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Shades, Chapter 17: The Shrieking Shack, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 17: The Shrieking Shack, pt. 1
We just got a Rubik's Cube at work. It's very irritating.

Ahem. Speaking of puzzles to solve, I've been working on sequences of events here in Shades, trying to work around some set-pieces that would make a lot more sense if I didn't have to wait very large amounts of time between them. Damn canon. :p I decided that the reason I got stuck was that I ended the last section too early, thinking that I had a whole scene left to do when I really only had a coda to the transformation before going back to Tonks. So when I go back to re-write, Remus will go to Molly's and be secretive about his less-than-honorable urges of the previous night--not that they're asking, but he's feeling secretive--and Molly will present him with a letter from Dumbledore.

Thank heaven for re-writes, neh?

Anyway, where I actually left off as opposed to where I'll theoretically have left-off on re-write (sorry, I'm usually more careful than this!), Greyback was away from the pack for transformation, and Remus was able to get a warning to Moody about someone Greyback was sent to attack (no one vital, canon-wise, just a journalist who annoyed Voldemort). Meanwhile, Greyback's alpha female, Mina, decided to stray, and Sweet, unfortunately, decided to get in her way. As a wolf, Remus... well, let's say that it's a good thing wolves aren't good at moving rocks. Alderman confided in him the next morning that Mina had been planning to get Remus into this sort of trouble, which is why he (Alderman) got Remus to the cave. He then asked Remus for help in getting away from Greyback. Remus also told Sweet in no uncertain terms to keep her little wolfish self in the girls' caves when the moon is out. Back in Hogsmeade, with Dung going to ground and Katie Bell having been attacked, Dumbledore tells Tonks that he wants to get extra protection on the school whenever he's gone, and gives her the assignment, to start as soon as he's talked to Remus about something.


Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Tonks stopped at the back gate of the Shrieking Shack, her wand hovering over the simple looking latch that held most of the complex security wards. "All right," she said to the wavery shapes beside her, "this is it. It's mostly in the wand movement, but don't forget the nonverbal spell and--" She sighed. "You both know this is no game, right?"

Sanjiv and Daffy both made impatient noises, and she supposed it was fair. She'd lectured them for at least an hour last night about Order business and Voldemort and several other things until Daffy had snapped and reminded her which one of them was actually a parent. (He and Maddie had decided to flip a Galleon to see which of them would watch the school and which the baby.)

"Sorry," she said. "You're the first I'm bringing in all the way."

"Don't worry about it," Sanjiv said. "Just show us how to get in."

Tonks opened the gate and led them in, slipping behind the Concealment charms. She let them break the Disillusionment. From the road, the garden would look empty, as always. She could hear voices from the kitchen window. Dumbledore and the others must have come through the Whomping Willow tunnel. Absurdly, she felt a nervous flutter in her stomach about what they'd think of the house.

In the kitchen, Dumbledore was sitting comfortably at the table (which was laden with food that smelled like Molly's cooking), chatting with Hestia Jones. Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley were leaning against the counter, their arms looped around one another's waists, whispering to each other.

Dumbledore looked up. "Ah, Miss Tonks. Thank you for making the house a bit more comfortable."

"You're cleaning?" Sanjiv asked, pretending shock. "Is that a sign of the apocalypse?"

"It was a bit dusty in here," she said. "I thought we'd do well to be able to breathe."

If anyone other than Dumbledore knew how much worse than "dusty" it had been, the knowledge remained unspoken. Which proved nothing--people were treading carefully around her these days, and if they suspected she was spending hours in a deserted house, repairing shattered walls and replacing crumbling plaster (and sleeping here nearly half the time now), they were probably going home to whisper, "Poor dear... she's really gone around the bend, hasn't she?"

"I hope you don't mind my including Hestia," Dumbledore said. "She's had some time freed up recently."

"Not at all," Tonks said. "You're certain it's all right with Remus to give out the spells and so on?"

"I left him a message at Molly's, and he owled back giving his permission. He'll be along shortly."

"Remus is coming?"

"As I believe I told you, I need to speak with him, and it concerns this project."

"Right, of course. I thought you were going to speak to him at Molly's. I'm sorry."

"You zhould stop mopeeng over 'im," Fleur said. "'E iz--"

"Enough, Fleur," Bill said quietly, but firmly. Fleur blushed and sat down at the table.

Dumbledore briefly explained what had happened the previous weekend, giving the others less information about his suspicions than he had given Tonks, saying only that he suspected the cursed necklace may have been sent by someone who had access to the grounds.

"I would remain at the school myself at all times if it were at all possible," he said. "But in our current circumstance, alas, it is not. There are pressing matters elsewhere that require my attention. The Order is needed. I will keep Miss Tonks apprised of my comings and goings." He motioned to Tonks, and she stood forward.

"All right," she said. "Bill, Hestia, this going to be a lot like the Ministry watch last year, though I hope we'll have more than one person at a time. For those of you who haven't met one another--or don't remember one another--these are Sanjiv McPherson and Dafydd Apcarne--"

"Daffy," Daffy interjected.

Bill smiled. "I remember the lot of you. Weren't the pair of you out on the Quidditch pitch when Tonks and my brother Charlie dared one another to climb the goalposts at midnight?"

"Yeah, you docked me ten points," Sanjiv said.

"I docked Charlie twenty." He put his hand on Fleur's shoulder. "This is my fianceé, Fleur Delacour."

Fleur nodded and said, "I am 'appy to meet you."

"And this is Hestia Jones," Tonks said, by way of prying the boys' eyes away from Fleur. "She's been in the Order for quite a long time."

They muttered greetings, and Tonks got down to the business of establishing their schedules (if Dumbledore was gone on a Thursday, it could be problematic), choosing a method of communication (all voted for Patronuses, though Daffy admitted that he would need some coaching on the spell, as he'd never had cause to use it), and debating on others who might be called. Bill was recommending a friend of his--a fellow prefect, from Slytherin--when a soft pop in the parlor distracted them. A moment later, Remus appeared at the kitchen door.

He looked considerably better than he'd looked last month, but he seemed to be shrinking from the house itself as his eyes traced the lines of the furniture. A clean curtain on the window brushed him, and he jumped away as if burned. He remained standing, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot.

Tonks closed her eyes and swallowed hard. "Hello, Remus. We were just finishing up."

He nodded to her, then looked at Dumbledore. "I didn't realize the whole group would be here. I mean, it's all right, of course. I just didn't realize."

"I just cleaned up a bit," Tonks said.

"I noticed." He blinked slowly. "I was here yesterday. I saw it then."


"You said you needed something from me, Albus? I'm assuming that you don't want me patrolling the corridors."

"Not at the moment, no. Though I don't rule it out."

"What is it, then?"

"I need you teach us how to fool the Marauder's Map."

"What?" Some life came back into his face, and he shook his head. "No, Albus, Harry is perfectly trustworthy if he sees us--"

"It's not Mr. Potter I'm concerned with, Remus. Lord Voldemort has someone in his inner circle who knows how to create and use a map of that sort, and Harry may not be the only person in the school in possession of one."

Remus winced and sat down. "Right. Of course. Peter," he hissed. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, looked at the straightened cupboard doors, and looked down again. Tonks felt her face go red. "It's not easy to fool. We made it to see where Hogwarts teachers were, and it would have been pointless to use a spell that anyone at all could break. And of course, we were the only ones who had it and we were all trustworthy, so really, why ever would we need to hide from it?"

It took nearly an hour to find a way around the spells--"How old were the four of you when you did this?" Hestia marveled--but finally, they found a combination of charms that would keep them from appearing... probably.

"I'd have to have the map itself to be absolutely certain," Remus said. "Peter and I did some of the charm-work on it, but you know... knew... James and Sirius. There were always little tricks. But I think this should work."

Dumbledore adjourned the meeting, and everyone started to leave. Remus caught Tonks by the elbow as Dumbledore took the others to the back gate.

"You shouldn't," he said, pointing around the house. "You shouldn't."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I--"

He pressed his fingers to her lips and she kissed them.. "No, it's not that. It's beautiful. It looks lovely. But you shouldn't. It doesn't matter."

"I know. But I need to."

"I shouldn't let you."

"Well, you'll just have to come around and stop me, then, won't you?"

"What am I going to do about you?"

"I'm not a problem you need to solve."

"I want you to be happy."

"Stupid as it sounds, I'm happy replacing the plaster around here."

He caressed her arm lightly, smiling and sighing. "I should ask you to stop."

"Are you going to?"

He shook his head. "I need to talk to Dumbledore alone," he said. "To find out if something's possible."

"All right." She leaned forward and put her arms around him, holding him as tightly as she could. "I hate this, Remus. I miss you. I hate that we don't even talk. We could always talk."

"I hate it as well." He stood and walked away from her. "But I can't... I have no right."

The door opened and Dumbledore came back in, looking grave. "Thank you, Nymphadora," he said. "You did very well. And Remus, I am grateful. I'm confident that we'll be reasonably secure. You mentioned that you wanted to consult me about something?"

"Yes." He looked signficantly at Tonks.

She took the hint. She nodded to him, and nearly fled from the house, running squarely into Sanjiv and Daffy, who were waiting for her on the road.

"Do you want to hold him while I hit him?" Daffy asked Sanjiv. "Or would you prefer the other way?"

rt_challenge response to the prompt choir is here. I put a warning on it that Tonks expresses a religious side.
17 comments or Leave a comment
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: February 9th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, more Shifts — good to hear you're unstuck.

Remus' objecting to the redecoration is making me start to agree with Daffy's last line...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm still struggling a little (and it shows, I know), but figuring out where the problem was helped.

I wish someone would just take Remus by the robes and shake him.
hymnia From: hymnia Date: February 10th, 2006 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish someone would just take Remus by the robes and shake him.

Don't worry, she will. ;)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: February 9th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Forget Daffy and Sanjiv, I'll punch him myself.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right there with you.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: February 9th, 2006 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Punching him is a bit tempting, but I also want to hug him. The man desparately needs some close human contact.

I love that you had Tonks bring her friends in.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope Dumbledore at least lectures him, but that's outside the scope here.

I figured if I was going to stick them onstage as prominently as I have, I'd best at least give them an excuse for it.
camry_1 From: camry_1 Date: February 9th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter. I agree with Harriett Wimsey- I like that she's brought her friends in. And it was very interesting to me that they spent an hour finding a way to fool the map. As always, my favorite part is seeing the Shrieking Shack in good condition, and being used. I just love that place, and what it means to Remus and Tonks.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a house girl. I love using them. :)

There's really no reason for the house to stay in disrepair. It's handy for the Order. And I hope JKR remembers it in book 7, if for some reason Hogwarts needs to be infiltrated.
alphielj From: alphielj Date: February 9th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm ashamed...

...that I hadn't considered that Peter knew how to use the map! DUH! I nearly smacked myself in the head when I read that passage. OF COURSE! I love it when authors figure stuff like that out, even if it makes me feel a bit stupid when ~I~ should have thought of it sooner. Really...not only do you leave me feeling insignificant in my own writing, but now I'm shaking my head at the fact I hadn't figured something out that was so obvious. Grrr...

What I'm trying to say is that I really liked this chapter. I don't normally like the bits that's have the extra Order memebrs in them, but I did like this one.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm ashamed...

I only figured it out because I was trying to get the sequence of events for the battle in place, and I realized that Dumbledore said he always had extra protection on the school when he left, and the Order members seemed to treat being there as if it was natural, and I said, "Oh! Of course, he has them patrolling... but wait! Harry spends all this time watching for Draco on the map... why wouldn't he have noticed a name like Nymphadora wandering around? Or Remus? Or Bill?" That led to thinking about fooling the Marauder's Map, which meant having to come up with a reason that they'd need to that wouldn't be, "I don't feel like telling Harry."
ronluvshermione From: ronluvshermione Date: February 9th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just a little nitpicking from a Frenchie...
"You zhould stop mopeeng over 'im," Fleur said. "'E iz--"
I think the "zhould" makes her sound like she has a lisp, not a French accent. We generally have no problem say "should" as the "sh" sound is also a common sound in French, although we write it "ch".

And I'm not sure if it's a typo or a mistake, but it's "fiancée", not "fianceé".

Good beginning for the chapter! I always enjoy reading your stories.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
:facepalm: Of course. Heck, I just heard someone singing "Mon Cherie Amour" (badly) very recently.

The fiancée thing was a mistake. I never remember where the accent goes. I'm lucky to remember the difference between one "e" and two. ;P
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: February 9th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's weird. I just read HBP, and felt so much sympathy for Fleur.

That line there reminded me why I initially didn't see Bill/Fleur ever working out.

I'll stand by my belief that she's naive rather than selfish, though. Otherwise, I doubt Bill would stick with her.

And I think Daffy should hit Remus. Seriously. Or at least tell the guy off. He's annoying me, even though I see his reasons.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 9th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Remus has his own stuff going on.

I think Fleur is tactless, but if I were looking at this from her point of view, I think what she meant to do was try and make friends by comiserating about how bad Tonks feels. She does it badly and doesn't understand all of the things that underlie it, but I think what was going through her head was, "Poor Tonks... she must be having a hard time of it." It's not so different from Daffy's threat to hit Remus, except that Tonks doesn't know Fleur particularly well and therefore hears it as a stranger attacking someone she loves. Unfortunately, Bill coming to her defense will make Fleur a little bitter by Christmas (the "she 'as really let herself go" bit). I'd like to end up with them being friends, though. I like Fleur.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: February 10th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, good thinking! I never paid that much attention to Fleur so I didn't think how her comment about Tonks could be interpreted as genuine bitterness. From HBP I just get the impressions that she's, you know, snooty and tactless but her heart's in the right place, obviously. I like her for not getting meekly mowed down by Molly! :D

olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: February 10th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is great... I love it when you have Remus and Tonks interact, and it made me well up in relief that this time, at least, it was Remus who initiated a private conversation between the two. I think I see Tonks shutting down a little: she seems to not want to initiate a conversation with him because she knows he'll just brush her off again... And I think Remus himself seeking her out and speaking to her helps her bring her own walls down a little. (Damn, did I get that across at all? It just seems to make perfect emotional sesne to me.)

Anyway. It's good to see Remus being drawn to her anyway - if he followed his own advice, he wouldn't have spoken to her now.

And you see what you're doing to me? You've got me so invested in Remus and Tonks's relationship that every little bit of contact they have is a major event that blots out everything else. Sorry. This was an excellent chapter. I love Daffy and Sanjiv... and the bits about the Marauder's Map are quite ingenious.

17 comments or Leave a comment