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Shades, Chapter 27: Frozen, pt 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 27: Frozen, pt 2
Following HBP's speed-up in January and February, Remus's adjustment to life outside the pack is awkward at best, marked by frequent (and mostly inconsequential) arguments with an increasingly short-tempered Tonks, who finally sits him down after transformation and tells him that he has to start talking to her like a real person again, because they have to work together to help Greyback's pups. Since Remus obviously can't go back, Tonks suggests that she go back as "Sister Dora." Remus doesn't like it, but admits that he doesn't have anything particularly better in mind. She asks him to help with appearance charms, since her morphing is highly unreliable at the moment, and she never thought to learn them.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"It's really just a subset of Transfiguration," Remus said. "Not quite as complex as the Animagus transformation, but a bit harder than inanimate objects. I don't think you'll have any trouble. I'm actually surprised it's not on the N.E.W.T., to tell the truth."

"As a Shapeshifter, I can promise you that people are in no hurry to create more Shapeshifters. Bad enough that there are some of us who do it naturally. Where did you learn it?"

"James. He and Sirius and Peter had sufficient cover in the last war, but he was always worried about me being spotted somewhere. He offered to teach me to become an Animagus, but given my animal self, I didn't think that was particularly good idea." He sat down and frowned in a curious way. "I've never taught this before. Well, the first thing you need to do is remember what you want to change to become Sister Dora."

"I made my nose longer, aged my skin, and turned my cheekbones up. Nothing major. Oh, and my eyes. I made them blue."

He smiled. "No, nothing at all. You do realize that's more complex than what I did last year."

"It was barely a disguise."

"Well, the eyes are simple. We'll start there. The charm is nonverbalized--Oculi, like you'd think, plus the color."

Tonks pointed her wand at her eyes--the one thing one was simply never supposed to do, rather like Muggles were warned not to put guns in their mouths--and thought, Oculi caerulei. She didn't feel anything. "Did it work?"

Remus shook his head. "No. Let's see... whose eyes did you see?"

"Well, no one's in particular. They were just my eyes, only blue. Kind of grayish blue, I suppose."

"Hmm. Sounds a bit like your cousin Draco. Have you seen him?"

"Briefly."

"It sounds odd, but try thinking about your cousin while you do the spell. Concentrate on his eyes." He shrugged and grinned. "I suppose I'm trying to teach you to use a guide picture."

"Well, I'll try..."

It took a few tries, but Tonks finally managed the spell. She Conjured a mirror to check, and was surprised to see that her eyes really had become her cousin's, though she'd felt none of the strain of morphing. "How long does it hold?"

"I would duck into the toilets to double check it after classes last year," Remus said. "I wouldn't trust it for more than an hour or two. Shall we try the nose next?"

The nose took longer than the eyes, and Tonks became so frustrated with the cheekbones that she started cursing until Remus finally suggested that she use Sirius's cheekbones as a model, which sobered her... and provided her with the sharp, angular cheekbones she'd used. They had a strange, wavery feeling in her face, and she hoped that the Charm would settle in better. The aging of her skin was the easiest part of it, because she could just observe it on her arm.

She looked at herself in the mirror and laughed. "I could have skipped a few steps!" she said.

"What?"

"I look like Auntie!" She turned and scream-whispered, "FREAKS! BLOOD TRAITORS! SHAME OF MY HOUSE!"

Remus laughed. "That's disturbing. Finite incantatum."

The charms tickled slightly as Tonks's own appearance came back. She vanished the mirror and sat back down on the sofa. "Well, that's that, then. I can do it just like any other witch. Ha."

"Dora, no one will ever mistake you for any other witch." Remus looked up at the drawing over the mantel. "Did you... er... get my Christmas present?"

"Hmm?"

"I sent you a present with Errol. You never mentioned it."

Tonks rolled her eyes. "I had a note from Molly. Errol turned up a few days after Christmas with a package for me. I hadn't gone to get it yet. Bit busy. I wasn't expecting anything."

"Oh, it's nothing much. Just a drawing." He smiled. "I'm afraid I dropped Garabi's Grace when I had to leave the forest abruptly. I'd read a bit of it at Molly's, but not all of it."

"I wasn't sure you'd like that with... everything... but I thought I'd give it a try."

"It was a much needed break from... everything."

They sat quietly for a few minutes, then Tonks shook her head and stood up. "I'd best get down to Huntsford. I can't really trust owls with Montgomery; it would look a bit odd for a Muggle to start getting them."

"Do you have to go today?"

"I work tomorrow."

"Oh. Right." Remus sank back into his chair, his relaxed face changing subtly back to his resigned and mopey one. "Tell Montgomery that Sweet is safe. He'll want to know. And make sure Alderman knows what's going on somehow. I'd write a note for him, but I'm afraid of it being found."

Beyond that, he didn't say goodbye when Tonks left the house. She wondered idly if it would raise red flags if he were to appear in France and help with the enclosures--he needed something to do--and regretfully came to the conclusion that it probably would. No attention at Valeska's could be risked.

She changed into a fake nun's habit, put the appearance charms back on, and Apparated to churchyard in Huntsford and found herself between two crumbling monuments (Belcher and Kendrick), standing on a relatively fresh grave--it had obviously been dug during the winter, and no grass had grown on it.

"Mag," she whispered. "I'm sorry."

"Two of the children brought her body."

Tonks jumped. "Father Montgomery! You startled me!"

"You're the one who appeared out of nowhere, Sister Dora. Shouldn't I be the startled one?"

"But you aren't."

Montgomery laughed and came around her to lead her inside. "I've seen my brother Apparate any number of times. You should be more careful, shouldn't you? Anyone could have been here."

"The gates are locked," Tonks said, pointing at the fence. "I noticed it the last time I was here. And no one would be keeping the grounds in the winter. It seemed like a safer choice than the woods at the moment."

"Probably true." He grew pensive. "The children who brought Mag back were so young. A pretty girl who couldn't stop crying. A boy who was trying to act a lot tougher than he really was. My brother and his wife were here at the time with their children. They're so very different." He gestured at the church. "Come inside," he said. "We'll talk."

Tonks followed him into the church, through the sanctuary to his office. He didn't go to his desk, but instead sat across from her on the couch.

"Sweet's safe," Tonks said. "Remus wanted to make sure you knew that."

"I guessed as much. He's a good man."

"He's disgusted with himself for having to protect her from... well, himself."

"He's a good man," Montgomery said again.

"Why were you waiting for me?"

"I wasn't. I go out every day and sit by her grave. She came to me when I first took over the parish. She confessed. I can't tell you what she confessed, but I'm sure you can imagine. She thought I wouldn't believe her. But I knew. I'd read my brother's Hogwarts books." He rubbed his forehead. "She just wanted to try and make her life right again."

Tonks wasn't sure what to say to this, so she let it hang in the air. "Your brother... you said he was here when the children brought her to you?"

Montgomery nodded. "Yes. He dug the grave with magic. It's certainly too cold to do it with Muggle tools."

"Do you think he would be willing to help? To get messages back and forth to you?"

"No. He has children. I don't want Greyback to even begin to suspect he has the faintest idea what's going on. If he finds out I'm a meddling Muggle, it's bad enough, but if he thinks someone's helping me... I even told Ralph to stop using magic here after he finished with the grave. I'll help however I can, but don't involve him."

"All right," Tonks said. "Do you have anything I could bring to the boys for charity? I need some cover to go into the woods and speak to a boy named Alderman."

"I'll go with you. I don't have any clothes, but I've got plenty of fruits and vegetables. And I'll get them some milk. There's some in the cellar."

Between them, they packed most of the church's larder into two wicker baskets and headed out into a cold, soaking rain that had begun.

"Should have brought an umbrella," Montgomery said.

"Do you have a free hand?"

"Good point." He shook the water out of his eyes. "You know, I've never actually been out here before. I always sent things back with Mag. Or with you, Sister. Do you happen to know where we're going?"

"Well, we follow the path for a bit, and there's a creek, and I think a waterfall. But mainly, look for a pond. The pond is probably the best landmark for us to--"

"Or," someone said, dropping down out of the tree and splashing up a sheet of freezing mud-water, "you could just follow your friendly forest guide."
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Comments
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: July 3rd, 2006 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Agh! A cliffhanger! I really enjoyed this part though... Remus was a bit nicer.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 3rd, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoa!

That was worth staying up for!

I'm less likely to hurt Remus after this section. How do you manage to write a character you like who is behaving so badly?
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 3rd, 2006 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
ARGH!! Such a cliffhanger right before I go away for a week!!

...oh well. I haven't been commenting as much but I'm still reading and loving - empathising really a lot with Tonks these days, but feeling for Remus as well as he's so obviously in pain even while he's being a pain.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: July 3rd, 2006 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Wait, Dora never got the picture? Oops. She's going to be knocked sideways when she does.

Father Montgomery is a good character who adds a lot here, and it's nice to see him recognising Remus' qualities as well!

Quibble: I think they do learn appearance changing at NEWT? That's what they were starting to learn just before Christmas in HBP (when Ron gave himself the moustache by mistake).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 3rd, 2006 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, you're right. Must think of a different reason why Tonks didn't learn them and therefore needs help. (Can't imagine McGonagall would let her get away with skipping it!)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe Tonks couldn't do them because whenever she concentrated on the appearance, the morph just slipped in automatically before she had chance to try the charm. It would be hard to penalise her for it, especially when the results are the same (possibly she could fool an examiner). You could also justify that appearance charms on another person require a different approach altogether so she couldn't apply the same magic to herself.

Nice update again - but I really hate cliffhangers!

TDU
satakieli From: satakieli Date: July 5th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
darn...

As a Shapeshifter, I can promise you that people are in no hurry to create more Shapeshifters. Bad enough that there are some of us who do it naturally.

was one of my favorite lines in this section, and I'll be sorry to see it go.

It's so nice to see Lupin teaching again.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: July 3rd, 2006 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Being eternally slow, I've just sussed for the first time that there's a connection between Father Montgomery and the Montgomery boy of HBP. Oh dear, that's not going to be nice and I strongly suspect much self blame on the parts of both Remus and Tonks when it goes nasty...:(
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: July 3rd, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
That didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it.

...

I'm going to kill Greyback. Seriously.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 5th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just got that. That is going to end up being awful, I think. Even more so now.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: July 6th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Augh. I didn't get that either. Oh, Fern, you're killing us here.
From: oicrylic Date: July 3rd, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like when Tonks looked like "Auntie" Black and imitated her. I'm glad there was brief, subtle, and quaint Remus/Tonks moment.

Keep posting :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

I get it now!

I just realized I could leave a review without a LJ ID. I love your stories! Remus is spot on, as frustrating as he is.

I'm wondering what you will do once you finish with book 6. Wait for book 7?

Also, i just realized who Father Montgomery is. Was I slow on the update or have most people passed it up? I was terribly upset to realize it as well...

I check every day for your updates. Thanks for the woncderful stories.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 3rd, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

So addictive!

Please post again soon. I think I may get ill if I don't have my regular fix of Fernfic!
Helena
ella_menno From: ella_menno Date: July 4th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I usually love it when little pieces of the plot fall into place, but when Father Montgomery said "My brother and his wife were here at the time with their children," all of my insides clenched up. I knew it had to happen, but man, is it going to bring the angst for Our Heroes.

Still a great story, and I'm as hooked as ever - just so you know. :-)
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: July 5th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
his relaxed face changing subtly back to his resigned and mopey one ahahaha, great line. I HATE that! (When my fiancé gets into one of those bleh moods I call him Sir Mopey the Glum.)
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