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Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 1
Ooops, forgot to add any text.

Um, back to Remus. Tonks just pulled a crazy dangerous stunt, going into Greyback's forest to find out how to help the pups. Remus is less than thrilled with this. It's almost Christmas. And I am altering the lunar calendar, as Remus is, canonically, sitting right in front of Harry on the night of the full moon, 1996, which was Christmas Eve. So the full moon is now on the night between Christmas and Boxing Day.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




It was still dark when Remus slipped out of the Burrow into the gently falling snow. Halfway across the dooryard, he realized that he'd forgotten his cloak, but he'd got so used to being exposed to the weather that he didn't bother to go back for it. He stepped beyond the Apparition barrier and looked back at the house. Already, his footsteps were being erased. By the time he got back, the snow would be pristine again, and the children would start to wake up.

Children.

Ginny was the youngest, and she was fifteen. The twins were out of school and running a successful business. And Harry...

Voldemort had sucked away Harry's childhood like a careless vampire, leaving behind a drawn and pinched shell. Harry had something on his mind, something he wanted to talk about. Remus had caught him starting to talk twice last night, only to be cut off by a sharp glance from Ron.

When Harry was ready, Remus supposed he would talk regardless.

And it won't be to me. For Harry, I am no longer here.

He shivered and looked up at the high window of Ron's room, then turned away.

It was fair.

Remus had promised to look after him after Sirius died. He had promised to be there.

And he hadn't been.

Again.

Of course, Harry wasn't going to talk to him. He supposed Harry could share a few key observations with Alderman and Sweet and Blondin and the others. "Lupin's great... nice fellow... but don't start counting on him. He'll just do a fade. I generally wait for more reliable people to talk to."

Remus shook his head. Foolish train of thought. Harry bore him no ill will. He was sure of that. Harry had no idea that any promise had been broken, and had greeted him with a weary but perfectly warm smile. Whatever he was worrying about, he simply didn't think that a fondly-remembered acquaintance from his childhood was going to be of any help with it.

Oh, talk to him, will you? Sirius's voice popped up in his head, and Remus could nearly see him rolling his eyes. He grinned. It had been a while since he'd last imagined that voice, and some of the sting was finally beginning to fade.

He sighed and Apparated out, knowing that if he didn't hurry, he wouldn't get back before the others woke up, and he didn't really want to answer questions.

It was still surprising to reach the Shrieking Shack, though he knew what to expect this time. She hadn't done much since the last time he'd been here, but the bedclothes were rumpled and twisted on the large old bed on the second floor. A cotton nightshirt and a pair of flannel pajama trousers were balled up on the floor beside a pile of tattered old romance novels.

"Dora?" he called.

No answer.

He went to the study and got his wand, then put the room back in order, making the bed and putting her sleepwear in the bureau. He sat for a long time on the bed, holding her pillow and wishing he could pick up her scent as well as Greyback claimed to. Then again, Greyback hadn't noticed anything amiss about "the sister," except that she was in his forest without his leave, so Remus had cause to wonder exactly how much he really could smell.

It had still been an idiotic chance to take. His feelings on the subject made a tangled mess--he had been happy to see her, felt chastened by his assumption that it had anything to do with wanting to see him, was disappointed that it hadn't, and was utterly furious at her for even attempting such an absurd thing, especially while taking absolutely no precautions beyond a completely transparent costume and a wavering morph.

But she's morphing. That's something.

He couldn't muster much enthusiasm for this. The others might have been fooled, but he could see how hard she was working to maintain an extremely simple shift.

Downstairs, he heard the trapdoor snick open, and a bit of wood thud against it. Something heavier hit the floor a little beyond it. He went to the top of the stairs and looked down. Albus Dumbledore's head and shoulders appeared, and he stopped to rest, holding onto the top of a ladder with his good hand and pulling the other against his chest. The Pensieve was sitting on the floor.

Remus ran down the stairs, offered a hand, and helped Dumbledore into the house.

"Thank you, Remus," Dumbledore said. "I'm afraid this"--he indicated his deadened hand--"has not made ladder-climbing any easier."

"I should have thought of that and come to the school."

"I don't think it would be wise at the present time." Dumbledore looked around. "This a rather attractive house, really. Shall we go to the parlor?"

"Er, yes... Dora... Tonks..."

"It's quite all right, Remus. I'm aware of her various nicknames."

"I know, but I shouldn't let myself slip like that. The more people know, the more--"

"Yes, yes." Dumbledore led the way in and sat down on an old velvet sofa. It was threadbare, but Dora had apparently repaired the gaping holes left by Remus's claws two decades ago. The Pensieve floated docilely after him, and landed on an end table, where he proceeded to ignore it. Dumbledore looked up at the drawing over the fireplace. "It's beginning to look homey in here. I hope you've got over your discomfort."

"Not entirely. Did you have a chance to--"

"Oh, Miss Tonks took care of everything," Dumbledore said. "Miss Tonks and Miss Delacour, at any rate. There is a safe haven waiting when the opportunity presents itself, and I took the small action of arranging for Robert Alderman's mother and her family to meet him there."

"She wanted to come?"

"Oh, yes. As I understand it, she was quite eager."

Remus sighed and looked out the window. "If I don't get all of them at once, I'll never get another chance."

"That's true."

"Sweet knows. She overheard. She knows about Alderman, anyway, and she wants me to help her as well."

"Good."

"I haven't talked to the others, though, Albus. If I take them out without asking them, am I any better than Greyback?" He shook his head. "And if I ask them, what if they can't keep a secret? I don't think they'd betray me, but they're--"

"Children."

"Yes. Children." He stood up and went to the window. This one had real boards on the other side, and he could only see the village in narrow slashes of black and billowing white. "I've been doing my best to sell our side."

"I assumed you'd get to that point. You know it's a dangerous thing to do."

"I know. More to the point, I can't do it anymore. Until I get them out of there, I can't afford to let Greyback get any more suspicious of me."

"Do you think there's any hope for the adults?"

Remus let out a bitter laugh. "Old Mag doesn't like what Greyback's doing, but even she prefers him to the Werewolf Registry." He shook his head. "Some ask questions. Most would be perfectly happy to take the power Voldemort wants to hand them and run with it. Pointing out that the Death Eaters won't, in all likelihood, keep their promises doesn't faze them. It's not as though they have anything to lose in a gamble."

"I wish I had a promise to make," Dumbledore said quietly. "I can promise that you have my respect, and you certainly have Harry's, but I can't force the rest of the world to change itself."

"Or, more properly speaking, you won't?" Remus asked, smiling.

"Oh, no. In this case 'cannot' is the right word. I could force compliance, but not change. Without change, compliance is meaningless."

They sat in silence for a few minutes. This far north, the sky was still very dark, and Remus hadn't lit any torches. Only the light of the nearly full moon pricking through the gaps between the window boards and pouring in from the entrance hall illuminated them.

Dumbledore pursed his lips. "Remus," he said, "I must ask something of you. You're going to Molly and Arthur's, aren't you?"

"Yes. I got there last night. I'll stay until Christmas. Then, obviously, I have to get back. I doubt anyone would care for a Boxing Day werewolf attack."

Dumbledore smiled faintly. "Of course. And you have work to do with the children as well. But while you're there, I need to ask something of you, regarding Harry."

"Harry doesn't really listen to me anymore."

"I have no intention of stroking your fragile ego, Mr. Lupin," Dumbledore said sharply. "You know perfectly well that Harry will listen if you talk to him."

Chastened, Remus looked down.

"Harry may say something... Something troubling. He has suspicions... I don't want him to follow them."

"Harry's instincts are good."

"Harry's instincts are too good," Dumbledore said. "And my concern in this isn't for Harry himself. I believe Harry to be safe from it. And there is someone else I feel I must protect--even from Harry."

"What are you talking about?"

"Draco Malfoy," Dumbledore said simply. "He's in a great deal of trouble, and this time, I am not going to let him fall away, as I once did with Severus. I don't care for the thought of who would be lost in trying to get him back."

"Malfoy?" Remus repeated. "Albus, Draco Malfoy is--"

"The son of a Death Eater, which he can no more help than you can help going through your monthly transformations. People questioned my judgment about you as well, Remus. And now, I am asking you for a repayment that I never thought I would need to. I am asking you to trust me. Blindly, if you must. I am not going to let Draco get lost in the shadows. Severus is doing what he can to help, but Harry is tenacious, and determined to prove his suspicions."

"After last year, I don't doubt it," Remus said.

"Discourage him."

"Even though he's right?"

"Remus, I must ask you to trust me."

Dumbledore waved his wand, and the Pensieve flew up to hover between them. Out of its mists, a small, pearly white figure rose, spinning slowly. With no coloration, Remus first thought it was Sirius, but the hair was thinner, straighter. The colorless figure, in fact, could have been Dora as a boy. His eyes were sunken in, and he was pacing, and only when he looked up wildly did Remus recognize the ruin of the arrogant, cocksure boy who had drawled his lazy, indulged way through third year classes. As if from a great distance, he heard it the figure muttering, "No, no, not that way... won't work... Father, Father... oh, no... has to work..."

"That's Draco?" he asked. "My God."

"Will you trust me, Remus?" Dumbledore asked. "Trust me, and let me help him... as I once helped you."
28 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 13th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, Dumbledore...

We don't see a whole lot of your Dumbledore, and, because his role is relatively minor, I sometimes forget how well you write him. With anyone but Remus, the direct appeal to a debt owed would be too much, but it works here. Is it manipulative? Yeah, kind of. But it's honest, straightforward manipulation done to try to prevent a great evil, and that's totally in-character for Dumbledore.

Something I particularly love about this story is how deftly you handle the things that we know that Harry doesn't know. After reading Book 6, we know that everybody was trying to throw Harry off the Malfoy scent, and you show us how and why. It's just lovely.

Three Sickles Short
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, Dumbledore...

I think that when Dumbledore thinks he might be pushing it, he feels bad about it--but does it anyway. For a Gryffindor, he has a goodish Slytherin streak. He just uses it to try and accomplish good things.
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: May 13th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how you write Dumbledore as well. Just the right amount of sensitivity and understanding tempered with a good kick to the rear.

One thing, I saw "like careless vampire." I assume you meant "like a careless vampire."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Got it, thanks.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: May 13th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
That was a wonderful treat on Friday night. I always love reading a out Dumbledore... Thanks a lot!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm getting comfortable with Dumbledore finally. Which is fairly bad timing, isn't it?
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: May 13th, 2006 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't re-read HBP since my second read last July (it's about time, I'm thinking I'll listen on the ipod), so I flipped through the Christmas chapter because I couldn't remember Remus being at the Burrow. Heh, I now read canon through the Shades/Shifts lens. I see now how carefully you must have read the book, and where certain sentences must have jumped out somehow for you to create this intricate backstory from the shards JKR gave you. Man, I could never do it! But I feel pretty strongly that yours is one of the only fanfics I've ever read that could be presented to JKR and she would really enjoy it in a "yes! that is dead-on" sort of way. (Not that I think she thought any of this stuff through in quite such week-to-week detail!)

Er, good installment. Sort of feels like this part is meant to connect the parts of the chapter together.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, this part leads into a few things. This is likely to be long interlude.

It's amazing the weird little things you pick up when you're reading specifically to get fic details. I did my timeline before the Lex came out with theirs, and it's... um, nerveracking. And mine and theirs don't always sync up, exactly.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: May 13th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations, you have (probably unconsciously) given me an explanation for that "extraordinary brainpower" sequence that doesn't involve the World's Most Counter-Productive Strategy. Yeah, Draco's the one at issue, durr.

And I'm certain I'm hallucinating, but I also see a reference to North Tower #42 in "I don't care for the thought of who would be lost in trying to get him back."

But putting aside the Snape debate for one second... oh, Draco.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Draco being at issue is the only thing that seems to make sense of Harry being put off all year on the subject.
sreya From: sreya Date: May 13th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, wow, I'm loving how much you emphasize Draco's Black heritage. He tends to be entirely connected to his father, but maybe it makes more sense to look at him as compared to his mother's family, since that's the side that seems to have the characters who really face those difficult situations. (Excluding Bellatrix, who clearly traded in all thought for passion a long, long time ago.)

I've tried to reword that, and it's still not exactly what I want to say. Sorry, running on 4 hours of sleep!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's amazing how much more interesting Draco became to me when he turned into Sirius's cousin.
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: May 13th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting. I like how Dumbledore chastises Remus for his little bout of self-pity.

And Very interesting, having him ask Remus to discourage Harry for Draco's sake.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Dumbledore just doesn't have time to pet everyone this year.
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait...this interlude is called "Sweet Surrender"...Would my reading of your rt_challenge entries give me insight into what happens after Boxing Day? I didn't know the story had progressed to this stage yet...oh dear.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The rt_challenge is something that happens a little later on, though I definitely have Boxing Day plans related to the chapter title.
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: May 13th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm assuming "Sweet" is not a random adjective.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 13th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, this past weekend I reread the chapters posted at the SQ. You have done a remarkable job of plotting along the way. :)

"The son of a Death Eater, which he can no more help than you can help going through your monthly transformations. People questioned my judgment about you as well, Remus. And now, I am asking you for a repayment that I never thought I would need to. I am asking you to trust me. Blindly, if you must."

Excellent setup for the hospital ward!

Lauryn
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: May 13th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm re-reading HBP as well, and I was especially struck by Lupin's comment, "I've been living among my fellows, my equals." That line was powerful the first time I read it, but now after being immersed in Shades for so long, It hits me right in the gut, because your story has so relentlessly stressed how much he believes this. Wonderful job.

Much love,
'Terna
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 13th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading this story right along - it's simply amazing. I look every morning to see if a new chapter has been posted! But this is the first time I've replied.

Usually I read right over the errors other people miss, but I got this one on the second read - you have Remus apparate to the Shrieking Shack, then get his wand?

Again, fantastic story - keep updating!

MacNik6 (fellow WNYer - native Pembrokean)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 14th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Usually I read right over the errors other people miss, but I got this one on the second read - you have Remus apparate to the Shrieking Shack, then get his wand?

Yeah, he's been keeping it there, so Greyback wouldn't confiscate it. What was the error?
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 14th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't you need a wand to apparate? How'd he get to the Shack without his wand?

MacNik6
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 14th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that. It never occurred to me until the first time I wrote him giving his wand to Tonks to hide that anyone thought he needed the wand to Apparate! I went a few rounds on it back in Chapter Two or something; then I totallly forgot. As far as I can tell from Apparition lessons, there's no need for a wand at any point, and I don't see where it could be used--it's just one more thing to carry along. There are no wand instructions given, and no one has a wand out in lessons. Apparition, like the animagus transformation, appears to be wandless magic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 14th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, I'm just going looney then. Wow, what a strange assumption on my part!

MacNik6 (who has read all HP books and fictions thinking apparition required a wand)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 14th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
No, you're not the only one--a lot of people asked me that back when I had him hide his wand. It had just literally never occurred to me that it would need a wand, and the element was already in place, so I went back and double-checked the books to see if I'd missed something!
hamletti From: hamletti Date: May 13th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wonderful...again

I can't remember if I've ever really commented, but I really enjoy your story. It makes canon make more sense and explains things in ways that I can't. Along with the fact that the story itself is extremely engaging. Remus is a character that the books don't have time to explore fully. He and Tonks came as a surprise to me at the end of HBP ('cause I'm that dense, yes...), so your ability to make it believable throughout is amazing. I appreciate the thought and time you put into this.

Thanks for sharing your talent and time.

-Hamletti
purebristles From: purebristles Date: May 16th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got nothing of value to add, really. Your stories are brilliant, and continually stun me.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 4th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
You do Dumbledore well. You make his actions in HBP seem almost reasonable. His little blind spot for second, third, fourth chances or as many as it takes allong with a desire to see the possibility of good in everyone does not seem so foolhardy when you write him.

I wonder what he would have told himself had Ron Weasley died of the poison intended for him.
28 comments or Leave a comment