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Shades, Chapter 21: Bad Habits, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 21: Bad Habits, pt. 1
Back to Tonks.

She recently had a run-in with Bellatrix, destroying a gate she was trying to build to allow Dementors into Hogwarts. Bellatrix and Greyback both got away; Tonks had to Obliviate Greyback so he wouldn't remember what her Patronus was. She gets a lot of flak from her colleagues about this--Dawlish is furious, and even the normally friendly Robards, who reminds her that she could be tried for treason for last year's activities, and it's not out of line to wonder if she's deliberately let Bella go on Dumbledore's orders. Even her friend Sanjiv lectures her about not getting more help before going in. He also points out that Dawlish's accusation that Robards' interest in her is not entirely professional is probably true, but Tonks can't be bothered with this piece of information. Annoyed, she goes to the Shrieking Shack to clean for a bit, but it doesn't do anything for her. She finds the ruby that the water sprite gave to her as a token of an owed favor, but can't think what she'll ask for.

Meanwhile, Remus couldn't do his monthly check-in at Molly's, because Greyback was taking the pack to meet with his "political friends" (who turned out to be Bella and Peter). He sent a brief note to Molly, through the Muggle priest Father Montgomery, whose brother is a wizard, to say that he won't be able to come.




"He's safe," Mad-Eye said, pulling off his Invisibility Cloak and hanging it on a peg beside Molly's door.

Tonks released her breath through clenched teeth, letting the soft whistling sound of it fill her skull. "You're certain?"

"Well, I couldn't talk to him," Mad-Eye conceded, "or even take off the cloak, but they were all back. He had half the pack around him--the short half of it--listening to him read some bloody foolishness about ghosts at Christmas. He looked to be healthy enough and in good spirits, which is more than I can say for you, Tonks."

"Oh, thank you," she said acidly. She fretted at the edge of the brief note Molly had received three days ago--I can't check in. Greyback has plans and expects me to be here. I'll contact you when it's possible. Don't send Moody.

Molly watched this, her eyes narrowed, then shook her head and muttered something about foolish men and not understanding. "Well," she said, "at least he'll come for Christmas. Will you and your parents join us for lunch, Tonks?"

"Oh, my parents are out of the country," Tonks said. "And I..." She smiled. "Well, I think my Christmas present to Remus will be to not make him deal with this in front of his students."

"Hmph."

Bill rolled his eyes. "Mum, I don't think it would help for Ginny to give her opinion on the subject this year. She seems to have developed an advanced case of being fifteen."

Molly pursed her lips, then sighed a reluctant agreement. "Will you at least stay for dinner?" she asked.

Tonks agreed, and had dinner with the Weasleys and Mad-Eye. They talked for a long while about the war and the Ministry, and events in Hogsmeade--Bill had made a recent trip to evaluate the Zonko's holdings for Gringotts--and carefully steered the conversation away from Molly's repeated attempts to get Tonks to relent about Christmas. After pudding, Molly evicted them all from the kitchen so she could clean up, and Arthur started a fire in the grate in the living room. Mad-Eye made his excuses and left for the evening.

"I do think you should come," he told Tonks quietly. "Someone needs to get some sense into Lupin's head."

"I'm not going to push him, Arthur."

He nodded. Molly came out with two bottles of wine, and they sat comfortably in the Burrow, drinking and speaking of other matters. Tonks got them laughing over Robards' romantic entanglements and Bill talked about Fleur's veela grandmother, whose short temper had made a recent visit something of an adventure. Fleur herself was still in France, helping Madame Maxime cover for a Beauxbatons teacher who had fallen ill. Molly and Arthur went upstairs to bed at ten o'clock.

"Do you want more wine?" Bill asked.

Tonks nodded, sliding down onto the floor and stretching her toes out toward the fire. "I have tomorrow off. I'm going to go up to Oxfam and pick up a few things--"

"Like what?" Bill asked, Summoning another bottle from the cellar.

"I don't know. Whatever I find. That's the fun of the thing."

"You really should go shopping with Fleur sometime," he muttered.

"I have a feeling the invitation isn't going to happen again." Tonks finished her glass of wine and poured another one, then took a sip and leaned back against the sofa and closed her eyes, enjoying the warmth of the fire on her face. Her whole body felt like it was sagging, pulling into the floor, her mind sprawled out lazily inside her skull. "What did you mean about Ginny?" she asked drowsily.

Bill reached over her for the wine bottle and poured another glass. "I had a letter from her last week. She's got an opinion about everything this year. Apparently, she's decided Ron is insufferably immature and lectured him about how couples are meant to behave. And that reminded her that she really wanted to talk to me about Fleur and..." He sighed. "She's dropping rather heavy hints that she'd prefer I marry you, actually."

"Oh, I'm sorry. If I told her the truth, she'd stop. She adores Remus. But--"

"--but then she'd start in on letters to Lupin," Bill finished, smiling. He took on a high falsetto. "'Dear Professor Lupin--Really, you are behaving horribly... don't you have any sense of romance?'"

Tonks laughed and continued the imagined letter. "'After all, you're a Gryffindor! Why are you so afraid of one little metamorphmagus who can't even shapeshift anymore?'"

"'...Thanks to you,'" Bill finished. "Trust me, she'd point out exactly whose fault it is." He sighed. "She was always so sweet. What happened?"

Tonks grinned and opened her eyes. "Fifteen," she said. "We were all horrible."

"What did you do?"

She thought about it. "I think that was the year I told Mum I was going to name my children Jane and Philip and never put them through the torture she'd imposed on me."

"You've changed your mind about that?"

"I don't insult Mum to her face about it anymore, anyway." She yawned. "Or behind her back. I'd never be doing anything else. Have you noticed half the damned Order is calling me Nymphadora now?"

He smiled. "I keep expecting you to explode and start screaming like your auntie."

"Would anyone hear me?" She rubbed her face vigorously. "Sorry. That was a bit on the self-pitying side, wasn't it?"

"Oh, I can beat that. I'm engaged to the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life, I have a good job, I'm getting along with all but one of my brothers, and I'm whinging about my baby sister being a bit of a baby. Woe is me." He smirked.

"A right pair of ninnies, we are," Tonks agreed. She took Remus's note from her pocket and read its sparse lines again. "I'm actually angry at him for not sending me a note. You'd think he'd been clear enough by now, wouldn't you?"

Bill raised his eyebrows. "Yes, I've seen exactly how clear he is with you. If his messages were any clearer, I'd be expecting Dementors to jump out of them."

Tonks laughed. "So you don't think I'm mad? Mad-Eye does."

"No, he doesn't. He's just worried about you." Bill drained his wine glass and poured another. "I asked him where it is he goes to check on Lupin. He wouldn't tell me. Something about thinking I'd tell you."

"What a silly notion." She sat up. "But it doesn't matter. How hard can it be to track where the owl came from? A Muggle-born's brother who's a priest. My dad probably knows him. Maybe we should just tell Mad-Eye, though. I mean, that it's about getting the children out of there, not about me planning some lovesick invasion of Greyback's pack."

Bill nodded. He reached for the stack of papers on Remus's shelf and flipped through them idly. "Can we do this?" he asked. "Get all of them, I mean?"

"I don't know. I need to know more about where they are first. I think..." She sighed. "There's something... gates. Secret gates. If I could get them to one while they're transformed and we could guard the exit point so they don't get any further until morning... and of course, stop Greyback from following them or knowing where they'd go..." She bit her lip. "Not to mention, doing a dark spell with blood and bones. Maybe I should think more traditionally."

"Not your strong suit," Bill said, frowning. "Try more of this."

"I... well... It isn't possible. It would be smarter to put together a team and just take them."

Bill looked disappointed, but didn't push the issue. "I've set up new vaults for Fiona's family," he said. "Just moving a bit of gold at a time. It won't look suspicious when they disappear, if we wait a few months. There've been plenty of disappearances."

"I'll be sure to send Voldemort a thank you note for the handy cover story."

"Mmm, credit where it's due, yes."

She shook her head and covered her face with her hands. "It's too much, Bill. I don't know how to do this. I have all the pieces, but I don't know how to put them together."

"Hey," Bill said, and pried her hands away from her face. "You don't have all the pieces. I'll get the ones we're missing from Lupin at Christmas. By hook or by crook. And then it will come together, and we'll get them out." He pinched her nose, much as she imagined he would pinch Ginny's (at least when he wasn't annoyed at her). "A girl who can get an O in potions from Snape while he hates her can do anything."

"Right. I suppose I--"

"'appy birthday, Bill!" someone said cheerfully, and Tonks and Bill looked up to see Fleur flouncing into the room, turning smartly at the door, her face falling as they stood up together.
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Comments
sreya From: sreya Date: March 31st, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm just dying over Bill's impression of Ginny... definitely 15! And poor Fleur. I sure hope things are straightened out quick, because the poor girl doesn't need to be jealous of Tonks on top of everything else.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 31st, 2006 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm not going to leave it there long. :)
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: March 31st, 2006 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Oooh! Update. I kinda had given up hope it'd come today. I liked very much the Bill/Tonks dialogue, you make it flow very naturally and that's probably one of my favorite things about your writing (the dialogue, that is). There is, however, one tiny bit that bugged me a little. While it is true that the trio - and Ginny possibly - still think of Remus as their teacher, I'm not entirely comfortable with Tonks thinking of them at his students.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 31st, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it was either that or "the kids"--I think she's thinking of how he thinks of them more than how she thinks of them herself.
hymnia From: hymnia Date: March 31st, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
As someone who has been a teacher just barely long enough to have former students, I can vouch that I still think of my recent former students as "my students", especially those that I got along with well. So it rang true to me, anyway.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 31st, 2006 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)

thank goodness

I'm so glad you updated--some of your more addicted followers had the shakes...

You are brilliant as always, and I'm on tenterhooks to see how all this is going to weave itself together--although I feel for you and the Christmas-restriction. The story definitely seems like it is on the brink of something now--how inconvenient of canon to get in the way. I'm not too concerned, though. You're a total genius at making it work (eg your genification of some of the most suggestive prompts at rt_challenge--so much fun)!

Here's one line I thought needed a tweak:
'"Arthur started a fire in the grate in the living room. Mad-Eye made his excuses and left for the evening.

'"I do think you should come," he told Tonks quietly.'

When I read that it seems like Moody is the one speaking.

Great post!
Canopus
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 31st, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: thank goodness

:facepalm:

You're right. I'll fix that.

I'm definitely working towards things happening at Christmas.
From: boldsunshine Date: March 31st, 2006 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Wonderful!

I adore your writing. With every new section that you post, there are more things to consider that leave me impatient for more! I believe in one of your earlier posts, someone mentioned that reading your work is like getting extra canon - and I agree.

Incidentally, how did you think of pairing Remus and Tonks? I know you started Shifts quite a while before Half-Blood Prince came out, and as a fellow writer I'm quite curious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 31st, 2006 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wonderful!

Thanks!

Like most R/T writers I know, they just struck me in OotP as being constantly together and comfortable together--a very romantic vibe. (Apparently intended, judging by the fact that they were mentioned together in JKR's early OotP outline.) It wasn't like, "Boy, I wonder how they'd be together" so much as it was, "Oh, cool! JKR gave Lupin a love interest... how nice for him; let's play with it." It was just writing what I saw in the books, the same as the rest of the canon characters I write.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: March 31st, 2006 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh boy, I can't wait to see what happens next with Fleur. If ever there was a bad impression to be made...holding hands with Tonks, wineglasses next to a roaring fire at night, extremely close proximity. BAD.

Tonks released her breath through clenched teeth, letting the soft whistling sound of it fill her skull. "You're certain?"

Bless you a thousand times for not saying that she blew out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. Not many literary cliches get on my nerves more.
maglors_finch From: maglors_finch Date: March 31st, 2006 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
She seems to have developed an advanced case of being fifteen.

Very good. I have a daughter that age, so I know!
sannalim From: sannalim Date: March 31st, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh no! Poor Fleur! Poor Tonks!

I enjoy the friendship you're showing here between Bill and Tonks. I also quite enjoy the close relationship you're showing between Bill and Ginny.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: March 31st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops ... exactly the wrong time for Fleur to walk in. Except for the reader and writer, of course. :) Interesting idea to have even Fleur getting jealous!
faeriemaiden From: faeriemaiden Date: April 1st, 2006 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the easy friendship you show between Bill and Tonks. It's nice to have some amusing cheer in the midst of all the angst. But oy, poor Fleur. She has an amazing ability to catch them at the most inopportune reasons. ^-^
From: octobersnow Date: April 1st, 2006 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Ahh Bliss

Shades and Imperius all on the same day. You and Jess Pallas just made my Friday.

Fleur being jealous of Tonks was not something I would have thought of until you write it. Now it makes perfect sense.

On a side note, I'm convinced now that Tonks was a Hufflepuff, and it's you who implanted the idea. I agree with the extra canon comment above.

Happy Weekend!!
trinaweena From: trinaweena Date: April 3rd, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

yay for updates

I absolutly love your writing. I never thought I would read Harry Potter fic but now that I've read your stuff I'm starting to read a lot more and thinking about writing some! Thanks for the inspiration!
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 4th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

just chiming in

to say that I've been following Shifts and Shades for a fairly long time now, and haven't ever commented on it. Extraordinary stuff, that's for certain, and I will probably start commenting more often now that I've done it once.

-TCR
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 8th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Weasley goodness! I like Ginny having 'a bad case of being fifteen'. I love Ginny, but I will admit she did behave badly a few times in HBP. Being 'the perfect girl for Harry' doesn't mean she's perfect in every way, or that being a H/G shippers means you have to believe in Saint Ginevra the Long-Suffering.

Oh, this isn't going to improve the Tonks-Fleur relationship.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 9th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I don't get that "They see Ginny as perfect" thing--she may be the perfect match for Harry, but let's be honest... Harry's not exactly a perfect human being, either!
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