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Shades, Chapter Fifteen: Going to Ground, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Fifteen: Going to Ground, pt. 2
Well, I'm not done with my very-soon-due gen ficathon challenge (I'm over the word requirement, but the story is going along at its own stately pace), I haven't written anything on the original stuff, so hey, I think I'll do a Shades post. :p

Tonks has seen Remus and he's not doing well, but she had an alarming realization that Narcissa may have been putting her parents in danger, so she talked them into going to Sri Lanka--where Andromeda's medical help is needed anyway--to be safe. (Sri Lanka in 1996=/=most people's idea of safe, but it's Greyback free and probably off Voldemort's radar until he secures the British magical world's surrender or destruction.) She's supposed to be on guard during the Hogsmeade weekend, but has also learned that Dung is likely to be there trying to sell Black artifacts, and she's supposed to watch for him. Oh, and watch for Harry, who has no idea what's going on and might flip out. And her bosses at the Ministry wouldn't much like her letting Dung go to wherever he's going, so she has to keep it from them.

That in mind, it's canon-time.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"I visited Minerva McGonagall this afternoon," Dawlish announced on Friday evening. "I also spoke to the caretaker, the Squib fellow--"

"Filch," Tonks filled in.

"Yes," Dawlish said absently, as though nothing could be less important than knowing the man's name. "Finch. Right. He'll see to it that the students don't bring anything out of the castle that they shouldn't. Plenty of things stored there that could be mixed with items they can find here to cause trouble."

"That's good."

"Glad you approve," Proudfoot sneered.

Tonks didn't bother answering. "We'll want to shore up any of the entrances to Zonko's. I don't want to waste time chasing them out of there. Or having them trip our sensors."

"What would they want in there?"

"An empty building and a lot of teenagers who usually have a lot of eyes on them?"

"Oh," Dawlish sputtered. "Right, yes. Of course. I'll reinforce those spells tonight."

"They don't go up to the Shrieking Shack," Savage said. "And that's been empty practically since it was built, except for whatever moved in there."

"Doesn't it strike anyone as odd that we haven't heard a thing from there?" Proudfoot asked. "A reputation like that, and no one's even tried to use it. I haven't even heard the ghosts."

"I haven't even heard of the ghosts since my fourth year," Savage said. "They were bellowing quite a lot, and then nothing at all."

"The charms are secure on it," Tonks said quickly. "I... well, I worried about that the other night. I don't remember any of us going up there, but I didn't want to take the chance of students deciding to get separated by going there and..." She let it trail off. Too much elaboration wasn't generally a good idea, and the others weren't listening to her anyway. "I think the places we most need to watch are here, and at the Three Broomsticks, and at Madam Puddifoot's. Oh, and Honeydukes. That's where they go."

"And the apothecary," Dawlish said, not arguing. "We're not here to babysit them, though. We're here to watch for people who don't belong here. And I don't just want to scare them away. I want to catch them. I want us patrolling the area Disillusioned." He looked up sharply. "You have a problem with that, Tonks?"

"No. No problem," Tonks said, trying to figure out a way to buttonhole Harry to talk about Dung without startling anyone while patrolling Disillusioned. "They're likely to run into us."

"So be careful."

"And try not to trip over them," Proudfoot added.

Tonks rolled her eyes at him, and they worked out the remainder of the plans. It was close to eleven when she got back to her room, and found Errol panting on her desk. A little scroll was attached to his leg, and she recognized Remus's handwriting before she freed it.

Tonks, he had written, and she winced. Don't answer this. Greyback is suspicious enough already; I won't be able to go to the Burrow until after the moon. I wish we had parted less awkwardly, and that this note was of a more personal nature. I owe you that much. But I'm writing about Harry. Dumbledore has told me that he's bearing up well after Sirius's death, but I know Harry--he doesn't tell people everything. I'm worried about him disturbing your tracking of Dung, but I'm also simply worried about him. His temper has been known to snap, and he's done things he later regrets. The year I was there, when he believed Sirius had betrayed James and Lily, he was quite sincere in his intent to kill Sirius himself, and that was at the age of thirteen. I doubt it would occur to him to kill Dung just for stealing, but I could certainly see him getting himself into some trouble. I suppose I'm asking you to look out for him as a person, if you could. It's probably a moot point--the likelihood of him spotting Dung and noticing the thefts is rather small--but if he does, please, calm him down if he seems to need it.

There was a wide break in the spacing, and another paragraph, written in small, cramped letters with what seemed to be a different quill (it had a scratch in the middle that left the letters oddly lined).

I've no right to ask anything of you, I know that. You've already given more than I should have ever accepted. But this is for Harry. He's a decent boy, and I'd like to not give him any more trouble than he's already been given through no choice of his own.

Tonks crumpled the parchment. "I'd rather do it for you, you prat," she muttered to no one, and got ready for bed.

She awoke to the sound of sleet slapping against her windows, and a riled gray sky above. Her window was slightly open for some air, and a frigid breeze was whistling in. She slammed it shut.

"Perfect," she muttered, pulling on a heavy jumper over the jeans she'd slept in. "Just perfect. They'll be bloody wrapped up on top of it!"

The others were no happier when she met them at breakfast. Savage was to wander up and down the street where Madam Puddifoot's was, from the shop to the post office, Proudfoot to take the apothecary, and Tonks was to wander between Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks. Curiously, Dawlish had decided he was best used here at the Hog's Head. "Warm and dry?" Proudfoot asked, but Dawlish didn't answer.

Tonks waited for them to become engaged in conversation, then excused herself to the bar to get a glass of juice. "Aberforth?" she whispered.

Aberforth raised an eyebrow at her and waved his wand vaguely. "Aye, Missie?"

Tonks assumed he'd cast a privacy charm, but kept her voice low anyway. "Keep an eye out for Dung. Steer him toward the Three Broomsticks and Honeydukes if you can."

"Right, Miss. You like orange juice, right?"

"Yes."

"Ought to have something hot, going out in that mess."

"Orange juice will be fine."

"I'll keep it in mind," Aberforth said. "I'll keep it right in the front of my head."

It was as good a response as she was likely to get in company, so she just took her juice and left, draining it without bothering to go back to her colleagues. She went to Honeydukes and found it still closed, though the family was shouting to one another as they frantically stocked the shelves. She crossed to the Three Broomsticks, where Madam Rosmerta was standing in the door, looking at the sky in a troubled way. She had a galleon in her hand and was worrying at it with her thumbnail.

"I reckon they'll actually crowd your place on a day like this," Tonks said.

Rosmerta turned, looking a bit dazed. "Yes," she said. "I suppose they will. It's a horrible day, though. Horrible."

"Are you all right?"

"Oh, I'm fine. The cold is harder when you get older."

"Pish-posh," Tonks said lightly. "You're still a girl."

Rosmerta laughed wearily. "I wasn't a girl when your father was in the pub flirting with me, dearie."

"Well, you hide it well. You must tell me all of your secrets someday."

"A lady never tells her secrets," Rosmerta said, not quite smiling.

"Well, I'll be looking after your place today. I'll be Disillusioned, but I'll be around. If you see anything odd, just call for me."

"You'll be here?"

"Yes. Just watching out."

"I don't think it's necessary. My pub is safe."

"I'm sure it is, but I'll keep a lookout anyway. Are you sure you're all right?"

"It's the rain. That's all. Feels gray, doesn't it?" She went inside.

An hour later, Tonks was Disillusioned, and the first waves of Hogwarts students were rushing into town, splashy in the sleety puddles and hurrying into the shelter of the businesses. She saw several stop briefly to look at Zonko's, and they seemed to deflate at the sight of it, and left with their heads down and their shoulders slumped. Nearly all of them had collars pulled up around their faces and scarves drawn up even further. Hats were pulled down over hair, and the entire Hogwarts student body was rendered unrecognizable.

Tonks watched them moving back and forth from a bench near the Three Broomsticks, her eyes narrowed, a light detection spell constantly working to spot anyone who was magically disguised, a stronger one looking for dark objects. None of the students seemed to be carrying anything dangerous, and none were disguised adults trying to slip in among the children. If Harry was among them, Tonks couldn't tell. She saw one fluff of curly hair that she thought was Hermione, but when she got close, she saw that the girl looked nothing at all like her, and was in the company of four other girls and no boys, something Tonks couldn't even imagine for Hermione.

"...not to do your business in my pub?"

She looked up sharply.

Aberforth Dumbledore was frog-marching Mundungus Fletcher out into the rain, pushing him toward the Three Broomsticks. Dung was carrying a patched suitcase with a sprung hinge and protesting, "Aw, but really, Aberforth... I got nothing dangerous here! Bunch of bric-a-brac and baubles! You've nothing to worry about."

Aberforth squinted at him. "You want to rob headquarters, that's your business, Fletcher. But I'll be buggered if you make a profit from it under my roof. Are we clear?"

Dung was grumbling something when Tonks's ears suddenly started to ring loudly--the signal from her detection spell for Dark Objects. She looked up to see an owl rising from behind the pub, a package tied to its feet.

The chances of Dung leading her anywhere were significantly smaller than the chances of a Dark Object being here and not doing any harm. She ran down the wide, muddy alley between the pub and Rosmerta's house and came out near the dustbins. She barely registed the other pair of feet slapping in the puddles and the slight distortion in the air before she heard Savage snap out, "Dammit!"

"Savage, I've got it."

"It was that owl," Savage said, and his footsteps headed for the wall. "Got away from me at the post office. Did it drop its package here?"

"It had one at the post office? There was still one when it--"

The ringing in her ears stopped.

"Counterspell," Savage said. "Either that, or the owl took it out of range of either of us."

"It was definitely leaving. Do you suppose someone was getting rid of something? I--"

"Harry!"

The cry came from the front. It was Hermione Granger.

"It's Harry Potter," she said.

Savage stopped pacing in the mud. "One or the other is a ruse. I'll try to break the counterspell, if that's what stopped it. You check on Potter."

She nodded and went back down the alley, coming out as Hermione shrieked, "Harry, you mustn't!"

Tonks began to run. Harry wasn't in any danger, but he had pinned Mundungus against the wall of the Three Broomsticks, cutting off his air. Dung was flailing and turning blue, and Harry's face was contorted beyond recognition.

She raised her wand and used a Banishing charm to push Harry off. It made a horrible cracking sound in the afternoon.

Dung slithered away, grabbed his suitcase, and Apparated.

Harry spun around, yelling frantically. "COME BACK YOU THIEVING--"

The detection spell had gone dead. Mundungus was gone. She hadn't spotted Harry in time. Everything else was going wrong--she could at least do what Remus asked.

"There's no point, Harry," she said, breaking the Disillusionment. Ron and Hermione looked at her solemnly; Harry also looked at her, too angry to be surprised at seeing her. "Mundungus will probably be in London by now. There's no point yelling."

"He nicked Sirius's stuff! Nicked it!"

Tonks looked around, hoping whoever had sent the owl was nowhere nearby to hear this particular outburst--whether people believed Sirius had been innocent or guilty, they would certainly wonder how Harry happened to know what his stuff was or that Dung had nicked it. She wanted to be angry--it was careless in the extreme--but she was the one who'd failed to spot him on time, and Remus had been right... Harry was on the edge. His eyes were burning. She couldn't tell if he was crying in the sleet, but it didn't matter. This was the Harry Potter who'd led five other children into the Department of Mysteries last year. And that had been an unmitigated disaster.

"But still," she said, reaching out to him, speaking as calmly as she could. Her ears started ringing slightly again. It was coming from every direction. Harry pulled away, not letting her get close to him. His shoulders hunched, arms crossed, eyes hurt and bewildered, he seemed a younger, darker-haired version of Remus. "You should get out of the cold," she said, and then she heard Savage running up the alley.

Frustrated, Harry stormed into the Three Broomsticks, Ron in his wake. Hermione paused and looked at her sadly, but didn't say anything before going inside.

Savage drew up beside her, panting. She could see the distortion in the air, but he was more clearly visible by the white puffs of air rapidly escaping him. "You're not Disillusioned," he said.

"Judgment call."

Savage took a few more breaths. "Good one." He broke the spell and became visible. "We need to get Proudfoot and Dawlish. There's something here, but whoever has it scattered the detection spell. It could be anywhere. Anywhere at all."
22 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 12th, 2006 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh! First comment!

I really like the way you've dealt with canon here- especially the glimpses we get of Imperiused Rosmerta and the galleon.

Concrit: hard to find anything, but do you mean to say "Oh," Dawlish sputtered. "Right, yes. Of course. I'll reinforce those spells tonight." or spluttered? "Sputtered" is a nice word, but I've never come across it before (wonders if she's just outed herself as having a hopelessly limited vocabulary...)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 12th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked that part.. :) Love how Tonks got to one-up Dawlish, even when she wasn't overtly looking to.

And yes, 'sputtered' is a word. One of my favourite ones, too.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 12th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the minute I'd posted that I thought 'Someone's going to prove me wrong on this' :) Oh well, I'm a mediaeval Germanist, not an English major!

And I agree, it's nice to see Dawlish taken down a peg or two....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't worry... you made me wonder if I'd gotten it wrong! ;p

Yeah, there are advantages, when guarding a school, to be a lot closer to the students' ages. Dawlish is going to have to start being a nuisance soon so that Dumbledore can curse him, but I like him not thinking of things he should be thinking about.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: January 12th, 2006 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice Tonks-POV on the canon scene, explaining away her very curious behaviour. (Well all right, maybe it's just me, although I imagine it's supposed to seem curious. It took me several rereads to realise that she was probably invisible and that she, not Hermione, had cast the spell to separate Harry and Dung.)

Hmm, curious as to what that Dark object was -- obvious answer is the necklace, but then Draco wasn't in Hogsmeade to post it, although Borgin could have been I suppose. And the flight path of the owl didn't seem to have dropped something at the pub ... Possibly Dung's already done a deal and it was the locket we all assume is a Horcrux?

I do rather like the way you've done Aberforth's speech patterns. He does seem to meet the twin criteria of being recognisably Dumbledore's brother and a member of the Order, and someone even Moody would consider a strange bloke. :)

Couple of quibbles: "a light detection spell" threw me for a moment (maybe "mild"?) And "The chances of Dung leading her anywhere were significantly smaller than the chances of a Dark Object being here and not doing any harm" -- should be the other way round? (i.e. chance of something useful from Dung = poor, chance of Dark object not doing harm = practically nil?)

Still following btw, just don't always get round to commenting -- gutwrenching stuff with Remus recently, but very convincingly done.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: January 13th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, curious as to what that Dark object was -- obvious answer is the necklace, but then Draco wasn't in Hogsmeade to post it, although Borgin could have been I suppose. And the flight path of the owl didn't seem to have dropped something at the pub ... Possibly Dung's already done a deal and it was the locket we all assume is a Horcrux?

Yes! I thought it was the necklace too. Nice way of misleading the Aurors, if it was. I also adored the bit with Rosmerta. Very well done.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
And "The chances of Dung leading her anywhere were significantly smaller than the chances of a Dark Object being here and not doing any harm" -- should be the other way round? (i.e. chance of something useful from Dung = poor, chance of Dark object not doing harm = practically nil?)

Good point. I hate that whole sentence anyway; I'll see what I can do with it in re-write.

It is the necklace. I don't imagine it would have been easy to stash for a couple of months with Aurors around, but they're playing games with the owl's flight path.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 12th, 2006 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Wotcher! Only one little thing: we of course know that Alberforth is DD's bro (but it is because JK has said). Even Harry seemed to have not been able to recognize the barman in the picture Moody showed to him. Have you stated somewhere that Tonks knows it? It seemed strange to me read "Alberforth Dumbledore"...

Bye.

mgfespin
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 12th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I bet Moody shows that photo, with a similar running commentry to all the new Order members, if only because the numbers of casualties reminds us of the need for 'CONSTANT VIGILENCE!' :)

olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 12th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
And as an Order member on duty in Hogsmeade, it's more than reasonable that Tonks knows Aberforth well.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 12th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's always a good idea to know where your friends are...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, it never occurred to me that Order members wouldn't know who Aberforth was; I just figured Moody didn't realize Harry wouldn't know him when he showed the picture. But it's possible that they do keep it a secret. Hmmm.
jadeddiva From: jadeddiva Date: January 12th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I loved this chapter! I liked how you worked in the book chapters so flawlessly, especially Rosmerta. I've got nothing critical to say, but this was very well-paced.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! (Pacing scares me, so double-thanks.)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: January 12th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing I love about your canon chapters is that I actually have to reread the corresponding chapters in canon to remember what's there and what's yours - because the two always fit together so well. Way to go, you. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
:D

I live to send people to canon. ;)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 12th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice setup to Katie's necklace. The tension is built up quite effectively, and Tonks's despodency and general scatteredness that day is very well explained. I don't remember if this is the way you've always characterised Savage, but he seems a halfway decent chap.

"I'll keep it right in the front of my head."
Fav line, very Aberforth.

ps: sorry for terseness of comments, but I just switched to DVORAK and it's like I've been struck dumb. This review has taken me bloody *years* to type.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
DVORAK?

It's kind of hard to write someone scattered in a dozen directions (which is how she struck me in the scene), so I'm very glad that came off.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: January 12th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whee, I love your approach to canon scenes! Well done—I thought that chapter was just bizarre in the book (need to reread it now), and Tonks was so weird, so it's nice to get her POV on it.

One word-check thing: Did you mean "splashy in the sleety puddles" or "splashing"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 13th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
:facepalm:

Yup, and one of those words that spellcheck wouldn't catch, too. Blech. Thanks! Had "sleety" on the brain already, I guess.

It was one of the chapters I knew I had to get her set up for, because it is odd behavior. She had to have half a dozen things going on, and she appears to be on duty, but still.
From: bangcollision Date: January 13th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Reading your stories always makes me want to dash to grab the books and read them again and again and agaiiiin~ It just FITS.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 15th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't actually left a review before, and for that I feel terribly guilty. I've followed your writings through 'Shifts' to 'Shades' and I love the way you've written it. I could make a million comments on the brilliantly written OCs, the wonderful subplots to the central HP books, but plots here, the perfect characterisation- the way I love you've woven canon in with fanon so perfectly (especially this chapter), but I think I'd be here all day. So all I'll say for now is that I love the way you've written everything (Narcissa is fascinating me more and more, Greyback is perfectly hateful and Sweet is adorable- and don't get me started on Remus or Tonks or Tonks' friends!) and I can't wait for more, although I won't try to rush you. Fantastic work!!! Keep it up! I almost don't want HP7 to come out in case JKR writes about what Remus did in HBP and it's different to what you're writing!
Update soon, please! I need to know more!
22 comments or Leave a comment