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Shades, Chapter Nine: Patronus, Part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Nine: Patronus, Part 1
Okay, decided to go back to Tonks. Remus can deign to send her a letter at some point to let her know what's going on with him.

Before moonrise, I left Tonks in Hogsmeade. Her friends helped her get out of a funk where she was interpreting Remus's actions as insulting to her and getting more depressed and angry about it. She finally sat down and wrote him a newsy letter, which he got just before he returned to the forest to transform with Greyback's gang.

And now, shockingly, I find myself--gasp--at a canon scene. :) I realized that I needed to dig up the book after all.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Tonks's heart leapt when she saw the post owl fluttering about in her room, but the note it carried was only from Molly.

I'm sorry, dear. He didn't come the morning after transformation, and I haven't received word. I thought he might come to see Harry off--Harry would like it a great deal if he did!--but he didn't. I'm sure he's quite fine, and you'll hear from him soon. Chin up!

I know you and the others will be watching the Hogsmeade tonight. Arthur tells me that Harry has taken sneaking around a bit--make sure he's with Ron and Hermione when they get off the train. And that they aren't trying to sneak off somewhere. Honestly! Harry is not always an easy boy to watch.


Tonks rolled it up, then changed her mind and burned it. She wrote a quick thank-you-anyway note to Molly and headed down to lunch.

Proudfoot and Savage were sitting at a round table in the middle of the tavern. Savage waved her over impatiently. "Dawlish is getting a report from Robards," she said. "He should be down shortly."

Tonks sat down. "A report? Did something go wrong with the Express in London?"

"I imagine," Proudfoot said, "that the report would inform us about that one way or the other." He spread out a copy of the Daily Prophet and proceeded to ignore Tonks.

She ordered a bowl of stew and a glass of pumpkin juice and tried to think of something to discuss with her colleagues. Nothing came to mind.

Dawlish rumbled downstairs five minutes later, his hands full of scrolls. He dropped them onto the table. "All right," he said, "the Hogwarts Express left the station without incident. The Chosen One appears to be in one piece on their end, and now it's our job to make sure he's properly coddled." His upper lip curled in unconscious distaste. Tonks thought about Harry--skinny, dirty, lonely, and in the dark at Privet Drive--and fought with a strong urge to throttle her supervisor. Dawlish didn't notice. "Proudfoot, I want you on Dementor patrol. They've been quiet lately, but You-Know-Who may decide it's a fine opportunity to frighten students--make a statement to Dumbledore or whatnot. I understand they're particularly nasty to Potter."

"Harry can handle Dementors," Tonks muttered.

"What?"

"He's made a point of learning to handle Dementors," she said again. "That's all."

"Yes, well, I would still prefer that we 'handle' them, as that's one of our responsibilities."

Tonks nodded.

"Savage," Dawlish said, "you take the lake shore. During the Grindelwald war, a supporter tried to make a symbolic attack by overturning the first-years' boats in choppy water. Dumbledore has spoken to the merpeople and asked them to keep watch for disturbances under the surface. You watch for any activity above ground--hexes, magical beasts, and so on. I'll be watching the carriages and those bloody thestrals. I can't imagine why Dumbledore allows those horrors near the students and I don't trust them, but there you have it. Tonks, you'll be overseeing the train, making sure all the little darlings leave safely. Keep an eye out for anyone lurking about who shouldn't be there. Tell me if anyone is, even if nothing happens. I want to know who's taking an interest in Hogwarts students."

"Is anyone keeping track of the train en route?" Tonks asked. "There was an attack on the train during the Grindelwald war as well."

Dawlish rubbed his forehead. "Right. No, Robards didn't have anyone watching the train. Apparently, there's a staff member on board--one Horace Slughorn--but I remember Slughorn, and he's old and slow. Get your broomstick. Fly south, watch it. Savage, you wait an hour--get your breath--and watch the track ahead of it."

Tonks finished her stew quickly, went to her room to grab her broomstick, and left, Disillusioning herself to avoid Muggle notice.

The sky was bright and clear in the north, a bit cloudier as she went south, taking on a decidedly grayish tinge in the more industrial areas. She spotted the train close to two o'clock, between Leicester and Nottingham, and set her pace above it, scanning the country to either side of the track, watching for suspicious movements. It was dull, dreary work with no company, and knowing Savage was perhaps a hundred miles north of her doing the same thing didn't mitigate it.

Passing over Sherwood Forest, she wondered if that was where Remus was living in hiding, among Greyback's wolves. It didn't seem likely--too many people, too small an area. And she didn't know of any magical enclaves there that might hide them. She also didn't think it was riddled with caves as Remus suggested his own forest was, though she wasn't entirely certain. She shook it off. Dreary or not, she had to keep her mind on the task at hand.

The air grew colder as the hours passed and the sky began to darken, and Tonks began to be more concerned about Dementors. She could see their mist in several places--some uncomfortably close to the tracks--and for awhile just outside of Durham, when thick fog rolled up close to the train on both sides for two miles, she was convinced that an attack was imminent. She swooped lower, hovering directly above the engine, but the narrow place opened up without incident, and the train went on into the night.

By the time they reached Hogsmeade station, she was tired and achy, and quite certain that she'd missed something somewhere. She perched on the roof of the shelter, still Disillusioned, as the train came to a stop, and watched the students filing out. To her surprise, Hagrid wasn't there, and another teacher--Tonks thought it was the arithmancy teacher, but she wasn't certain--was calling the first years to the boats.

She frowned. Hagrid? Missing a duty he'd always enjoyed? It didn't add up.

Several small first years tumbled out of the group, gathering around the teacher and laughing. No one seemed troubled.

Tonks watched the luggage being pulled aside to be taken up to the school. Nothing out of place.

Ginny Weasley emerged from the train with handsome boy on her arm. They were chatting amiably. Neville Longbottom and a girl with long, thin blond hair were engaged in what appeared to be an intense conversation. Tonks looked around them; it would make sense for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to be somewhere near Neville and Ginny, as they were all friends, but there was no sign of them. Perhaps Ron and Hermione had prefect duties to attend to, but if that were the case, then where was Harry?

A Slytherin girl with an upturned nose came out directly below Tonks, flanked by a pair of dull looking boys and one nearly illegally good-looking one. "What do you suppose he's doing?" she asked.

The good looking boy shrugged disdainfully. "Probably trying to decide on which nonsensical story he'll tell you next, Parkinson. He'll be along, I imagine. Let's get a carriage."

"I'll wait," Parkinson said, and leaned against the shelter's support right under where Tonks was sitting. The boys went on ahead.

Finally, Tonks spotted a head of brown, bushy hair below, accompanied by another in bright Weasley red. Ron and Hermione. She straightened up, looked through the crowd around them for Harry's black, tousled hair.

No Harry.

Ron and Hermione came close to where she was. Both of them were frowning and casting concerned glances ahead.

"D'you reckon we should wait?" Ron asked.

"I'm not sure. He may have gone ahead with Neville and Ginny."

"Oh, is ickle Potter gone?" Parkinson asked, stepping into their conversation. "Poor baby Harry..."

Hermione turned on her. "I'm sure," she said, "that he's just gone on ahead."

"Well, you can't expect him to bothered waiting around for a mudblood forever."

Ron drew his arm back, and Hermione caught it, leading him toward the carriages.

Parkinson leaned back, looking happier.

A moment later, a tall blond boy came out, smirking. With a start, Tonks realized that it was her cousin Draco Malfoy, Aunt Narcissa's boy. She had never seen him up close before. He took Parkinson's hand. "Shall we?"

"What kept you?"

"I'll tell you later," he said, and led her away.

The platform was empty.

There was still no sign of Harry. Tonks wondered if he had decided to hide from something. If so, it was certainly time to stop.

She climbed down, leaving her broomstick on the roof, and scanned the train, which was preparing to depart. It occurred to her very briefly that she could tell the engineer to wait, but if Harry was hiding, there might be good reason for it, and it would be wise not to call attention to it. She slipped on board.

In all of her years at Hogwarts, she'd never had an opportunity to be on the train when it was empty, and it was slightly eerie. Spilled sweets, crumpled wrappers, a broken luggage rack all gave testimony to the busy crowd that had just left, but now seemed to belong to some other world. Her footsteps echoed.

She poked her head into an open compartment, and didn't see Harry, then remembered that Dumbledore had instructed him not to travel without his Invisibility Cloak. Perfect. That would make it next to impossible to find him if he didn't want to be found.

"Harry?" No answer. She broke the Disillusionment spell so that he could see her if he was here. "Harry?"

Still no answer.

She moved on, checking compartments to either side. There was a lurch as the train prepared to move--she supposed it was releasing its brakes--and something thudded heavily from a compartment three up from where she was. The shades were drawn. No noise followed the thud.

The floor began to vibrate as the engine started.

She opened the door.

There was no sign of Harry, but a piece of parchment on the floor disappeared suspiciously halfway up its width.

She raised her wand and Summoned the Invisibility Cloak.

It flew up into her hands, revealing Harry, frozen in a crouch, his face turned away from her. As he didn't turn when the Cloak flew from him, she deduced that he couldn't.

"Wotcher, Harry," she said, by way of introduction, then quickly broke the Curse. He rolled over and quickly arranged himself into something like a dignified position, but as soon as he looked up, she could see that his face was covered in blood. There was no time to ask about it--a billow of steam covered the windows, and the train began to move. "We'd better get out of here, quickly," she said. "Come on, we'll jump."

She led him back out into the corridor and pushed open a door. The platform was sliding by outside, and she silently prayed that, for once, she wouldn't trip over her own feet and strand them both here. She jumped.

The landing was easy. Harry followed. He stumbled more than she did.

She handed him back his cloak and looked at his face. Now, she could see that his nose was badly broken. "Who did it?"

"Draco Malfoy. Thanks for... well..." He shrugged, looking embarrassed.

Malfoy. Of course. Tonks winced, remembering him swaggering out to his girlfriend. Her dear cousin. Of the cousins to still be alive...

She shook it off. "No problem. I can fix your nose if you stand still."

Harry looked less than thrilled to have her handle the problem, but Mum had been very sure that she knew basic first aid spells, and she fixed it quickly and thoroughly. She looked up the road toward the school. The carriages were quite a distance from here, and she didn't like the thought of Harry being there with only a single protector, out in the open. "You'd better put that cloak back on, and we can walk up to the school," she said, and while he was getting it arranged, she sent her Patronus ahead to let Hagrid know they'd be coming. The gates would undoubtedly be closed by the time they got there.

"Was that a Patronus?" Harry asked.

Surprised, Tonks turned in his general direction, and was a bit disconcerted to find that he'd vanished again, despite the fact that he'd done so at her direction. It hadn't occurred to her that no one had taught him how to communicate with the Order. She'd have to mention it to Dumbledore.

As they walked toward the school, Harry tried to engage her in conversation about how she'd found him and why she was there, and she wanted to join it--she answered him when she could--but the night was too cool, and the mists were close, and Tonks was less than certain that it was a good idea for her to be seen talking to thin air. It was also quite an uncomfortable sensation to do so... and she found, to her sadness, that she couldn't think of anything to say. If she'd had a letter from Remus, perhaps she could have said something about how he was, and opened up a conversation, but the only other thing she could think to talk to Harry about was Sirius, and she didn't think he'd appreciate the reminder.

They reached the school gate fifteen minutes later and Harry promptly tried to open them with magic. Tonks explained some of the new security, much to Harry's consternation. He seemed to be angry with her about it for some obscure reason. In the distance, she saw a bobbing light leave the castle's great front door. Hagrid.

"Well, then," he said, "I suppose I'll just have to sleep out here and wait for morning."

"Someone's coming down for you," she said. "Look."

The bobbing light came closer as Harry took of the Invisibility Cloak, and just as Tonks realized that it was considerably lower than it should have been for Hagrid, Severus Snape came into view. He was sneering unpleasantly.

"Well, well, well," he said. "Nice of you to turn up, Potter..."

Tonks rolled her eyes and wished for the hundredth time since last year that Snape would just grow up. This nonsense was tiring.

"There is no need to wait, Nymphadora," he said, making her given name sound like even more of a nasty joke than it usually did. "Potter is--ah--safe in my hands."

"I meant Hagrid to get the message," she said.

"Hagrid was late for the start-of-term feast, just like Potter here, so I took it instead." He smiled even more nastily. "And incidentally, I was interested to see your new Patronus." Tonks went cold as Snape led Harry inside and shut the gates with an echoing clang. "I think you were better off with the old one." His tone became snide, cutting. "The new one looks weak."

Tonks felt the blood drain from her face. Of all the nasty, vicious... how dare he?

He led Harry back into the dark.

Tonks remained where she was as Harry called a farewell, feeling stunned and wrong-footed. She'd been frightened of Snape as a small girl, and increasingly annoyed by his frequent tempers as she'd grown up, but it hadn't been until she'd got to know Sirius and heard stories Remus had never told her that she'd understood the long-standing childhood grudge he was bearing. Harry'd got the brunt of it, and she thought she'd seen the worst of what was directed at her once in school, when he'd given her detention and called her "Miss Black" in the course of castigating her for some misdeed. But this...

This was a new low.

A bit of white light lit the night, and she looked down to see her Patronus loping back to her. She was surprised; there was no reason for it to have remained corporeal after delivering the message.

She was glad.

She walked back toward Hogsmeade in silence, the ghostly form of Moony beside her most of the way, dissipating only as she reached the edge of town.
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Comments
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 31st, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know you and the others will be watching the Hogsmeade tonight.

Maybe the Hogsmeade station? Or eliminate the "the"?

Snape does find new lows, doesn't he? Excellent writing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh, yes. Hogsmeade station.

:facepalm:
danel4d From: danel4d Date: October 31st, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay canon. And poor Tonks. This is really good - sorry I can't be more coherent. I like how you have Tonks refer to Zabini as nearly illegally good-looking, though.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: October 31st, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry looked less than thrilled to have her handle the problem, but Mum had been very sure that she knew basic first aid spells, and she fixed it quickly and thoroughly.

Should that be Mum had made very sure?

Great episode. It's nice to see what was going through her mind during that long walk with Harry. It occurred to me that the Aurors (now, anyway) are kind of like the Rangers, protecting the Shire while the Hobbits go about their business unaware. There are many things happening in the world that Harry cannot see, and although it seems from his (and our) perspective that quite a lot of dangers get through, they are still protecting him, potentially anyway, from many more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Should that be Mum had made very sure?

:headdesk:

Yup.

That's an interesting comparison with the Rangers, and probably true--Harry has been protected by great forces all along.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: October 31st, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sigh. Her Patronus inadvertently acts just like the real Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... arrives without explanation, hangs around without saying anything, and then disappears. Tonks is going to get a complex!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: October 31st, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice integration of the canon... One thing—Tonks forgot her broom on the roof of the shelter, did she mean to?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops! No. She'll Summon it in a re-write.
inkpenpaper From: inkpenpaper Date: November 1st, 2005 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, you are a far better writer than you have right to be. I was reading that half- expecting the train to be attacked, even though, duh! I know it isn't.

::headdesk::
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2005 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :)
From: _kneebiter Date: November 1st, 2005 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember Slughorn, and he's old and slow.
Is this Dawlish's prejudice talking? Slughorn did, after all, set up that shack to look like it had been attacked and turned himself into a passable if under-upholstered sofa all in the space of a couple of minutes. He can definitely be fast when he needs to.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2005 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's Dawlish's prejudice. There's also a difference between Slughorn's ability to protect himself and an ability to actively defend students against an attack.
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: November 1st, 2005 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)
It's always interesting to see you handle the canon scenes. This one is very smooth; it's hard to tell with HBP still fresh enough in my mind but I think it stands on its own well without echoing canon except where absolutely necessary (Snape's dialog, and some of the dialog with Harry). Stunned and wrong-footed seems exactly how she should be feeling after Snape, but I wonder that she didn't feel stronger anger at seeing Harry bloodied and left helpless on the train.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a good point, about anger at seeing Harry bloodied. I'll work with that in the re-write. Thanks!
clumsymaniac452 From: clumsymaniac452 Date: November 1st, 2005 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
She hasn't seen Malfoy up close before? That's a really nice, cool detail.
And also: Argh! She has the worst workmates ever! They're horrible.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
They are nasty, aren't they? :)

I figure that, while Narcissa may have made an effort to keep in touch with her wayward sister, she wouldn't have wanted her son "polluted" by contact with Ted and Nymphadora.
From: fizzko Date: November 4th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, this comment's a little late, but...oh well. Loved the bit about Sherwood Forest--I'm reading Robin Hood right now, so that part stuck out to me. And the Moony Patronus! Your writing is addictive.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: March 26th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
"I think you were better off with the old one." His tone became snide, cutting. "The new one looks weak."

Every time! EVERY TIME! Jeez Louise, Snape makes me so so mad! No matter how sorry I feel for him after DH, I cannot stop hating him when I read that part!!

I suppose I should have something about what you wrote, though.

She walked back toward Hogsmeade in silence, the ghostly form of Moony beside her most of the way, dissipating only as she reached the edge of town.
loved the ending. :D
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