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Shades, Chapter 30: Rattling the Bones, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 30: Rattling the Bones, pt. 1
Ron has been poisoned, and Tonks got called in for a day to work on the poison. When she came back, her parents were at the Shrieking Shack, based on a letter from Remus expressing his concern about her. They have a wary sort of peace declared with Remus. Ted started to counsel Tonks (see why I call her Dora? It would be very weird to have conversation between Ted and Tonks!), and she told him her problems regarding the pups and the spell. He pointed out that Andromeda did manage to learn a thing or two from her parents.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




On a cold, murky day a week after her parents had returned from Asia, Tonks stood uncomfortably under the Black family tree at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. In her hands, she had the two ebony boxes containing Sirius and Regulus Black's milk teeth. On the table was a letter from Father Montgomery--Alderman had left the sign that Greyback was away from the pack. The first Sirius Black--Phineas's brother, the child metamorphmagus who had died before reaching Hogwarts--was capering in the pen and ink drawing beneath the tapestry. He took a great leap, and yanked himself up into the family tree, squinting at Draco Malfoy's name while using the "y," which was almost half as tall as he was, to hold on to.

"There's no place to get your footing," Tonks said.

He made a face at her (a sort of gargoyle crossed with a teddy bear) and dropped back down into the landcape.

Tonks examined the bottom of the tapestry, wondering if she could make him a little platform or something so that he could climb up onto the horizontals, but the tree was a powerfully magical thing, and if it wouldn't even take new names added manually, she doubted it would take pointless decoration.

"Why don't you go visit Phineas?" Tonks suggested. "I think he's up in the room Harry and Ron were in last year. Maybe he could even take you to visit his other portrait." She smiled conspiratorially, having no idea at all whether or not such a thing was possible, but it would keep the little painting occupied for a while trying to find out. The boy clapped his hands silently and ran through the landscape, into a scene at Stonehenge, and disappeared around the doorway into a bleak battle scene that hung in the corridor.

Tonks followed him with her eyes, and found Mum leaning on the door frame, watching him with a vague smile on her face. "Regulus used to play with him," she said. "They'd chase each other all over the house."

"Did you know he was a metamorphmagus?"

Mum raised her eyebrows, surprised. "No. Never heard a thing about it."

"He morphs for me all the time."

Mum laughed. "I remember when we took you to see that old metamorphmagus woman in Greece when you were nine. The pair of you spent all day morphing at one another, just to try and outdo each other."

"You think he wants me to play with him?"

"Yes."

Tonks sighed. "Maybe, eventually." She held out the boxes. "Will these work all right for bones of a child?"

Mum didn't even open them. "They'll be fine. The real trick was figuring out whether or not an untransformed werewolf could provide the blood of a dark creature. I suppose we could use a redcap or something of the sort, but I..." She wrinkled her nose. "Let's say that I would strongly prefer something that has the werewithal to volunteer the blood."

"Did you find out?"

"I suppose we'll find out today." She drew out a glass vial filled with evil-looking red. "Remus gave me half a pint this morning. And don't look at me like that; I made him agree to eat a whole meal if I let him bleed."

"Do you think it will work?"

Mum shrugged. "Well, technically, werewolves are classified as dark creatures even when they're not transformed. The curse is always there."

"Does it carry on to--" Tonks stopped abruptly, but it was too late.

Mum gave her a sympathetic smile. "No," she said. "There's ample evidence on that subject. There's no reason at all to worry about Remus's children. It's like cutting off a mouse's tail. It will always be tail-less, but its little mouselings will be perfectly fine."

"Thanks. I think."

"The question is whether the Ministry's classification will make a difference."

"Well, it's a Ministry-designed spell, so it should. Does it disturb you that the Ministry made this nonsense up?"

"Not really." Mum set the vial of blood down carefully. "You're uncomfortable with this, aren't you?"

"Well, it is dark magic. Blood and bones."

"You use salamander blood in potions all the time, and your wand has a dragon heartstring at the core."

"Human bones, and Remus's blood. And the dragons are already dead when they pull the heartstrings. I knew Ollivander's granddaughter. She had to harvest them with him once. I do know what Dark Magic is, Mum. I'm an Auror. I'm meant to stop people from doing precisely this sort of thing."

Mum sat down, her hands on her knees. "I know. And there's a reason this sort of spell is, shall we say, strongly discouraged. We're using it to rescue werewolves but--"

"Bellatrix tried to use it to try to bring Dementors onto the Hogwarts school grounds. McGonagall and I stopped her."

"Bella...?" Mum blew a harsh breath out between her front teeth, and shook her head sharply. "Yes, and she undoubtedly would have used a full skeleton and bled a dark creature entirely."

"We don't know what she bled, but someone had brought an old skeleton. The arm was missing when we finished. I assume that they--" Tonks stopped, puzzled. "It would have had to go into the school, if they were going to do the spell on the gate in the Forbidden Forest." She sighed. "Then again, that poison needed to get onto school grounds as well. It might have been... a student."

Mum wasn't fooled. "Let Dumbledore worry about your cousin. I have no desire to see him in Azkaban. Meanwhile, if it was Draco, and he got the bones into the school, he did us a favor. I was late because I went into the Forbidden Forest to check. McGonagall showed me the gate. It's active. She was going to undo it, but I told her to let it be. We only need to get to the one in Huntsford."

"You went with McGonagall? I'm right there!"

"Sorry. I just thought of it this morning--I wanted to take a look at the point of egress--and you were getting some sleep. You do need to do that after a night shift, you know." She smiled. "You don't need to do everything."

"I'm hardly doing anything."

"Yes, you're very lazy. Nearly slothful." She stood up. "Come on. We can't count on the fog lasting anymore, and this is better done when visibility is low. Apparently, Dementor breeding season is over. How do we get there?"

"I can take you side-along from the alley," Tonks said. "Alderman is going to meet us at the churchyard. Can you carry the supplies?"

Mum gathered the teeth and the blood and tossed them into a spare satchel. Tonks started out, but Mum dashed up the stairs.

"Mum?"

"I'll be right back!" Mum called. "I don't know if it's important or not, but we may as well... yes, that's right..."

She came down with Auntie's silver dagger in her hand. "I needed something to cut the ground with," she explained, lashing it to her leg. "I'd brought a kitchen knife, but then I remembered Auntie's. I'm sure it's had various rituals done over it."

"She was holding that when she died," Tonks said. "Sirius found it on her lap when he found the body."

Mum narrowed her eyes, looking more curious than disgusted, then came the rest of the way down the stairs without commenting. "Let's go," she said.

Tonks led her out to the alley, then held out her arm. She waited for Mum to get a good grip, then pulled them both out of London, through the pressing darkness, emerging in the fog of the Huntsford churchyard.

"D'you reckon I could learn to do that someday?" Alderman asked tentatively, stepping out from behind Mag's gravestone.

Tonks heard Mum's sharp intake of breath when she saw him, but pulled her forward as if she hadn't. "Alderman," she said, "this is my mother, Andromeda. She'll be doing a spell today."

"Ma'am." Alderman dipped his head and started to smile, then apparently thought better of it. "I don't reckon there's anyone could fix my teeth... after, is there? They seem to bother nice ladies." He gave Mum a sheepish, closed-mouth grin.

Mum returned it. "Yes, I'm sorry. And yes, I think there are people who can fix them magically."

"And if not," Tonks added, "I know a very nice Muggle-born girl whose parents are dentists. I'm sure they'd help."

"Dumb thing to do," Alderman muttered. "I thought it was a good idea at the time."

"Welcome to life as a teenager," Mum said. "Can you get us to this gate?"

"Well..." He equivocated. "I, er... I mean, I know where it is, but it would be... I'm not meant to be there..."

"It's in the girls' area," Tonks explained.

"Right. I can get you close to it, and then--" He bit his lip. "I-brought-in-someone-else," he said quickly. "I wasn't sure you'd remember your way."

"Can you trust her?" Tonks asked.

"Yeah. I wouldn't have thought so before, but since Vivian left... they were best friends. I mean, they fought a lot, but... Evvie's really angry at Greyback. And so are the others. I've been... I have told them anything exactly, but they shouldn't go if they don't want to, so I've been asking them things like, 'You know, if you weren't here, what you want to do?' and so on. They all have things they want to do." He looked anxiously at Tonks. "Is that all right?"

"You did well," she said. "But I think we'll probably need to move quickly. Children aren't known for their ability to keep secrets."

"How's this moon?" Alderman suggested. "Greyback's been out and about, and he said something about the men going off on an errand. He might make me go with them, but you could get the others out."

"Alderman, run away before the moon, and come back after they're gone."

"Oh, right." He looked up hopefully. "I could even leave a trail to make sure they're gone. They could be gone because they're chasing me, couldn't they? And then I'd hide it on the way back in."

"Good plan," Tonks said. "Now shall we go do some dark magic?"
27 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 30th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really liked Alderman in this one. The more you write about him, the more endearing he gets.
Other than that, I'm a bit confused. Maybe I didn't follow the story well enough, but how come that Tonks's parents are suddenly so involved? I feel I've missed a bit, here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 30th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was the end of the last section, when Ted pointed out to her that Andromeda knew dark magic, and Tonks realized that her mother was exactly who she needed to help.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 30th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I must have missed that part then. I'll go back and read it.
Thanks!
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: July 30th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now I'm really worried for Alderman's safety. He could easily succeed in drawing them away and then get caught and eaten before he could return.

A typo near the end, there "I have told them anything exactly but they shouldn't go if they don't want to" should be "I haven't told them anything."

Nice installment! It's exciting to see all these plot points pay off.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 31st, 2006 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
A typo near the end,

Heh, way to change the entire meaning of a sentence without having spell-check catch it!

Thanks!

Yeah, Alderman's not exactly playing it safe here.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 1st, 2006 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Another typo up near the top :

"You went with McGonagall? I'm right there!"

Shouldn't that be "I'm right here!"?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yet another OUTSTANDING installment! Gold star to you!



The LJ-less McGonagall's Cat
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: July 30th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
It amuses me to see anti-Lamarckism in a throwaway line in the middle of an HP fic. Cute indirect dig at the multicolored-werewolf-pup shippers, and you fit it well into the actual story. "Thought it was a good idea at the time" ... "Welcome to life as a teenager" also amuses.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 31st, 2006 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Cute indirect dig at the multicolored-werewolf-pup shippers

I guess it depends on whether you see a curse as something like having your hand bitten off, or something like being exposed to radiation or having an incurable virus that would get into all of your cells. But since JKR has said that there are no werewolf pups (despite Riddle's slander on Hagrid), I'd have to guess it's more of an aquired characteristic. Let's hope so for Remus's sake, anyway!
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 30th, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm worried about both Alderman and Montgomery (although I've also got some hope, there, because the way things seem to Harry and the Daily Prophet and what's really happening could have a less than perfect, one to one relationship to each other).

So, I'm more worried about Alderman at present. I'm also thinking that, if one werewolf doesn't make it, Tonks' concern when she runs into Harry could have something to do with Remus going after said werewolf and then not making some meeting on time. She wouldn't know where to look for him or if he was having to lie low longer than expected or if he was in trouble or even dead. Coming to see Dumbledore, finding out he doesn't know anything more than she does in this case, and then running into Harry and hoping he knows _something_ that might be useful would fit.

Of course, dead child or children and Remus off on another Remusy bit of self-destruction would also fit.

Other unpleasant options come to mind.

And is there going to be any danger with a gate opened to the woods with the other end in Greyback controlled territory?

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 31st, 2006 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Dumbledore isn't even there when she goes looking for him, so it's poassible that he knows what's going on, but I'll definitely have to jack up the jeopardy for Tonks to be going quite so crazy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 30th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, Fern - I came upon your stories a few weeks ago, read Shifts in one day and Shades the next, and am de-lurking to grovel. So please, please, don't kill Alderman (or Sweet, for that matter, although she seems pretty safe at the moment).

While I'm at it, was there any canon to establish that Greyback himself killed the Montgomery boy? Because given your Greyback's fondness for manipulating others into murder against their will, I'm starting to get very worried for other reasons, too...

Other than that, I just need to tell you how amazing you are.Like others, I see your stories as canon that JKR doesn't have time for. As much as I adore your HP -writing, I would understand completely if you cut back in order to write original fiction, because you're certainly capable.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 31st, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, Cara. Welcome. :)

While I'm at it, was there any canon to establish that Greyback himself killed the Montgomery boy? Because given your Greyback's fondness for manipulating others into murder against their will, I'm starting to get very worried for other reasons, too...

Yeah, that was my first thought when I read that, and JKR didn't establish that it was anything more solid than a rumor that it was Greyback. It's a very creepy thought. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it as I get closer.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 31st, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
And here I was just beginning to think the Montgomery boy stood a survival chance (Alderman's family have faked their deaths, so why not protect the Montgomery boy by letting Greyback think he was dead and sending him to the refuge?).

Er, may I suggest that Greyback it also the type to get back at Remus through others. Setting up Alderman or any remaining pups for something like that would fit his style and would also fit an attempt to get back at Remus, if he couldn't use him directly. It would also be a serious miscalculation. That's the kind of thing that change Remus from self-disgust to running for president of the "Let's Get Greyback" club.

Ellen
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 30th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops - I don't have an lj, but I should probably at least leave a name after all that gushing - I'm Cara.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 31st, 2006 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
This looks like the beginnings of an amazing chapter. I'm so happy you've returned to the werewolf pups ... and I just love Alderman. He seems so much more mature than he ought to be ... rather like Harry, in a way, and that's really sad.

I'm on edge, hoping that Tonks and Andromeda will succeed and get the pups away! And that no one will die ...

I'm afraid I didn't quite get the comment about Alderman's teeth, though. Must have missed something in an earlier chapter. What happened to them?

shiiki
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 31st, 2006 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to go back and thread that through--I was re-reading earlier chapters for continuity, and I realized that when I first introduced Alderman, he'd filed his teeth to points in emulation of Greyback. Remus ceases to notice it after that point, though Tonks is a little disturbed by it the first time they met.

Unfortunately, at least one person does, canonically, die.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: July 31st, 2006 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Andromeda's confidence and casual knowledge of dark magic is rather disturbing - Tonks' knowledge is very analytical, probably because she's been taught to observe signs of dark magic, but Andromeda's is bone-deep.

Just as I was feeling a bit creepy about Andromeda, along came her comment on teenagers, and I was reminded that she chose a different life entirely.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 31st, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really don't have anything to say other than "squee", which is why I haven't been commenting on previous installments, but also: are you still going to do Hermione's Sorting?
sannalim From: sannalim Date: July 31st, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mum wasn't fooled. "Let Dumbledore worry about your cousin. I have no desire to see him in Azkaban.

Oh, how I do love Andromeda!

Alderman, too. I've been looking forward to this part of the plot.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 1st, 2006 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
EEEEWWWW! I finally figured out whose skeleton it was.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: August 1st, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Auntie Walburga's?
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 1st, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tom Riddle, Sr.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, it had to be a child's skeleton. (And I didn't have anyone in mind... 'til you mentioned it in the course of this post, though I'm not sure how I could make my new thought work!)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I was thinking it was the corpse that Draco's Hand of Glory came from ...
From: regina_phelange Date: August 2nd, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been leaving you gushing comments for weeks now, but if you insist on writing great fic then I will keep on saying how great it is! I started reading your fics because someone recc'ed them in another r/t fic that I was reading, but your stories are so good that I had to read that chapter twice before I realised that Remus wasn't even in it. Turning a squeeing fangirl into a (temporary) genfic reader? Nice work!

In fact, would you mind if I friend you?

(Only just gotten around to joining lj, so my previous praise was filed semi-anonymously under "Kylie".)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 3rd, 2006 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Welcome to the LJ craziness. And I have yet to mind being friended!
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
</i>I have told them anything exactly, but they shouldn't go if they don't want to, so I've been asking them things like, 'You know, if you weren't here, what you want to do?' and so on.

"I have told them"?

You know you are causing me to devlope a bit of a obsession for the black family. I just love you you have painted the strange childhoods that all of them must hve had. The slightly mad family (inbread like european nobels of the time perios that many of them woudl ahve lived).

Your andi is amazing.
27 comments or Leave a comment