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Shades, Chapter Thirteen: Scattered, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Thirteen: Scattered, pt. 3
Tonks is feeling stretched out and isn't sleeping because she's having nightmares about Remus. She's trying to keep track of several assingnments for work and the Order at the same time, including investigating gates that lead into the Forbidden Forest (and therefore onto Hogwarts grounds) and tracking Mundungus and his sales of stolen Black artifacts. Her friends try to get her to sleep and relax, but she loses her temper when she notices them "handling" the conversation and censoring themselves about what they think will be sensitive topics. Daffy keeps her from leaving and tells her that he's going to spike her pudding with a sleeping draught.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




As threatened, there was a simple sleeping draught in the pudding. Tonks switched her dish with Daffy's and he switched back. Sanjiv proposed a shell game with the four dishes and set them dancing around one another for two minutes and had them each grab one at the end.

She ended up deeply asleep. The nightmares went on all night, and she didn't feel particularly rested when she woke up on Maddie and Daffy's sofa. For hours in her mind, she'd trailed Remus, who kept vanishing. Sometimes Sirius had been with her, helping, but any time she tried to turn around and see him, he flickered out of sight. At some point in the dream, she became lost in the Forbidden Forest, stumbling into McGonagall's glade by luck only see the gate open and Fenrir Greyback leap through it, teeth bared. Remus followed him and looked pained as he watched the attack, but did nothing to stop it. Sirius was gone by then. She'd fought to a thin waking then--the clock by the bedside read three-seventeen, she noted for no reason--but fallen down into another dream, and this time it had been Remus under attack (sometimes he seemed to be transformed and others, he didn't), and Dumbledore had been leading the attackers. Mum and Dad had their sleeves rolled up and were settled in for the long haul as well, and Daffy had brought along food to watch from the sidelines. Sanjiv kept going in and daring Remus to bite him, while Maddie nattered on about the mysteries of lycanthropy. Each wound they inflicted on Remus showed up on Tonks as well, but she tried to hide them, knowing that she was meant to be ashamed of feeling them. Her cousin Draco appeared for some reason and sneered that it proved Snape was right, and she was weak. "Oh!" he had mocked in a high falsetto. "I'm so sensitive, look at me bleed!" And then he had bled, and the blood had run into the shape of Sirius's face as Draco collapsed to the ground, and Tonks had shaken herself awake and found Maddie watching her with great concern, and she felt guilty about portraying her friends badly in a dream.

"You're crying," Maddie said.

"I slept."

Maddie sat down beside her and held her tight. "You need a dreamless sleep potion. I can't brew one, but I know you can. Will you brew one tonight?"

"I just need to get hold of myself. I'm not like this. This isn't me."

"Will you brew the potion?"

"I can do it."

"Tonks."

"I'll brew the potion."

"And drink it?"

"Tonight. But it's idiotic to make a habit of it. I need to handle it better, that's all." She took a shaky breath. "I'd best get back to Hogsmeade and get ready for work. Thank you. For everything."

"I'm sorry you dreamed badly."

"So am I."

She Apparated back to Hogsmeade and did manage her shift better on a full night's sleep, however bad. She brewed the potion and got a more restful night, but decided the next morning that it would be an utterly wretched idea at this of all times to start depending on sleeping potions, so she just let the nightmares go on for the rest of the week.

During her waking hours, she took as much work as Dawlish could give her, hoping it would simply tire her out. She tracked Dementor sightings around the country side, talking to relatives of victims, and reading Muggle accounts of people who had been mysteriously traumatized. A favorite theory was that a psychopath was going about in dark alleys and forcing victims to watch him do something vile to someone else, which would explain their state. That no one had ever found a physical victim of the criminal seemed a remote fact unable to stop the spread of the rumor. She helped the family that owned Zonko's board up the shop before the first Hogsmeade weekend brought students into town. The man had sat on the front steps and cried, saying he had never dreaded the coming of the students before and wanting to know when the Ministry was going to get rid of the Dementors who had attacked his cousin. Tonks had comforted him as well as she could, and he'd gone back to his relatives in Germany, leaving the once warm and familiar shop an alien shell. After he was gone, Tonks and Proudfoot had put several trapping jinxes around the premises, hoping against hope that it would prove irresistable to a wandering Death Eater looking for a hideout. None of the jinxes ever tripped.

On Friday morning, Dawlish called her to his room. "We need to be ready for some kind of emergency control of the Dementors," he said. "In case they show up while the students are here next week."

"Patronuses work quite well."

"Yes. First resort, of course. I'd like alternatives as well, though. I want you to go out to Azkaban and talk to the head human guard. Name of"--he squinted at a piece of parchment--"Leonora Graves. Find out what their emergency measures were. They may not have been terribly effective, but any port in a storm, you know."

"I don't think--"

"Not a request."

Tonks nodded and went back to get her broom. She hadn't gone out to Azkaban since her training, and then she'd been accompanied at all times by Mad-Eye. She'd seen no prisoners, and found the scant human administration particularly unhelpful. She doubted there would be any value whatsoever to a trip out there, but she supposed it was at least a change of pace, and the air over the North Sea was, to put it mildly, bracing. Furthermore, it occurred to her as she flew that she might be able to interview her uncles--Lucius Malfoy and Rodolphus Lestrange--to see if either of them had information he was willing to share about where Bellatrix might try to purchase Dung's stolen property. She had no idea how to bring this up, but she intended to try.

By the time she got there--close to noon--her arms were numb up to the elbows, and she let a warming charm thaw them while she spoke to Graves. The woman was, at least, willing to share their methods, but as Tonks had suspected, most of the spells they'd used were cruder than the Patronus charm. The sea had been the greatest control over them.

"Mostly," she said, "we'd just Apparate away from them if they were getting sprightly around us. As long as you're not in a cell, you can get around the island."

"And the prisoners who hadn't been sentenced to a kiss?"

"Well, they were in their cells, weren't they? The Dementors couldn't go through the bars very well."

"And you just allowed them to be terrorized if the Dementors were... feeling sprightly?"

"They were mostly past that point, Miss. Couldn't feel much fear, if you take my meaning. These new ones could still feel it, but the Dementors are gone now." She sighed, seeming quite saddened by this information.

"Are any of them coming around now that the Dementors are gone?"

"Some. A few more all the time. They talk quite a lot more now. The ones that were out for a time are almost normal." She shuddered. "Or as normal as the maniacs ever are. Dolohov makes the most obscene threats when we patrol the corridors. We never had to do that before." She frowned, again looking horribly dissatisfied at the new state of affairs, in which she had to see her charges. Tonks supposed she was glad they hadn't always--Sirius could hardly have kept his transformations secret if human workers had made a habit of roaming outside the cells.

"Did they have any way of handling the Dementors?" she asked, seeing a way to get in and speak to them.

"I should think not, Miss!"

"May I speak to them?"

Graves looked stunned. "You're an Auror, Miss. You can do as you like. But it won't do a bit of good. Prisoners know nothing about fighting the Dementors. That would have made them useless!"

"Will you show me to their cells, and then leave us to talk?"

"You should have a guard with you."

"They're in their cells, aren't they? I can keep my wand away from them."

Dubiously, Graves stood up and led her out of the tiny front room and down into the dungeon-like labyrinth of the prison. "We don't use the top level much," she said, breezing past empty cells. "Just for light matters, and they don't really send people here for light matters anymore." She lit her wand (indicating that Tonks should do the same) and headed down a narrow staircase. Damp walls dripped filthy water onto the floor. Tonks could hear voices coming from some cells, many just moaning, but others forming words, often obscene. They passed a long, blank section of wall with a single empty cell set into it. "That was Sirius Black's cell," Graves said. "We don't fill it, on account of still not knowing how he got out of it. Someone else might be able to."

Tonks marveled at how little of the fallout of the battle of the Department of Mysteries the woman seemed to have absorbed, and as she passed the cell, she looked into it. It was dank and dark and miserable.

Then they were past it and into a more populated area. There would be two or three cells with slack-faced occupants, interspersed with livelier ones, and abruptly as they rounded a corner, an inmate came rushing forward. "We're out of here soon, you worthless bint!"

"Shut up, Lestrange," Graves said, leveling her wand at him. "Or I'll bind your tongue for another day."

Rabastan Lestrange rolled his eyes and went to the back of his cell, laughing. Others joined, from a distance.

"Well, we're here," Graves told Tonks. "Are you sure you don't want me to stay?"

"I'm sure."

"Right. Well, you've met Rabastan here. His brother is around the corner and up a bit. Rookwood is around in the other direction."

"And Lucius Malfoy?"

"He wasn't here when the Dementors were, Miss. I still can't believe it."

"Where is he?"

She pointed vaguely up past the intersection of two corridors. "The more wide-awake ones are in this section. Five to six cells apart. They can hear noises, but they can't talk to one another. We're careful about that."

From the snort of derision on her left, Tonks surmised that Rabastan was not impressed with the level of their care.

Graves left.

Tonks turned to Rabastan. "I see the Dementors are wearing off of you."

He spat throught he bars.

She rolled her eyes and went around the corner in the direction Graves had indicated for Rodolphus, and found him crouched in front of the bars, looking coiled and ready to leap. His eyes were closed.

"Bella?" he whispered. "Bella, you've come?"

"Sorry," Tonks said. "It's just me."

He looked up and stood with a disgusted grunt. "The little half-blood freak. Andromeda's monster."

"I usually go by Tonks," she said and leaned against the far wall, out of reach of his long arms.

"You look like Bella," he said, sounding disgusted. "The hair's wrong, but the face is the same. You have no right. You smell like her." He reached through the bars, grasping at her and sniffing the air. "No right to look like her. Smell like her. No right at all."

"Having smelled Bellatrix recently, I assure you that I'll shower as soon as I get home."

"You've seen her? You've seen my Bella?"

"Not since the Department of Mysteries. Though I've been looking for her. I imagine you'd like to see her again?"

"Mmm..." Rodolphus made an obscene rocking motion, and Tonks looked away from him.

"I don't suppose you'd want to tell me where I could find her to bring her to you? Where I might meet her?"

"The sky. In the thunderclouds. In the whirlwind. In the lightning and the floods." His voice dropped to a growl. "BELLA. Bella, Bella, Bella..." His arm swept at Tonks in a lazy way, then he fell back into his cell.

"He'll tell you nothing useful."

Tonks glanced toward the voice, coming from the next block of cells. "Uncle Lucius?"

Silence. "You will never address me in such a manner again."

"Bella..." Rodolphus growled again, and Tonks decided he was a lost cause. She headed down to the corner, slipped around it, and found herself looking at Lucius Malfoy.

He was dressed in a shabby gray prison robe, but sitting perfectly calmly on the edge of his bed, smoothing his fingernails with a rough stone. He looked like a bad actor in a play about prison that had been written by someone who had never visited one. He nodded curtly to her. "You're looking well, Miss Tonks."

"As are you, Mr. Malfoy."

"You're trying to find Bellatrix."

"Of course I am."

He laughed. "You'll have no luck. Certainly not with Rodolphus. He was not, shall we say, N.E.W.T. material in any subject. As far as he's concerned, Bellatrix is a goddess."

"And you?"

"She's my wife's sister. And a loyal follower of the Dark Lord. As I intend to be."

"Yes, we noticed how little of the information you gave us last year turned out to have anything to do with reality. Quite a good time waster, though."

"Shacklebolt actually trusted what I said?" He laughed. "Well, that's an accomplishment."

"He thought it worth looking into."

"Has your mother seen my wife? I know she would turn to her sisters, and she is certainly not fool enough to have Bellatrix with her still."

Tonks wasn't entirely sure of this--any bond that would have Mum talking to Narcissa after learning that Narcissa had left her barren was probably strong enough to overcome pragmatic objections about safety, even for Slytherins. "Yes," she said. "Narcissa has been to see Mum."

Lucius took a deep breath. "She is well?"

"She's lonely and quite sad, as I understand it."

"And money? She is comfortable?"

"I don't know anything about that."

"Is there word of my son?"

"He's at Hogwarts. I've heard nothing."

"Nothing," Lucius repeated, stunned. "Nothing."

"I believe Bellatrix is trying to reacquire stolen Black family property. Where would she look?"

It was a gamble, being direct, but Lucius just smiled. "Tit for tat, is it, Miss Tonks? You give me next to no information about those I love, and I'm to respond by handing you the Dark Lord's devoted acolyte? I think not. But a worthy approach. You should have witheld the information until I'd told you what you wanted to know. I've had none at all. I wanted it more than you did. Now you have no bargaining position."

"Well, I did see Draco on the night the Hogwarts Express came in. He'd had an encounter with Harry Potter."

Lucius looked at her warily. "What sort of encounter?"

"You shouldn't have taught me until I'd told you everything."

"She would work through someone. She's mad, but not a complete idiot. I imagine she would send a Death Eater who has never been identified."

"Like?"

He shook his finger at her. "My son," he reminded her. "You mentioned my son."

Tonks gritted her teeth, wishing she hadn't brought the subject up, belatedly feeling guilty for using it as a bargaining chip. It was low. "He broke Harry's nose."

Lucius lay back on his bed and laughed merrily. "Not at all subtle, my Draco. He's got a bit of Bellatrix in him, I think."

"I don't doubt it."

He sat up. "I don't know who Bella would use. If she uses my wife, please send her here and allow me to kill her myself. It would do no harm. But I'm certain Narcissa is wiser than that." He grinned. "Of course, Bella's quite accomplished with the Imperius Curse. She could use anyone she wanted. She could use your mother. What could be more natural than the disowned child trying to steal back her heritage? Perhaps I'll see Andromeda here instead."

"Mum can deal with the Imperius Curse." Tonks turned to go.

"It won't be a long chain of people," Lucius said. "Bellatrix--if she is doing this--will want to keep the number of involved persons small. She doesn't want filthy hands all over her treasures, you know."

Tonks nodded and started to walk away. She didn't turn, but she did stop. "Narcissa is unhappy because she loves you."

"I don't need you to tell me that, and you'll have nothing in return for it."

"I wasn't asking for anything. She's my aunt. And I thought she'd want you to be told. Though I haven't spoken to her. I just... assume that she would want you to know."

Lucius said nothing more. Tonks heard him breathing steadily as she left him behind.

Rodolphus was still making gutteral sounds as she passed his corridor, and Rabastan laughed at her brutally as she went by his cell. She finally came up the long blank wall with its single cell door--the dank, miserable room where Sirius had spent twelve years.

She went inside.

It was as sparse as Lucius's cell, with a bowed-in bed off to one side and a chamber-pot in the corner. She let the light from her wand play over the walls, wondering if he'd ever tried to carve his name or leave a mark, finding nothing. She sat down on the bed, in the place where it was most bowed, thinking that he had sat here the most, looking at the damp walls, watching the Dementors glide by. Maybe he'd curled up here as a dog, his claws tearing at the thin canvas of the mattress from time to time. Her hand traveled over the cloth, and her fingers rolled over something thin. She looked down.

A single black hair.

Maybe it was from his head, maybe it was from Padfoot. She didn't care. Either way, it was some solid evidence that there had been a man called Sirius Black, and that he'd been here in this place. She put it in her pocket, then just sat with her back to the stone wall for a long time.

He must have slipped between the bars across the way--she slipped out the door--and gone down the corridor, maybe weaving between Dementors, down to the narrow, barred window at the far end. She went to it. The jump down to the ground was nearly fifteen feet, and the collar of land was very narrow before an even longer jump down to the sea.

But he had done it.

He'd got away from the Dementors, because he had to. Because he had a job to do, a person who needed him without even knowing it.

"Miss?"

She turned. Leonora Graves was waiting at the top of the staircase that led up to the adminstrative offices. Tonks went up, thanked her for her time, then got her broom and headed for home.

There were no nightmares that night.
24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: bangcollision Date: December 23rd, 2005 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the relationship between Tonks and Lucius. They have this sort of friendly type of dislike and it's all so complicated but wonderfully written. I adore the side of him you show, him wanting to know about his son and wife and how they're doing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 23rd, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! He was certainly a more pleasant conversationalist than Rodo to write.
From: lexie_b Date: December 23rd, 2005 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Your stories are amazing - if you don't do this professionally, you should :D I love, love, love your Tonks characterisation.

One thing I caught: "I don't anything about that." Is 'know' missing?

Brilliance :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 23rd, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Got it, thanks. I must have scanned over that sentence six times without noticing that it was missing a word!
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: December 23rd, 2005 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I really, really love the ending here.

Am I detecting a streak of sadism coming from Graves, or is she just bent out of shape because she's got more work?
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: December 23rd, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think Graves is a sadist. I think she's a bored, lazy bureaucrat who finally has to work for her galleons and doesn't like it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 23rd, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's about it. Now she has to see the prisoners. The horrors! She might have a sadistic thoought or two and she's not overconcerned about prisoners who happen to get hurt, but she's not actually doing anything, which is why Rabastan just laughs at her when she threatens him--he's been around Voldemort; he's not afraid of a Ministry bureaucrat.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: December 23rd, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Tonks' friends; they're very real people. I'm not so fond of Graves, but she's recognisable, too! The complicated feelings Tonks has for her family really come through well in this chapter, too.

One minor thing - I'm pretty sure it's the "Imperius" not Imperious Curse...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 23rd, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh. That's what comes of reading too much deleterius--I pick up Suespelling!
sunsethill From: sunsethill Date: December 23rd, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I went to read this section, I realized that I had missed Part II, so I had TWO parts to read. That was really nice.

What I like about this section is how well you illustrate that, even though they are Death Eaters, the Malfoy family is a loving family. It was one of JKR's more interesting developments in HBP, and you have done a great job of capturing that dynamic in this section.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 23rd, 2005 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was more or less a Malfoy detractor before HBP--I didn't think Draco had much of import to do for the story, and while I assumed they weren't an abusive family, I wasn't interested in them as such. But HBP gave us a Malfoy family as devoted to one another as the Weasleys are, and sticking together and helping each other in a time of trouble. It also gave us a Narcissa with a concern other than herself and a Draco who, in the end, couldn't commit the evil act he set out to. So yeah... now, I'm interested.
sunsethill From: sunsethill Date: December 26th, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's exactly what I was meaning. Most fanfiction portrayed the Malfoys exactly as you describe. I have always secretly liked Redeemed!Draco, but assumed from JKR's comments that Draco would remain a nasty piece of work, but HBP opened up several interesting possibilities.
faeriemaiden From: faeriemaiden Date: December 23rd, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, new Shades! This and another fanfic update made my rather dreary day. ^-^

I really love your dreams. They are twisted and nonsensical enough to seem like real dreams, but they have layers, they move the story along well, and this one in particular showed (to me, at least) just how much Tonks seems to be falling apart, despite her resolve.

I also really enjoyed seeing inside Azkaban. One of the things I've really enjoyed about your stories is that you often take us into places that Rowling's mentioned or hinted about, but that we never really got to experience ourselves. I love, love, love the complicated dynamics of Tonks' extended family, by the way. I, too, was very intruiged by the Malfoys after Half-Blood Prince (and Draco, who I automatically hated from the beginning because of his status with the fangirls).
faeriemaiden From: faeriemaiden Date: December 24th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I used the word "really" far too many times in that comment. *inserts slew of arbitrary synonyms* *headdesk*
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 24th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)
That bit about Sirius... *low whistle* Right up there with Ashavah, it is.

Ditto on Lucius.

That punishment Graves is threatening Rabastan with looks a lot like Langlock. Better change it.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 24th, 2005 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
"Langlock" sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place it. Where's it from? (I found out after two years that I used a description of Harry--"His face looked naked without his glasses"--that was straight out of It. Easy to do.)
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 24th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Langlock is the HBP spell that glues the victim's tongue to the roof of his mouth.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 24th, 2005 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Well, Graves is probably about Marauder age. She could have picked it up the same way everyone apparently picked up Levicorpus.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: December 24th, 2005 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Isn't that a hex that Harry learned in the potions book?
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: December 24th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow... that was amazing. Lucius and Tonks's interaction is so reminiscent of Clarice Starling/Hannibal Lecter, with Rodo acting as Miggs.. I shivered. And there was a touch of genius in the way you had Tonks retrace Sirius's steps. He'd got away from the Dementors, because he had to. Because he had a job to do, a person who needed him without even knowing it. That line just slayed me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 24th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
so reminiscent of Clarice Starling/Hannibal Lecter
I know... I realized that halfway through writing it and kind of thought, "Should I?" But by then, I was committed, so I'm glad it worked as an homage instead just a swipe!

The more I'm writing Tonks, the more I think it was wrong of Remus in Shifts to not take her along when he said goodbye to Sirius, because she's extremely short on closure. He had a longer history with Sirius than she did, but they'd been taking care of him together!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: December 24th, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, Fern, when Lucius says "Tit for tat, Ms Tonks?" - I think that should be "quid pro quo" rather than "tit for tat", which is usually said in the context of revenge or retaliation. You probably chose not to say "quid pro quo" because of the Silence of the Lambs thing, right? :) I don't know if there is a way around it.. Maybe you could have Lucius scoff at Tonks for expecting him to give up information, and Tonks could say, "Fair exchange is no robbery". Or something.
tigermouse88 From: tigermouse88 Date: December 25th, 2005 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Long-time lurker, rare poster poking her head out here - I've been following Shifts and Shades from the very beginning, and must confess myself entirely hooked. I just friended you, by the way - hope that's OK.

I really enjoy seeing the little things you weave into Tonks' arc for HBP - like visiting Sirius' cell – that buffer her downward spiral just enough to keep her from going over the edge. Makes it all seem so real, somehow, when it isn't just a one-way ride to emotional rock bottom. I have an urge to sit her and Remus down with a couple of mugs of the season's finest hot chocolate and marshmallows, poor souls - with all they're going through, they sure need it.

Oh, and the interludes are awesome. You really do write the best Remus in town, and your Greyback is just so horrible and fascinating...love it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 25th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! (And I have yet to mind a friend.)
24 comments or Leave a comment