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Shades, Chapter Fifteen: Going to Ground, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter Fifteen: Going to Ground, pt. 3
Picking up from the canon scene where Tonks acts rather odd in Hogsmeade. I'd given her half a dozen things she was supposed to be doing, and as she was trying to calm Harry down, the Aurors' sensors were going off about a nearby dark object. After Harry goes into the Three Broomsticks with Ron and Hermione, Tonks's colleague, Savage, comes out to her, and they realize that the detection spell itself has been compromised and scattered, and the object, whatever it is, might be anywhere. The stop Disillusioning themselves and set about looking for it (presumably getting Dawlish and Proudfoot as well).

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Tonks was on the far side of Hogsmeade, tracking the owl's flight path, when Katie Bell began to scream. She'd got as far as a steep and rocky path that led beside a rushing stream (it cascaded in a narrow waterfall perhaps half a mile downstream) and was scanning the sky for the bloody bird when it happened, and the echoing hills and valleys made it impossible to Apparate there by sound. She Apparated instead to the center of the village, and by the time she got to the site, Hagrid had carried the girl away. Students wove around her with dazed and frightened faces. Savage had arrived before her and was conducting perfunctory interviews ("Though McGonagall decided that the actual witnesses were better off being interviewed by her," he muttered when he finished filling her in), and she joined him, speaking to the confused students as calmly as she could, stopping them on the road as they drifted back to school.

Neville Longbottom and the girl with long, lank hair--the girl he'd come off the Hogwarts Express with in September--were walking together. The girl frowned when Tonks stopped them. "I know you, don't I?"

"She was at the you-know-where," Neville said. "Hurt. She's Professor Lupin's friend." He smiled sheepishly. "I'm sorry, but I don't remember your name."

"Tonks. I'm an Auror."

"Oh, right. This is Luna. She was with us."

"I do remember you," Luna said. "I thought that Professor Lupin was terribly worried. You were very badly hurt."

Tonks nodded. "Yes, I suppose I was. Re--" She caught herself. "Professor Lupin has told me that you both helped quite a lot in getting us all out. Thank you."

"Well, we were hardly hurt," Neville said.

"I like Professor Lupin," Luna said. "I'd like him to come back."

Join the club, Tonks thought, but didn't say. "Did either of you see anything before the Katie left?"

"Sorry, no." Neville frowned. "I don't know why anyone would want to hurt Katie. She's just a Quidditch player. I mean, nice and all that, but no one would be, you know, out to get her or whatnot."

"It might be the Ministry," Luna said wisely. "They control the Quidditch leagues, you know."

"Er..." Neville blinked at her, rather alarmed, then looked at Tonks helplessly. "Luna thinks of a lot of unsual things," he said.

"I sometimes think unusual things myself," Tonks said.

Luna looked at her with interest. "Do you know anything about tooth decay?"

Neville led her away before she could explain this question.

None of the other students had seen anything, and most of the shopkeepers had been so harried with the crowd that they wouldn't have noticed Bellatrix tap-dancing on the cobblestones, wearing pigtails and playing the bagpipes. When she got back to the Hog's Head, soaked to the skin and weary, Dawlish snapped that McGonagall had insisted on giving the school's report to Tonks alone, and that she was to report to the Headmaster's office Monday night at ten.

"I expect a full report on whatever they've found," he said. "No games."

A few more details leaked out on Sunday--McGonagall sent official word that the curse came from a necklace which one student reported having seen in a Knockturn Alley shop (no Auror past the first week of training would have assumed any shop other than Borgin and Burkes)--and the victim was brought to Hogsmeade for transportation to St. Mungo's. Tonks visited her on Monday, but she hadn't yet regained consciousness. Her parents took the opportunity to scream at the whole of the Auror Division for allowing such a thing to happen.

Since she had been publicly invited to the school, instead of using the Shrieking Shack entrance, she presented herself at the main gate at nine-forty-five. McGonagall met her and led her up to the castle, saying little beyond a perfunctory greeting. They stopped to open the doors and Tonks said, "I'm sorry it got by us. We knew it was there, but--"

McGonagall led her inside and set a brisk pace toward Dumbledore's office. "You were looking for it when Miss Bell found it. I know. Dawlish told me. It's all we could ask. If she and her friend hadn't argued about it, it would certainly have been detected at our gate."

"She shouldn't have got it in the first place."

"A contingent of only four Aurors cannot be expected to monitor all the movements of nearly two hundred students, while being alert to the actions of the various adults around them. No one on Earth would have anticipated Katie Bell as a target, so she was naturally not being keenly watched."

They arrived at Dumbledore's office a moment later and McGonagall gave the password, then stepped back. "Professor Dumbledore would like to speak to you alone."

"Oh." Tonks's heart sped up.

McGonagall smiled. "If you've finished your business before eleven, do come visit. I usually have tea and biscuits before I retire."

"Oh, thank you. I should probably get back though. I have paperwork."

"Ah."

"Maybe some other time, though. You could tell me about the time we were talking about in the Forest. When you were in school?"

"Oh, dear... I think I've told quite enough about that." She winked, then turned and walked away.

Tonks went up the stairs.

The door to Dumbledore's office was open, and Dumbledore was sitting at his desk, staring into a Pensieve, a faint smile on his face. He looked up when Tonks came in. "Hello, Nymphadora," he said, giving her a smile. "Please sit down."

"Thank you." She nodded at the Pensieve. "Looking for clues?"

"Alas, no. I had the Pensieve out for the purpose of a private lesson, and I'm afraid I simply kept it out and have been looking back on happier days. A wonderful advantage of growing old is that there are a great many of them to choose from."

"You have led an interesting life."

"Ah, but the happy memories are rarely those which seem interesting to others. I was recalling a visit to a sweetshop. My brother took me. I thought he was quite old at the time." He raised his eyebrows. "You're welcome to try one of your own, if you'd like."

"I'd be afraid to look at happy memories. They might not be as happy as I like to remember them. When I'm just thinking about them, they can be perfect."

"And yet, you seem not to be thinking of them at all." He shook his head. "I won't insist, Nymphadora. An old man's hobbies aren't likely to be of interest to such a young girl, and it's not why I've called you here."

She nodded. "Is it about Katie Bell? I visited her at St. Mungo's earlier today."

"Yes, her parents told me so when I went. Her mother asked me to give your her apology for being sharp with you. She understands that everything that could have been done was being done."

"Thank you, sir."

Dumbledore took a last glance into the Pensieve, then Levitated it back to a cupboard near his desk. He steepled his fingers and took a deep breath. "Mundungus has disappeared."

"Yes, I know, I'm sorry, sir. There was a great deal of activity, and I didn't see Harry Potter..."

"No, no. You behaved quite appropriately. I meant only that I don't see any point in continuing to look for him. It was always a somewhat tenuous connection at any rate. I'd like to free you of any obligation you may feel to follow up on this."

Tonks nodded. "I am sorry. Remus asked me to find Harry ahead of time and warn him so he wouldn't be surprised--"

"If Remus was capable of getting such a message to you, I'm quite sure he could have found a way to get it to Harry, and I personally believe Harry would have valued such a communication. If all else had failed, he could have sent it to me through Alastor Moody. I am not at Hogwarts as often as I would like to be, but I am here often enough for that. Harry does not know you especially well and would have no reason to be less shocked at receiving the intelligence from you that he was at discovering it for himself."

"Well, it could have been explained..."

"That someone was stealing from Sirius's home and we were allowing it? No, Nymphadora. I don't think that could have been explained to Harry in such a way that it would not, at least initially, have caused him to lose his temper." Dumbledore smiled. "Professor McGonagall and I also both might have told him without any prodding from Remus, but neither of us did so. You were in a most unlikely position to have conveyed that message, so I must assume that Remus had other reasons for asking you in particular."

Tonks nodded stiffly. "You know what Greyback did to him."

"Yes."

"Is it necessary for him to stay?"

"No. And I told him so. But he was quite determined to go back."

"Stubborn man."

"Quite."

"Did you just need to talk to me about Dung?"

Dumbledore hesitated before speaking, and his voice, when he spoke, was slow and deliberate. "Am I to gather from Andromeda's sudden desire to work abroad--in the midst of a Muggle civil war--that you are aware that Fenrir Greyback is watching your aunt?"

"I figured it out, yes. You know?"

"I know. Lord Voldemort is not, I imagine, particularly pleased with Lucius after what happened in the Department of Mysteries. Narcissa is in a precarious position."

"Yes. And I wanted my mother out of the way of it."

"I can appreciate it, and would have suggested it myself if I'd thought such a suggestion would be entertained. You're apparently quite persuasive."

"I had to be. They're my parents. And if I've learned nothing else this year, I've learned that I don't want anyone I love in Greyback's reach." She sniffed. "I suppose I'd get Narcissa out of it if I could see a good way to do it. But I think I'd have to kidnap her."

"True. She shows little desire to be rescued." Dumbledore took a package from the desk. A corner was ripped, and Tonks could see a glittering opal in the candlelight. "This is the necklace that was sent here, which Katie Bell intercepted. If its advertising is to be believed, it is responsible for several deaths."

Tonks frowned at this apparent non-sequitor. "Have you found a way to undo the curse?"

"Not yet. It's a tricky business, removing a curse from an object." He looked down at his hand. "No. For now, I will simply find a safe place for it."

"Do you have any idea who might have sent it?"

"I'm well aware of who sent it."

"Who?" Tonks stood. "We need to know. Whoever it was attempted murder and needs to be arrested!"

"It was a clumsy attempt that had no chance of succeeding, and would have caused no harm had the package not ripped. Of course, that might have caused even greater harm, but Miss Bell was not the intended target."

"Which was a completely foreseeable consequence."

Dumbledore nodded absently. "I know. I've thought about this carefully, Nymphadora. And I won't tell you my conclusions, because it would ask you to compromise the very values of your profession, not merely the procedures. It would be hiding not an innocent person, but a guilty one. But a person in far deeper trouble than he has deserved through his own actions, and I would prefer not to give him to the tender mercies of Azkaban. Or--quite a bit more likely--Lord Voldemort. So I will not give him to the Aurors. I am sorry if that puts you in an awkward position."

"Just a bit," Tonks said, feeling both angry and a little ashamed of the feeling. "Why am I here? What did you need?"

"This has confirmed something that I feared. I believe that..." He sighed. "A student is involved."

"It would make sense from the Death Eaters' perspective," Tonks said. "They can't get anyone in here, but someone who's already here--" She stopped, blinking. "Greyback and Narcissa. And Lucius was asking for news."

"You've seen Lucius?"

"Yes, I've seen Lucius."

"Nymphadora, for your own peace of mind, do not follow your thoughts to their conclusion." He leaned forward. "There is no way for me to avoid being away from the school this year. And we will need greater protection than has been in place thus far during those occasions when I am not here."

"You need someone to arrest the little--"

Dumbledore held up his hand. "I will not give a student over to Voldemort's punishment. They are all in my care, and this one needs protection for himself as much as others may need protection from him."

Tonks bit her tongue and counted to ten in her head before speaking. "What do you need from me?"

"I spoke to Minerva McGonagall about this. She believes the best course is to have Order members on patrol when I am otherwise occupied. It would require being Disillusioned; I don't want it common knowledge that Order members are here. There is no one who can be here at all times, and most of our current members have quite a lot to do already. I believe Bill Weasley would be willing to help. The Weasley twins as well... you disagree?"

Tonks was shaking her head. "They're too close to being students here. Even with the best of intentions, I'm sure they'd find it difficult not to speak their younger friends."

"A valid point." Dumbledore nodded to himself. "I'd like you to bring in help," he said. "Your friends--the Apcarnes--if either or both are willing. Possibly your friend Sanjiv, who has the added benefit of being local. Fleur Delacour knows the school fairly well after a year here. Others you deem appropriate."

"All right." Tonks stood up. "Is that all?"

"Yes. I am sorry," Dumbledore said, standing up and coming around the desk, leading her to the door. "I know you may disagree with my choice here, and it puts you in an awkward position. But a boy's life is in danger."

Tonks nodded, not even sure where she stood. "When do you want this to start?"

Dumbledore had started back toward his desk. He stopped, but didn't turn around. "Not yet. There is something I need to discuss with Remus before it begins. I'll speak to him on Sunday when he checks in at Molly's." He looked over his shoulder and smiled. "Did you have any messages?"

"Not that you can deliver."

"No, I imagine not. Good night, Nymphadora."

"Good night, sir."

Tonks left the castle without seeing anyone else, and left the grounds by way of the tunnel under the Whomping Willow.

She stayed in the Shrieking Shack.
14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: January 16th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Does this mean we'll get to see more of her friends?

It's frustrating, because I want to be mad at people, but really everyone's just in an intolerable situation and there isn't much blame to be assigned to Tonks or Remus or anyone else, really. I guess I'll just have to keep hating Voldemort and Greyback.

this one needs protection for himself as much as others may need protection from him

Did you mean "protection for himself" or "protection from himself"? The first one works ok, I suppose, it just seems as though you may have meant the latter.

Nice installment. I was just hoping for a Shifts update.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 16th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Did you mean "protection for himself" or "protection from himself"? The first one works ok, I suppose, it just seems as though you may have meant the latter.

I meant "for," but I went back and forth on the subject for awhile. I think Dumbledore is very much worried about the threat other people pose for Draco.
_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: January 16th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Eek! An update! Loved this chapter...I can't wait for the next one. *coughYouBetterBringRemusAndTonksTogethercough*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 16th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
They will get a few more moments before the hospital scene. ;) Alas, not very comfortable ones...
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 16th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Woo hoo! Update! You've really worked the canon in seamlessly. Dumbledore is so... Dumbledore. Well done. I can't wait to see the next bit.

Rene
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 16th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm getting a little more comfortable with Dumbledore, though he's still difficult to write.
merlinssister12 From: merlinssister12 Date: January 16th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
You really are good at working cannon scenes in smoothly.
A couple of little things though "Did either of you see anything before the Katie left?" I don't think you meant for the "the" to be there.
Also "Maybe some other time, though. You could tell me about the time we were talking about in the Forest. When you were in school?" This sentence does seem a bit awkward and confusing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 16th, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you meant for the "the" to be there.

Yup. I had her say "the victim" first and then thought TONKS?!... she'd use names.

I'll what I can do with the latter.
(Deleted comment)
beceh From: beceh Date: January 17th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Good chapter.. wlel not chapter but you know what I mean. I know I'm just seconding what other people have already said, bbut I really got a good feel from the characters here. It striked me more than it usually does.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: January 17th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Another excellent installement! :) More great weaving of your story in with canon events, which is so much fun to read. I liked the conversation with Neville and Luna, and your Dumbledore is just great.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: January 17th, 2006 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're Rowlingesque here, Fern, it's nearly seamless. I loved it. I loved Luna and the fact that you included all the little details (such as aurors and tooth decay) and kept everyone in character. Dumbledore was wonderful, you didn't need to include his looking at happy memories, but how keeping with his character (particularly in HBP) it is. That's what you do best - tell the back story - but it was just so perfect here. I loved it. Thanks!!!
From: maxzook Date: January 18th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

My nitpick of the week

"I believe Bill Weasley would be willing to help. The Weasley twins as well... you disagree?"
Tonks was shaking her head. "They're too close to being students here. Even with the best of intentions, I'm sure they'd find it difficult not to speak their younger friends."

At first read, I wasn't sure if she was only objecting to the twins, or to Bill as well ??? Also, it should be "speak to their younger friends ..."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: My nitpick of the week

Thanks. I'll catch that.
14 comments or Leave a comment