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Shades, Chapter 18: The Werewolf Capture Unit, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 18: The Werewolf Capture Unit, pt. 1
Where were we?

Okay. Back to something resembling a plot. ;)

Tonks's duties have been all over the map, and the only constant has been the less-than-comforting business with Remus. Remus, meanwhile, has been pretty devoted to his assignment, and has asked Bill Weasley to see what he can find on the "pups," the children Greyback has kidnapped. He's been able to find quite a bit. When Tonks offered to help Remus, he--reluctantly and with a lot of backpedaling--told her to talk to Bill, then told her not to. She hasn't acted on it yet. Meanwhile, Dumbledore has put her in charge of a small group to add extra security to Hogwarts whenever he's away. The team includes Bill and Fleur. Dumbledore later shows her a memory he has of Remus as a child.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Tonks,

We're having a bit of a do for Mum's birthday on Wednesday. Just cake and little presents (which you needn't worry about). My brother Charlie has a few days off and is Apparating in from Romania, and the twins will be up. We're all fond of you--especially Mum--and Dad thought you might like to come as well, if you aren't on duty. Seven o'clock Wednesday evening. Mum will certainly have cooked if Charlie doesn't beat her to the kitchen, but either way, you'll get a good meal out of it. Send word back with Errol, but make sure it's addressed to me. It's probably a lost cause, but we're trying to surprise her.

Sincerely,
Bill Weasley

P.S.: You have my word that no other guests will be ostentatiously shocked by your presence.


Tonks almost sent regrets, but some rebellious part of her mind rejected it. Not being with Remus didn't mean she had to be alone all the time, and she wasn't on duty on Wednesday night. She sent a quick message to Dumbledore to make sure he wouldn't need people at Hogwarts to patrol the corridors, and he assured her that he would be there for at least a few more days. She sent back an acceptance with Errol, checking the road in several directions before sending him flying from the Shrieking Shack. She really had to break the habit of sleeping here. Owls coming and going to an abandoned house wouldn't look very good.

She closed the window and pulled on clothes from the bag she'd stashed beside the wardrobe--she hadn't quite started stowing her clothes in the bureaus and wardrboes yet, that was something--and made the bed sloppily. Dumbledore had said it belonged to a headmaster. She amused herself by wondering if it had been Phineas Nigellus's--if she was stealing her own inheritance from her several-greats-grandfather--but that would have been too much of a coincidence. There were no identifying markings on it that she could see.

Work continued to be harried and repetitive, an unceasing, plodding rhythm of Dementor sightings, dark wizards, dark object tracking, and missing persons investigations. She broke it up working with Maddie on the forest gates on Tuesday afternoon; Maddie was looking for the spellwork they'd used to create openings for Dark Creatures, on the thought that someone doing spellwork of that sort might be easier to find than a lone gate which might not have been charmed at all yet. "The bones of a child," she muttered, shuddering. "And the blood of a dark creature of some sort."

"Does it have to be all the blood?"

"No, just a bit for sprinkling. Though I don't suppose anyone wanting to let Dark Creatures onto Hogwarts grounds will scruple at killing a redcap." Maddie tapped her quill against the scroll. "Are you sure this needs to be done? There are already quite a lot of things in that forest that are dangerous."

"I was asked."

"By a creature you don't know, based on something she saw scrying, with the promise of a favor in return. You're spread so thin already. Do you really owe anyone any favors on top of it?"

"I gave my word. If these water sprites are anything like their mythology, it wouldn't be a good idea to break it."

Maddie shook her head, and they got back to work.

She finished her rounds of Hogsmeade haunts early on Wednesday and made sure all of her paperwork was in order for Dawlish, then ducked out before Proudfoot could claim another headache and ask her to take his watch. She flooed to Diagon Alley to buy Molly a present (a glove and scarf set that would adjust their thickness depending on how cold it was; Tonks suspected it would be dissected for copying purposes), then Apparated to the Burrow just before seven and heard laughter coming from the kitchen as she approached the house.

The door opened and one of the twins--she was fairly sure it was Fred, but wouldn't put gold on it--waved to her. "Hullo! The surprise was out the window when Charlie showed, so come on in!"

"Security questions!" Arthur called.

"Right," (probably) Fred said. "Er..."

"Ask her what we had detention together for!" someone else called from the house, and Tonks recognized Charlie Weasley's voice.

"Which time?" she called back.

"When Filch had us scrubbing the Great Hall Muggle-style."

"Oh, that was your fault and it was totally unfair that I was dragged into it. It was when you decided to bring Kettleburn's Bundimun colony into the castle and it ate the Hufflepuff table."

"You were the one who took them out of the box. It's her."

Probable-Fred smiled graciously and gestured her inside. Once he sat down beside his brother (giving Tonks a side-by-side comparison), she saw that he was George.

Charlie gave her a jaunty wave and kicked a chair out for her. Bill and Fleur were cuddled up at the far end of the table. Arthur and Molly were at the head and foot, and the dishes were in the process of serving. A place setting flew down and landed in front of Tonks. She Banished the present to a little table where the others were piled.

"You didn't have to bring anything," Molly said, eyeing it curiously.

"It's nothing. Happy birthday!"

"Thank you. I'm glad you could come, dear."

"But Mum's declared a no-war zone," Bill said.

"Oh, I like that zone."

They had a pleasant meal. The twins had quite a lot of non-war-related gossip from Diagon Alley. George had also been spending time in the nearby village, and apparently flirting with a Muggle girl. Fleur was choosing dresses for bridesmaids, but abruptly stopped talking about it. She looked at Tonks resentfully. Tonks nearly apologized and urged her to go on, but on her left, George jabbed her with an elbow and waved his wand under the table, Conjuring a note that said, "You're an excuse, sorry."

Molly had been back at Grimmauld Place earlier in the week, and promised Tonks that she'd got it tidied up. "I was up in London taking advantage of Arthur's birthday present," she said. "He had to give it to me early, of course--Kwikspell was offering a class on international Potion-brewing. Frivolous things, really."

"I dunno," Fred said, "I liked that one from America that keeps people warm for Quodpot games. We could bottle that up for long Quidditch matches."

"As long as we don't start going shirtless with team-color body paint," Arthur said, rolling his eyes.

"There's also a lovely one from Russia," Molly said. "It turns into a sort of sugary sprinkle, and you can add it to anything to make it taste richer."

"But your cooking has never needed help, Molly," Arthur said, and refilled her wine glass. She smiled and blushed. The boys all rolled their eyes simultaneously.

After cake and presents, Molly was forbidden to clean up. The rest drew lots--the kitchen wasn't big enough for a lot of hands working in it--and Fleur and Fred ended up washing dishes and straightening up. George and Charlie settled in to talk to their parents, and Bill drew Tonks aside.

"Lupin said he spoke to you about the children," he said. "The ones Greyback has. I was surprised. He told me not to tell you anything at first."

Tonks frowned, then remembered Remus's confused instruction to see Bill. In the rush of getting her parents out of town and the attack on Katie Bell in Hogsmeade, she'd lost track of it. "I told him I wanted to help," she said. "Oh, Lord, I should have talked to you a month ago."

"I didn't have anything particular to do a month ago," Bill said. "But Lupin left a note after the meeting. One of the boys wants to get out."

"Oh."

Bill nodded and led her to a bureau. From the second drawer, he pulled out several scrolls and flat sheets of parchment. "Come on. We can talk in Dad's workshop."

They went out into the chilly mist, crossing to the ramshackle shed where Arthur kept his Muggle gadgets. Bill cleared part of the work table and spread out the parchments and papers. He handed Tonks a sketch--certainly Remus's--that showed a narrow-eyed teenage boy with a tangled mop of hair. She glanced down at the other single sheets of parchment and saw other faces. A pretty girl with curly hair, a horribly scarred one with large eyes, a sharp-faced boy wearing a skull as a necklace... Greyback's pups. And there were so many.

"He's Robert Alderman," Bill said, pointing at the picture Tonks had. He was shuffling through papers, and came up with a file of newspaper clippings. "Taken eight years ago. His mum worked in Werewolf Capture." He handed her a picture of a small boy and his parents. The boy had a cocky grin much like the one Remus had drawn on him, but was otherwise unrecognizable. "The father is dead. The mother remarried and was promoted."

Tonks nodded. "I think I've met her. I had to spend a week in Werewolf Capture while I was training. She's still in the unit, just not in the field anymore." She frowned. "She was absolute death on werewolves."

"Her son was attacked by one." Bill sat down. "I don't know yet how Lupin is planning to get him away from Greyback--I'm not sure Lupin knows himself--but once he does get away, we'll need to find somewhere to hide him. And possibly his family."

Tonks scanned the articles in the folder. "They might not want to go into hiding. She and her new husband have small children."

"Yes."

She cursed under her breath. "If this one--Robert--goes missing, Greyback will take another of them."

Bill's eyes widened. "I hadn't got that far in my thinking. I just thought she might not be in a rush to uproot them. I thought we would be able to help her son and then get word to her of where he was."

"We could put extra security on her."

"Sure. If we start raising some Order-loyal Inferi."

"We are spread a bit thin." She put the papers down. "And as much as I hate to say it, she hasn't expended any effort to find the boy. She may not be happy to hear he's about to turn her life on its head."

"She's his mother."

"Checked in with my auntie's portrait lately?" She sighed. "We need to talk to her, preferably without rousing Greyback's suspicions. Do you have any reason to go to the Capture Unit?"

"No."

"They work with the Auror division. I think Greyback's source on me is my Aunt Narcissa--maybe I can get in and out without being noticed, if I'm quite careful."

"You could try to metamorphose."

"Or I could wear a wig and funny glasses." She smiled. "I'll try. Robards occasionally wants me up in London, so I can slip in. I'll see what we can do."
11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: February 19th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Something resembling a plot is good. Weasley comradery is good too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I tossed Bill into the mix, so I figured I may as well use him. :D
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: February 19th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay!! This looks great!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Still feeling kind of episodic, but then, life does, doesn't it? :) I'm hoping to tie the two threads more closely together.
sreya From: sreya Date: February 19th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, I have the sinking feeling that Tonks's visit to the Capture Unit won't go very well - this woman doesn't sound like she'll jump at the chance to cooperate and get her son out of there.

Liked the Weasley party though, yay!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2006 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
We'll see. I haven't even given her a name yet, so I'm not sure what she's going to be like.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, poor Fleur... all she wants to do is talk about something happy. How could she know that she's driving everyone else insane? ;) I'm very much hoping, after Christmas, that I can maneuver the characters around a little and get some Tonks-Fleur bonding.
ella_menno From: ella_menno Date: February 20th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what I like best about this section is how Tonks is almost able to tell the twins apart when they aren't side-by-side. It's like a little test she sets herself to hone her observational skills. Ahh, I'm a sucker for little details like those.

Good opening to this chapter...and, erm, should I be nervous about the mention of "bones of a child"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 20th, 2006 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
should I be nervous about the mention of "bones of a child"?

La-la-la-la-la. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 20th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Bones of a child?

I'm supposing an easy out, like the 700 year old grave of a victim of the Great Plague, isn't an option and that the person doing this needs reasonably "fresh" bones?

Ewwwww.

As for the mother, I guess it all depends on what kind of attitude she's developed. If it really is all about revenge for her son, then she might cope with finding out he's alive and wanting back into civilization.

If it's become a pathological hatred of all things werewolfy (especially if she knew he wasn't dead), I would suggest finding a nice, stable, adaptable, unrelated to him in any way family to take him in.

If her feelings are mixed, it could go either way. There's also the fact that she has children to "protect" from their brother. If she feels she has to choose between them, I don't know that he'll win.

Getting back to nice, stable families, the Weasleys always seem to have room for one more. What about them?

As for the excuse Tonks needs to see someone in the werewolf capture unit, let's see, the cover story is that she used to date a werewolf who has gone in with a group associated with Voldemort's people. She questioned him already after the disappearance of a wizard, a case evidence suggests a werewolf was involved in (even without information from Remus), and she's received a tip that her old boyfriend is eating people by the light of the moon and that she may be in danger from him (although she might also be endangering either Narcissa or Remus if she uses that [and it would be hard to predict which]).

Surely, there's enough in that for her to have the makings of a good cover story.

Ellen
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: March 19th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Walburga!

"She's his mother."

"Checked in with my auntie's portrait lately?"

Loved it! What a treat. I just joined the LJ world in the last few days, and I find lots and lots of Shades here. I'm liking this... Squee!
11 comments or Leave a comment