obviously the Order knew and intervened at some point - I assume that's what Aberforth is doing, "buying" Sirius' stuff back for the Order with Dumbledore's money, perhaps. That's why Tonks' isn't fussed about it. But, I wonder who finds out and when.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 10th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
She's going to find out about it soon. My thought--mostly for the purpose of getting Tonks more involved--is that the Order thinks that Bellatrix is trying to re-acquire Black property, and either Dung is unwittingly going along, or is playing his role as a thief to put the stuff into the underworld, from which point, they can follow it to Bellatrix and (hopefully) Voldemort. That gives the opportunity to have Tonks have several really good reasons for being completely calm about it and getting Harry away from him quickly.
14 comments or Leave a comment