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Shades, Chapter 26: Living Arrangements, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 26: Living Arrangements, pt. 2
I just want to take a minute to appreciate having actual people who come here and read the stuff I spew out onto the 'net. It's really good to know you're out there and take time out of real life to check on Shades from time to time. I can say, "I write for myself" as often as I want to, but it's sure-God better to have people to share it with!

Anyway, I left Tonks trudging back to the Shrieking Shack after a day at work, during which Robards reminded her of the Emmeline Vance case and she realized she hadn't thought about it for months.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




When she got to the kitchen of the Shrieking Shack, she found a small open bag on the table. Remus had filled it with the few bits of clothing he'd left here, a few books, and several papers. Granny was sniffing at the clasp, and didn't really notice when Tonks came in.

"Remus?"

Footsteps thudded down the stairs. "Dora? Is your shift over, then?" Remus ducked into the kitchen, his wand in one hand and a shaving kit in the other. "I hadn't realized how late it was getting. I... are you all right?"

Tonks found a smile and set down her satchel of papers. "Fine. I see you haven't changed your mind about leaving."

"Sorry."

She nodded. "Well, at least let me go up to London with you."

"To help carry my vast store of belongings?"

"To open some of Auntie's good firewhiskey, and have a drink to old friends."

He frowned and put his shaving kit his bag. "What's happened?"

"I forgot Emmeline." Tonks rubbed her forehead and sat down at the table, sighing. "I haven't done a thing for her."

"You've beeen a bit busy. And I'm sure you didn't forget her. I haven't done anything for her either, but--"

"She left a message. I didn't follow it up."

"Does Dumbledore know about it?"

"Yes."

"If he needed you to work on it, he'd have you working on it. You aren't more responsible to Emmeline than the rest of us are just because of your job."

Tonks tried to think of an argument, then laughed. "We're both very wise about one another's problems. Perhaps we should just switch lives. You can be complacent about my job, I'll be complacent about the werewolf business."

"If you want to brew some Polyjuice Potion, I'm willing to give it a try." He winked.

"I don't know. There are some very disturbing mental images tied up with that."

Remus laughed, and Tonks laughed with him, and he held out his hand. "Come on. I can get you out by Side-Along. It's less trouble than secret Floo hook-ups."

As she took his hand, he waved his wand. His traveling case closed and disappeared with a small pop, then he pulled her close and the world darkened around them. When they arrived in the alley off of Grimmauld Place, there was a dismal rain falling, and they let go of one another quickly to run for the door of Number Twelve. The running did no good--they were both soaked when Remus slammed the door behind them, waking up Auntie behind her screens.

"INTRUDERS! FOUL BEASTS! FREAKS!"

"Shall we quiet her down?" Remus asked.

"Let her scream for awhile. It makes her happy." Tonks did a quick Drying Charm, then ducked down into the kitchen to get the Old Ogden's. She heard Remus puttering around in the parlor, getting fire started in the hearth, and half-expected Sirius to bound down the stairs and ask what was keeping her.

He didn't.

She sighed and plucked two glasses from the shelf, then headed back upstairs. Remus had settled himself in the armchair. She handed him a glass and poured two fingers of firewhiskey into it, then took a seat on the sofa and poured some for herself. She kicked her shoes off and tucked her feet under her legs and stared into the drink. Little flames shot back and forth across the surface.

"Dora?"

She looked up. "To Sirius," she said, and raised her glass.

He raised his in return and muttered, "To Sirius."

She sipped the firewhiskey slowly, letting it slide back in her mouth like burning silk. The charm started working before she even swallowed, and her mind brought up an image of Sirius sitting in the armchair where Remus now sat, laughing, surrounded by foliage from a transfiguration duel. It faded to Sirius decorating the room with Harry, then to Sirius at the Department of Mysteries, jumping down into his last battle, and...

She sighed and leaned forward.

"He had a dog," Remus said abruptly. "Before he was one, he had one. We found him in Hogsmeade. His name was Fizzing Whizbee."

"I didn't know that."

"Sirius loved that dog more than most people. Of course, his mum wouldn't let him bring Whizbee home, so we left him with Hagrid over holidays. Well, actually, he stayed with Hagrid most of the time; dogs weren't dormitory pets. But everyone knew he was Sirius's dog. And after Sirius ran away, Whizbee went with him. Mrs. Potter was quite patient about that. I'd nearly forgotten about old Whizbee."

Tonks smiled. "What happened to him?"

"I don't know. I never saw him after..." He shrugged. "After. I suppose Hagrid must have taken him. Or perhaps he ran off. I'd like to think he ran off and made some little Muggle child happy to have a new dog."

Tonks, who had wept after leaving a Muggle animal shelter when she learned that animals who weren't adopted were "put to sleep," chose not to share that particular knowledge. "Where, er... I know there was a good reason for me not to come, but where did you put the... the marker that you made for him?"

"In Godric's Hollow, near the Potters' home. I should have taken you. I thought at the time that I shouldn't. That it was..."

"Private," Tonks finished. "It was private. I just thought I might, you know, visit it and have a private moment with him myself. I can't think of anywhere else." She had not, honestly, thought of any such thing until she said it, but on saying the words, a deep ache of desire seemed to open up inside of her. She saw herself sitting beside the little dog statue that Remus had made, telling it all of her troubles, looking up and feeling Sirius commiserating with her, perhaps making nasty suggestions of ways to "get even" with Greyback.

Or Remus.

She didn't need any special amount of imagination to know how Sirius would feel about Remus's actions this year.

She looked up. Remus was watching her steadily, and she suspected that he knew perfectly well what she'd been thinking.

"You're not going back to Greyback, are you?" she asked.

"What?"

"You're not going back, are you?"

"I don't see how I could. I'll have to rely on Alderman to--"

"Then there's no reason for--"

He held up his hand and shook his head. "That was the reason at the beginning, Dora. It's not the reason anymore."

She threw her glass into the fire, and the firewhiskey exploded in a ball up the chimney. "Then what the hell is the reason?"

"You know what it is." He set his glass down carefully and leaned forward with his sharp elbows on his bony thighs. "I can't pretend this year, as I did last year. I know what kind of life I could give you, and that's no kind of life at all."

"You don't need to give me a life. I have one. I just want to share it with you."

The corner of his mouth turned up in a bitter half-smile. "Do you know much about Muggle medicine?" he asked.

"Not really, no."

"Sometimes, when someone has bled a lot and is dying, they'll take blood from a healthy person and share it with the injured one. It's called a transfusion."

"Sounds like a good idea."

"It sounds more like vampirism to me. That's all I'd be. A great vampire attaching himself to you and sucking your life away to replace my own." He sniffed. "You know, there used to be a school of thought that werewolves become vampires when we die. Ludicrous, of course, but people believed it."

"People will believe anything about what they don't understand."

"I don't don't need to wait until I die, though. All I have to do is look at you this year. Look at everything I've taken from you, everything I've stolen..."

"Stop it."

"You always had so much life. And now, you're--"

"At war," Tonks said. "I'm sorry if I grew up and stopped being Cheerful Little Dora all the time. You told me once that I didn't need to be. And I--"

"It's not that!"

"Of course it is. I stop being perfectly cheerful all the time, so you leave me."

He blinked. "That's not at all what I meant. I meant that I've hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you, and I want to not hurt you anymore, so that you can be happy again. How could you think--?"

"I don't." Tonks sighed deeply. "I know what you meant to say. I wanted to shock you a bit to make you see it differently. But Remus, please... if you want to stop hurting me, then come home. Unless you don't love me anymore. If you don't love me anymore, I promise I'll try to break away. I promise. I'll--"

"I love you, Dora. That's not the problem. I--"

"What else matters? What--?"

"Not to intrude on this charming scene," someone said from behind them. The tall, thin form of Severus Snape was silhouetted against the light from a wall sconce. "But I would greatly appreciate some assistance in stopping the caterwauling coming from the front entrance hall."
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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2006 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Fabulous as ever - and very welcome in my current state of insomnia (it's 4 in the morning here and I'm WIDE awake). Fingers crossed we're going to see some Phineas in the next section!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Oo. Hadn't thought of it before, but maybe so. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2006 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow! Snape just went to the head of the line for worst times to say the wrong thing. Ron's "Hermione, you're a girl" just became a distant second.

I also want to give Remus a large stack of vampire-romance novels which, before this, I never saw any earthly use for.

Back to Snape. He just arrived. The painting was already screaming. He didn't try to silence it then and there but went looking for the whoever had set the noise off. The kitchen would probably be the first place he'd look, not the parlor. He must have made some kind of determined effort to find who was there BEFORE dealing with Mrs. B.

I can think of sinister and nonsinister reasons. Quieting Mrs. Black down would also have let anyone else there know someone else had arrived. The question is whether he didn't want anyone to know he was there or he didn't want to take the time to quiet her down.

Since most Order members stop her when she gets like that, someone who hadn't stopped her might have been injured, under the Imperious, or had something so important going on they couldn't be bothered. Good or bad, Snape would find any of those worth investigating.

Of course, Snape might have had something to finish first and didn't want to tip off anyone that he'd arrived and was doing it. Or, he may have been there all along. Those both imply something nasty going on.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting thoughts. Honestly, though, I hadn't gotten much further than Snape coming in and being annoyed that someone had left the portrait screaming, and, rather than doing anything about it, deciding to seek retribution on whoever it was by interrupting. ;p
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: June 24th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
THAT is how I read it. But now I can see that I have no criminal mind/am an utter failure at second guessing.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: June 22nd, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it may not be the most productive of conversations, but they're finally talking! And you made me really miss Sirius there. I hadn't thought much about him in a while.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: June 22nd, 2006 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)

oh, and...

I'd hardly call it "spewing." I'm excited everytime you come up on my friendslist, not just because you're my favorite author but because you have so many interesting things to say, about fandom and about life in general. Add in the fact that you're a librarian? That makes you just about the coolest person ever.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: oh, and...

Heh, thanks. The Internet is weird, this oddball line between personal and professional--are you filling a consumer need, or imposing on friends' time? :)
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: June 22nd, 2006 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
It's always the perfect ending to an evening at work when I look online and find a new chapter of Shades. The quality of your fiction far surpasses plenty of stuff I've seen in print. Keep up the good work! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2006 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I was going to save this to read after I'd got my daughter to bed and had finished the washing up but somehow I couldn't wait that long so now I'm going to have to find something else with which to treat myself. Poor Tonks! She's finding so many different ways to tell Remus she doesn't care and he still won't listen. No wonder she was so exasperated in the hospital with the "I've told you a million times . . ."

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. Poor girl is doing her best!
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: June 22nd, 2006 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how the empty space left by Sirius is always just around the corner in this fic. It's so real.

So is the emotion between Remus and Tonks in this scene. Gah. How frustrating.

And the worst person of all to overhear all this--Snape. My goodness. Poor Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
It's easy to avoid a missing piece when everything else has changed, but it's really horrible when you're back where the missing piece belongs.
From: evalotte Date: June 22nd, 2006 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved this part! The way they talk about Sirius was very authentic and well placed. I also had nearly forgotten that they are still grieving and I guess with everything that was going on they almost forgot themselves. I also really like the idea of firewhiskey conjuring images, I already loved it in Shifts.
And its amazing how many different ways of "the talk" between Remus and Tonks you can find - it must be difficult because they are mainly saying the same things all over, but you manage to keep it new and interesting!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--that's a big concern when canon says they've had the same conversation a million times!
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: June 22nd, 2006 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, nice -- showcases Remus' misery at what he can't offer Tonks, and her sheer weariness at the way he's behaving. And the interruption by Snape was a good way to allow the scene to break up without them coming to any kind of conclusion. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what I like about their problems in HBP is that they're both really trying hard to do what's right for the other one, and hurting each other in the process. I love the conflict between competing goods.
purebristles From: purebristles Date: June 22nd, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I love the Snape line. It's so... Snape. Articulate, insolent, and just drawllllllll. Or droll. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Snape's dialogue is amusing. :)
jadeddiva From: jadeddiva Date: June 22nd, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've really enjoyed the last two chapters - they're lovely. And Fizzing Whizbee might be the best name for a pet ever.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I made up Whizbee a long time ago for a story I didn't really finish. I like people with pets. :)
From: oicrylic Date: June 22nd, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ending with Snape, I see.

Well.

Make sure you write fast and tell us what Snape is upt to!

Update quickly!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll see what I can do!
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: June 22nd, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always do a bit of internal squeeing when any new chapters come up. You're a wonderful author, and I really think that Shifts and Shades are the best possible examples of what good fanfiction should be: deeply respectful to the original canon, but finding ways to expand the canonical world with new elements and characters (and I have to say, I think you've got the best OCs--and characterizations for canon characters without much role in the books--that I've ever seen; it's easy to forget that they even are OCs).

And this, as usual, is a lovely chapter. Hang it all, I miss Sirius all over again. And Snape--my goodness. I'm going to hurt that man.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I try to be respectful to canon, that's for sure!). I'm glad the OCs work, too.
miss_tilney From: miss_tilney Date: June 22nd, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading your work for a while but, as I've only recently got around to getting my own livejournal, haven't commented before.

Given your comment up top, I feel remiss in not saying before how much I enjoy your writing. The quality is way beyond that usually found in fanfic (and better than much published work) and the way you weave your original plots into the existing canon is delightful. Thank you for sharing your work with us.

Anyway, in terms of this chapter, you've surprised me by taking Remus away from the werewolves so early and I was waiting to see how he would continue to turn down Tonks. Given what's happened to him recently it's not surprising that he doesn't just return to everything being ok between them. It's going to be a slow process.

Looking forward to finding out what happens next...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Given your comment up top

Oh, honestly, not begging there! I'd just heard of a case of someone who made a lot of sockpuppets to read her stuff, and it made me feel genuinely grateful to have real people who actually read!
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: June 24th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's what you meant. For a second there I thought ... oh, well, I don't know what I thought. But hell, yeah, we're real enough even when we don't leave that many insightful reviews ;-)
miss_tilney From: miss_tilney Date: June 24th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eep - sorry, I didn't mean to say that's the only reason I commented, it wasn't at all. And I knew you didn't mean it that way either!
From: siriuslypotter Date: June 22nd, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing, you could write is spewing :)
Brilliant, as usual, Snape came in at exactly the wrong time, you'd think he did it deliberately.
I love Remus dearly, but he is such a prat sometimes.
How can such a otherwise inteligent man be so thick at times?
Anyway, a slight nitpick.

"He frowned and put his shaving kit his bag"



fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
How can such a otherwise inteligent man be so thick at times?

Probably because he's really trying hard to do what's right, and he's convinced that anything that makes him personally happy must inherently be a sacrifice for someone else. It certainly wouldn't have been a deliberate thing, but I can see him looking at everything his parents gave up to give him a normal life and coming to the conclusion that grown-ups give up their own happiness so that people they love can be happy, without stopping to consider that the two don't have to be mutually exclusive concepts.
From: octobersnow Date: June 22nd, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just popping in to say I'm still reading and quite throughly enjoying. I'm looking forward to the next scene because for some bizarre reason I enjoy reading Snape. (When he's written well that is.)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll do my best then!
From: octobersnow Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
No worries. I know you'll write him well, that's why I'm looking forward to it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 23rd, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I found this story and Shifts about a month ago, and I have been reading religiously ever since. I just wanted to say that I find you to be an extremely talented writer, and that when you refer to canon, it almost seems to be a world that has been created to fit into Shifts/Shades, as opposed to vice versa. Bravo!
Also, the following paragraph just illustrates for me how much you have managed to move these characters forward with your writing, to the point that canon seems under-developed:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"You always had so much life. And now, you're--"

"At war," Tonks said. "I'm sorry if I grew up and stopped being Cheerful Little Dora all the time. You told me once that I didn't need to be. And I--"

"It's not that!"

"Of course it is. I stop being perfectly cheerful all the time, so you leave me."

He blinked. "That's not at all what I meant. I meant that I've hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you, and I want to not hurt you anymore, so that you can be happy again. How could you think--?"

"I don't." Tonks sighed deeply. "I know what you meant to say. I wanted to shock you a bit to make you see it differently. But Remus, please... if you want to stop hurting me, then come home. Unless you don't love me anymore. If you don't love me anymore, I promise I'll try to break away. I promise. I'll--"

"I love you, Dora. That's not the problem. I--"

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>...


I just love the part where he says "how could you think-"... to me it's so Remus to be so hurt by what is obviously an empty and desperate threat from a lonely Tonks.

Please keep writing Fern, your fans needs you!
xxx
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, there's no danger of me stopping. I've tried. It doesn't work. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 23rd, 2006 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I have never commented before, or, for that matter, posted anything online, but, upon reading your preface, I felt compelled to do so tonight. I discovered Shifts and Shades a few months ago and have been absolutely riveted ever since. Months after reading HBP, I couldn't get Tonks/Lupin out of my head ... Canon provided tantalizing but unsatisfying glimpses into this most compelling subplot and, though I was a complete stranger to fanfic of any sort, I started trolling around online to see if anyone agreed with me. Your writing is exactly what I had hoped to find. You have created such a lovely backstory to the relationship and to the characters - it feels more canon than canon and truly stands on its own as quite an achievement. A while back, I printed out some Shades chapters to read on a flight; my printer gave me double copies which my kids have been using as scrap paper. I am now mocked for stopping and compulsively re-reading the backs of their drawings wherever and whenever I find them. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that, while I have not been commenting, I am following your work religiously and am completely hooked --Thank you so much for sharing your writing and your talents!

Anna
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2006 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! And glad that R/T led you to fanfic; it's a fun little world!
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)

"I don't don't need to wait until I die, though. All I have to do is look at you this year. Look at everything I've taken from you, everything I've stolen..."


Is there missing punctuation or too many don'ts in that?


I don't know if you meant to it be figurative or an actual "charm" but I love the idea of a drink that makes you remember someone when you toast them. Did you have this in shifts as well? I have a vague memory.
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