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Shades, Chapter Fourteen: Self-Control, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Fourteen: Self-Control, pt. 2
Tonks has gone back to London for time off, but it's not proving very restful. Her parents are distracted by a medical emergency around the world from them, a skittish Remus is both watching her and telling her to stay away, and her dear Aunt Narcissa goes into the information-sharing business, passing on salacious gossip about what Remus has been up to.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Mum and Dad were gone by sunrise on Friday, and when Tonks woke up (after another interrupted night of sleep), she found a large breakfast and a note to have some fun. Dad had left the film listings from the newspaper. He'd circled one that seemed to be about aliens and written, I hear this is fun, but you know Mum and explosions. I'll take you later, if you don't decide to go alone. Tonks drew a smiling face beside it and circled a time, though she'd never felt less like watching aliens destroy the world. It would be good to spend some time with Dad. He and Mum had asked her about her behavior with Narcissa, but she hadn't felt like explaining it--she wasn't sure she could put her thoughts together--so she'd just asked them to play along. She suspected that he planned to press her for information later, and she supposed she'd give it to him. He was good at getting her to organize her thoughts.

After she'd eaten, she made brief pass at shopping and an even briefer one at the British Museum--nothing in either place seemed able to draw her attention away from that headline for more than a minute or two--then finally gave up and took the tube to Grimmauld Place just after noon. Kingsley, who was in the kitchen when she got there, looked up without much surprise. He was dressed in Muggle business clothes again. "I knew Mad-Eye'd end up getting you, no matter what he promised," he said. "Where is he, anyway?"

Tonks froze. "Mad-Eye? What?"

"You mean he didn't come for you?"

"No. McGonagall sent me, about Dung. Why would Mad-Eye be coming to get me, and why would he have promised not to?" She closed her eyes. "Never mind. Where is he?"

"Mad-Eye?" Kingsley asked unconvincingly.

"Remus. Where is he?"

"Third floor guest room. The big one. Mad-Eye hexed him asleep two hours ago." Kingsley shook his head. "He doesn't want to see you, though. He was pretty clear about that."

"I know what he's clear about."

"Yes, well... I need to get back to my post. Moody should be here this afternoon, up through the evening, if you want to talk to him. I was just stopping in to pick up my lunch. I... Tonks, you might want to think clearly about it. I don't know what's happened with him, but he--"

"I know what's happened, and I know what he doesn't want." She took a deep breath. "Thank you for worrying, really. I'm glad--and I don't mean it sarcastically--that so many people care. But I have to do this my way. No one else's way is making a damned bit of difference."

She went up the stairs slowly, skirting the screens around Auntie's portrait by a wide margin, and made her way to the far end of the third floor corridor. The door was shut, but not locked. She went in.

Remus was asleep face down on top of the covers, a crocheted blanket tossed loosely over his bare back, his hands resting in curled claws to either side of his head. Tonks sat down beside the bed and took his right hand in both of hers. In sleep, his fingers curled easily and comfortably around her own. She kissed them, then laid her head down on the pillow beside him. In the peace and quiet, here at home, her mind settled somewhat, and after awhile, despite the uncomfortable position, she slept. At some indefinable point, she felt his hands in her hair, and he drew her to him. She curled up beside him on the bed, and she knew nothing until late in the afternoon, when a frantic shove awakened her and she found him standing beside the bed, his arms crossed, shivering.

"What are you doing here? I told Mad-Eye not to bring you."

Tonks sat up. "I know. And he didn't. I came on my own."

He just looked at her. "I thought you were a dream. When I reached for you. I always dream you're there."

"I was there this time." She held out her arms, and he came to her, sat across the bed from her, took her hands. She squeezed his fingers. "I'm sorry if you really didn't want me here. I know I shouldn't assume... I just couldn't think of anything else to do."

"I don't want you here."

She looked down. "All right."

"I need you here," he said, quickly and softly. He didn't look at her.

"I know about the forest warden. I know what Greyback did to you."

"How... Dumbledore...?"

"Had nothing to do with it. Greyback seems to be one of my Aunt Narcissa's gossip mates."

He grimaced, turning his head away from her and trying to pull his hands away. She didn't let him. "Did he tell her that I begged for it? Crawled on my belly and..."

She touched the side of his face and ran her fingers through his hair. "I don't know how much he told her. But I know how wolves behave."

"I'm not--"

"I studied. I've read everything there is. There's never been any evidence that--"

"It's me, Dora. I did that. I did it. I did it."

She moved forward and put her arms around him, holding his head against her chest. "Greyback did that to you, Remus. You said it yourself. He knows more about lycantrhropy than you do. And he used that against you."

"He picked her because she helped me. She cleared the campers away."

"You crossed him, and he hurt you for it."

"He put me in my place."

"He's trying to force you into the place he wants you."

"He's succeeded." He kissed her throat, then pulled away from her and stood up, facing away from her. A wide, ragged scar from some long ago calamity twisted up from his hipbone to the middle of his back. "Dumbledore knows. He has Moody checking in on me every few days now. This time, Moody grabbed me and side-along Apparated me back here."

"Why?"

He didn't answer. "I don't know why I went out yesterday. I didn't know you were in town. I'd just got in. Moody found me again and brought me back. I'm beginning to feel like they've mistaken me for Sirius and are keeping me prisoner here. And if I don't get back soon, Greyback will make someone else pay."

"You're sure?"

"I can disappear for a few days between moons. And Greyback was gone himself. But if he thinks I've left the pack, or that I'm off sharing secrets, he'll..." He didn't finish.

"We can protect the people around you. The Order can--"

"The pups."

"What?"

"The children. Greyback has total control over them. I couldn't get you to where they are, not with any degree of certainty. Both times I've been there, I've been led. I've tried to distance myself, but I don't think Greyback is fooled." He raised his hands and rubbed his knuckles against his eyes, a small boy trying to wake himself up in the morning. "I'm trapped. I'm trapped, Dora."

"Then maybe we should work on getting them out of there."

Remus stood very still. "What? Where would they go? Their parents are dead or don't want them anymore. And Greyback would follow them."

"We can work on it," Tonks repeated.

"I don't want you near it."

"So you've said."

"So I mean." He turned on her and grabbed her upper arms, pulling her roughly to him. "Do you know what he'll do to you? He won't just kill you. And I don't want to wake up with a full belly and find you torn up outside a cave." She could feel his breath on her lips, quick and sharp. He kissed her. "I love you," he said. "God, how I love you." He let go of her and went across the room. "Please do as I ask."

"No."

"Dora..."

"I'm not a child, Remus. And you are not responsible for me. Maybe I'm worried about them, as well. And in case you've forgotten, it's my job to worry about things like this."

"Dora, please..."

"I'll keep my distance from you when I can, but don't try to keep me from helping other people. Remus, I may be able to help. I may be able to help them. I don't know how, but I may."

He wiped at his face and took a few helpless deep breaths. "I..."

"What?"

"Talk to Bill. Bill's been trying to help. If you can... don't. Don't. Stay away."

"We've covered that already." She got up and went to him. The skin of his back was warm and dry, and he shivered when she touched him. "I'll talk to Bill and see what I can do."

He closed his eyes and nodded. "Do it carefully, Dora. Don't let Greyback connect either of you to the other."

"That, I'll agree to."

He nodded again. "Good, yes. Er, Dora... would you agree to... go to the kitchen now?"

"I beg your... oh. Right. I need to talk to Moody anyway. He should be here by now." She went to the door. "Remus, the last thing in the world I want is for you to go back there. I hate this more than you imagine. But I know you can do it. I know you can do it without letting Greyback win."

"He's already won. He won when I was six years old. Everything my parents did, everything I've done... it's trying to make it a draw. And I'll never get there." He looked over his shoulder. "Thank you for coming to me," he said. "I'll go back. I'll do my best. But I've already lost, Dora. Don't start to imagine I can win. It will only drive you mad."

"Come down and join us," Tonks said. "You could probably stand to think about something else for a bit."

He nodded, and she went downstairs.
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Comments
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: December 31st, 2005 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
[sob]

You're ripping my heart out, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Am I sadistic for saying, "Oh, good"? ;)

Thanks.
_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: December 31st, 2005 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
*jawdrop*

Oh my. I was happy and sad at the same time reading this chapter...happy because we finally got Remus/Dora interaction, but sad because of...everything. I've probably said this a bajillion times already, but I'll say it again -- poor Remus. I wish he'd just stay away from the pack and stop caring about everyone but Dora. *sigh*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish he'd just stay away from the pack and stop caring about everyone but Dora.

It's a backhanded compliment of sorts, I guess, that he considers her the one who needs his care least--that he thinks of her as more or less together--but damn, you're right.
From: bangcollision Date: December 31st, 2005 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my god Remus... *teary*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel awful for him. Like Ellen (below), I want to smack some sense into him, but I do feel bad for him.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 31st, 2005 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Remus and I want to smack him. Hard.

No, actually, I want to explain a few key concepts about abuse to him. Major ones - Abusers blame the victim. Abusers make the victim think he asked for it. Abusers want to make the victim feel dehumanized.

Also, wolves do not wake up in the morning and go into an emotional tailspin when they've found out what they've eaten. Could somebody pound this concept very hard into Remus' skull?

Final, big one: LEARNED HELPLESSNESS!

Abusers want the victim to feel helpless or to only see a range of actions within the area the abuser controls.

Remus needs to remind himself -

1. He is in the pack to bring Greyback down. Rescuing the other members of the pack would be a nice plus, but he is there to STOP Greyback and Voldemort - and NOTHING that has happened weakens his ability to do that. In fact, if Greyback weren't too INSIGNIFICANT in comparison to the creep he lets hold his leash and whose boots he licks, Remus is more than ready to bring down that mangy, moth eaten, flea ridden piece of slime. If he insists on thinking of himself as the wolf, he should remind himself he's biding his time before bringing down this particular lame excuse of an alpha.

2. Without the pack brainwashed to support him, Greyback wouldn't last five minutes against Remus who is younger and can apparate during a fight.

3. Remus' goals have been altered by the presence of the pups. He has added the goals of removing them from Greyback's influence and getting them to a safe place. He could accomplish that goal NOW if he weren't also trying to bring down Voldemort. Don't tell me that the Order couldn't put a plan together to get in, grab the kids, and get out. Removing the Greyback brainwashing might be harder under those circumstances, but them's the breaks.

Er, this isn't to say that I'm not nearly as overwhelmed as Remus at the idea of accomplishing all these goals. But, when dealing with a situation like this, passive acceptance is a very bad place to be. I don't know how anyone's going to ram it through his thick head, but he needs to stop seeing himself as helpless or trapped. He could walk away from Greyback NOW if he wanted. He's got to remember that he's chosen not to and that he's chosen not to for good reasons - reasons of his own, not Greyback's.

Uhm, and I suppose it's fairly obvious I'm the kind of person who deals with feelings of helplessness by getting mad.

Oh, and great writing. Don't think I'd be frothing at the mouth like this if you hadn't drawn me in.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup.

I've been doing some reading on Stockholm Syndrome for this, and it never ceases to anger me when abusers/kidnappers/terrorists--Greyback fits in all three categories--are able to play this so well. I can't bear Stockholmed!Remus too long, so I'm going to try and get his plot in better order soon, but meanwhile, I'm very angry at Greyback myself. And the thing is, I re-read Remus's description of him during the Christmas scene at the Burrow, and it sounds like this is exactly what he's doing to the others, even if it's not including Remus.

I think one necessary thing would be for him to be away from the pack a lot more than he is, even if he continues to go back.

wolves do not wake up in the morning and go into an emotional tailspin when they've found out what they've eaten. Could somebody pound this concept very hard into Remus' skull?

Tonks is trying, and I expect everyone who talks to him about it has tried, but in some ways, it's the fact that he's not separating himself from himself transformed (that he's anthropomorphizing the wolf as much as dehumanizing himself) that's causing him such trouble.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: December 31st, 2005 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, ditto the above... especially the first paragraph. I keep hoping I'll have something really brilliant and terrifically constructive to say, but I can never seem to come up with much more than "awesome, as usual". :)
keestone From: keestone Date: December 31st, 2005 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Gripping stuff. I just want to give your Remus a big hug. This seems to be a pretty common sentiment. :)

I think there's a typo here: "Mad-Eye found hexed him asleep two hours ago." It's possible I'm just too tired to make sense of it, but I don't think so.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope, not you. Me changing my mind about what Kingsley was going to say (started out as "Mad-Eye found him yesterday..." and changed to Mad-Eye hexed him to sleep") and not deleting enough words.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: December 31st, 2005 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Remus. :( I hate to see him so... damaged by all this but at the same time, this is exactly how I can see him reacting to these circumstances. He needs to get out of there before it cracks him. Alas, I know that's not to be for quite a while...:(

And poor Tonks too - it must be horrendous for her to see the man she loves in such a state. :(

So agonising to read but really well written. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's got to get it in perspective, anyway, and get more human contact away from Greyback than he does! He's chosen the dumbest way possible to handle the situation.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: December 31st, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
To be honest, I disagree with Tonks - Remus shouldn't go back, in my opinion.

Even if nobody else dies... what would happen if he were caught? He's currently living with the knowledge of where Greyback is, and not telling anyone. Yes, it's to try and get them on their side, but it is still hiding a criminal, something I admit I'm not easy with. It seems so Snape-ish, and we know where Snape went.

Don't worry, I know this is canon, and I know you may feel differently. I'm just saying, I very heavily disagree with Tonks here.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's the dilemma faced by any spy--do you stop the minor bad guy doing what he's doing, or do you stay on the inside and try to foil his plans in the long term?

I think he does need to go back, partly because he canonically is there at least through Christmas, mostly because he's not the only one whose brain Greyback is playing with, and he has a better chance than anyone else to get through to the others and take them away from Greyback. Without a voice going to them, chances are that taking Greyback out would end up with just another one of the wolves under his thrall becoming the new Alpha. I do, however, have great sympathy with the idea that, Jeez, they know where this psychopath is... can't they, at the very least, grab him and toss him in Azkaban? It's like those mob stings they always have on Law and Order, where the feds come in and tell the D.A. not to prosecute a murderer, because they're trying to bring down a whole ring. You can logically agree that the long-term goal is admirable, but the sense of justice won't have it.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: December 31st, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
As others have said above, I have real trouble thinking of coherent things to say when I comment/review your updates! Suffice to say, then, that I think the psychological battle Remus is fighting are so well-written; it's almost painful to read. My heart goes out to Tonks here, and I shall be interested to see if she can continue to maintain her composure and do her job well as she gets closer in her investigation Greyback's pack.

So good :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, we know she slips in March when the little boy dies, but other than that, there's no suggestion that her job slips, and I'd rather not have her continue slipping. I actually think that getting closer to what's going on--feeling like she has more control, even if it's illusory--is likely to help her keep her feet on the ground.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: December 31st, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, poor Remus! I'm glad I read the other responses first, as I couldn't remember the name of what I'd been thinking -- the Stockholm Syndrome -- but it popped into my head almost immediately when Remus began speaking.

It also pointed out to me a powerful difference between Harry and Remus -- even though one's childhood situation is so powerfully inverse/inverted to the other's. After all that's happened to him, Harry still doesn't think he "deserves" it, which is desperately what Remus needs to hear (and believe once he hears it). Remus wouldn't let one of his students abuse themselves in the fashion he does. Professor, heal thyself.

Brilliant chapter, Fern. Powerfully painful.

Minor quibble:
"Third floor guest room. The big one. Mad-Eye found hexed him asleep two hours ago." Kingsley shook his head. "He doesn't want to see you, though. He was pretty clear about that."
Is there something missing between "found" and "hexed"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remus wouldn't let one of his students abuse themselves in the fashion he does.

Yeah... which is why it might be a good idea for him to spend more time with the children than he is. How many times would he listen to another child werewolf coming up with this stuff before he started saying, "Don't be silly, it's not your fault..."?
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: December 31st, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is utterly breaking my heart. Only the knowledge that Remus and Dora get back together at the end of HBP is giving me hope.

But even if I didn't know it, I'd read anyway.

This story is amazing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad that their feelings are coming through.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: December 31st, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful as always Fern, but I hate seeing Remus like this :(
jadeddiva From: jadeddiva Date: December 31st, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah! I love this, because I'm just wanting them to be together so badly, and that is what makes a good story - the fact that I'm caring so much :)
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: December 31st, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm with everyone else in that I hate seeing Remus like this and I really want to give him a hut (after slapping some sense into him first), but I hope that somewhere along the way he will realize what Tonks has been through because of him and show some appreciation. My big issue with Remus in book six is that he seems to be acting rather self-centered--it's not as if he doesn't have an excuse (and Greyback is manipulating him like crazy, at least in your version), but it annoys me nonetheless how he seems to downplay what Tonks goes through.

Oh, and I've been reading this for ages without commenting, and I just want to say that I'm in awe of your writing. It makes my day every time I see that you've updated.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 1st, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Because it's true, silly man.

No kidding! Now, if he could just take the next step and admit that she needs him...

Thanks so much for all the catch-up comments. Nice to get lots of new ones at the same time. :D
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