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Shades, Chapter 30: Rattling the Bones, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 30: Rattling the Bones, pt. 2
Huh. Taking naps in the evening when tired isn't a good practice. You end up waking up at 3:30 am, ready to face the day after a solid seven and a half hours of sleep. Also, it leaves an annoying blank spot on the LJ calendar.

Oh, well. May as well write what I was intending to write before the sandman decided otherwise, eh?

Tonks and Andromeda have gone down to Huntsford and met Alderman at the churchyard. He left a message that Greyback is gone, and this leaves an opportune moment for them to work a spell on the gate. Ted had reminded Tonks that Andromeda really does know some Dark Magic, and Tonks had previously collected the baby teeth of Regulus and Sirius to serve as the "bones of a child." Andromeda got blood from untransformed Remus, but she's not sure yet whether or not it will work as the blood of a dark creature. Alderman can't go into the women's area, so he's told Evvie what's going on, as well as getting a general feel for how the pups will react to being rescued by asking them things like what they would be doing if they were elsewhere. He thinks they'll appreciate getting out of Greyback's hands.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Alderman led them into the woods, pointing to various landmarks with the air of a dedicated tour guide. "That's where Lupin slept before he found the shed, right there under the overhang... I fell asleep in that tree once when I was transformed and woke up rolling off a branch... There are good berries here in the summer... " He'd picked up some of Remus's mannerisms and Tonks amused herself by guessing which expression he would have on his face every time he glanced over his shoulder at them. Would Remus's own children be like this, modeling their movements on him? Or would they rebel, try to act like their favorite musicians or Quidditch stars? (Robert Alderman definitely seemed to be in the latter category--raised by Greyback, but very clearly deliberately imitating Remus out of admiration. He seemed to actually be practicing his Remus-isms.)

Would Greyback's childrearing tell in the end, as Mum's looks and voice had finally told in Tonks after an adolescence of imitating her favorite singers? Or would Fiona's even older influence come to the fore? What would he make of women after being taken in by a Veela? Would he get along with his stepfather?

Alderman stopped at a point on the path that had no markers Tonks could identify, and tipped his head to one side, listening.

"Is someone here?" Mum asked.

Alderman nodded. "That you, Ev? I got Sister Dora here, with charity..."

A child dropped from the trees, and Tonks recognized the lovely little girl with curly, reddish-brown hair and a spray of freckles on her nose.

She smiled. "I'm alone," she said. "I was just waiting. And I don't think Sister Dora is a nun."

"Don't you?" Tonks asked.

"You're not wearing your nun dress." She leaned in conspiratorially. "I had a dream about Sweet, and she said that you're Lupin's girlfriend. That means you're not a nun, doesn't it? Nuns can't be anyone's girlfriend."

"She's not even Catholic," Mum said. "My name is Andromeda."

Evvie smiled widely; her eyes lit up with delight. "That's the prettiest name I've ever heard in my life!"

Mum grinned wickedly and jerked her thumb at Tonks. "Hers is really Nymphadora."

This earned an actual round of applause from Evvie. "That's beautiful! You should always be Nymphadora. If that were my name, I'd make everyone say it all the time." She shrugged happily. "I like 'Andromeda' even better, though. It's a perfect name. Is your middle name Millicent? That would be just lovely!"

"I'm afraid not," Mum said. "It's Cassiopeia."

Evvie, apparently too stunned by the beauty of this concoction to answer it, just gave Mum an utterly worshipful stare.

"What's your name?" Mum asked, clearly enamored of the girl. "Your whole name."

"Evelyn," Evvie said. "Plain, old boring Evelyn. I don't even have a last name, and I especially don't have a middle name. Could my middle name be Andromeda?"

"If you'd like, I suppose. I don't think there's anything to stop you."

Alderman tapped Tonks's shoulder and rolled his eyes in Evvie's direction. "Sorry," he whispered. "She's nine."

"What's Mum's excuse?" Tonks said with a wink. Mum and Evvie had engaged in a new talk about how pretty Mum's lace-fringed gloves were. Mum was about to take them off and size them down for Evvie when Tonks cleared her throat. "Why don't we do that later?" she said.

"Oh, right," Evvie said. "You wanted to see that gate that doesn't go anywhere."

Tonks nodded. "But we have to be quiet. I don't want Mina to know we're there."

"I can be so quiet. I can hunt rabbits with my bare hands, just sneak up and reach down and grab them..."

She did not demonstrate her quietness skills as she led them down a narrow path and away from Alderman, but her monologue finally trailed off as they got to a wider footpath. She looked over her shoulder and put one finger to her lips, pointing at a shadowy cave opening not far from the edge of a pond. "We live there," she mouthed.

Tonks nodded.

They skirted the water in silence, Tonks feeling like an utter clod next to Mum and Evvie, who seemed to gracefully float over the forest floor while she struggled not to trip over tree roots. Finally, a clearing opened up, full of March mud, and the gate stood at its center, looking wet and bedraggled.

Mum went into the clearing first, all business now. She inspected the gate, then drew her wand, dried a section of the mud, and knelt on it.

Evvie watched this with some fascination.

Mum looked over. "Evelyn," she said, "I think maybe you should go back and--do whatever you normally do. So you won't be missed."

"But I want to see!"

"This is very important," Mum said. "You don't want to take chances. I promise, you'll see a lot of magic in the future."

"How will I know when you're done? I want to say goodbye."

"We'll see you again, Evvie," Tonks said. "Very soon."

Evvie looked crushed.

Tonks gave her a one-armed hug, which seemed to surprise her. "Evvie, you've been very helpful," she said. "And very brave. But if this is going to work, we can't take any chances of you being missed, and having someone come looking for you. It's... well, going back to what you do today... that's a mission to help everyone."

Evvie nodded and squared her shoulders. "I said I'd find food. I should bring some back."

She disappeared. Tonks fervently hoped that having her dream of seeing magic today crushed wouldn't cause her to petulantly tell on them, but there was no way to tell. Mum seemed to trust her.

Then again, Mum had tea with Aunt Narcissa.

But in truth, Tonks trusted her as well. She sighed and went to Mum's side. "What do we do?"

"You stand away," Mum said curtly.

"Mum!"

She shook her head and sighed. "No, I suppose you need to stay. I may..." She opened the satchel and started drawing things out of it. To Tonks's surprise, there was a live redcap in a cage. "I may have to kill the redcap. I'll use Remus's blood first, and see if the redcap can get through the gate. If it doesn't work, I'll have to... well, the redcap is certainly a dark creature, as opposed to an untransformed werewolf. I'd prefer to just send it to the Forbidden Forest, though."

"Me, too," Tonks said weakly.

Mum unlashed Auntie's dagger from her thigh and held it thoughtfully. "Nymphadora," she said carefully, "this is an ugly spell. I haven't ever done anything quite this ugly. When I read the account of it that Maddie found, I wasn't sure..."

"If you try and can't--"

"I can," Mum said. "But I just... I'm not sure I want you to think of me doing this spell."

"If I promise to spend the whole time thinking about you yelling at me about the state of my room, will that be better?

"I love you very much," Mum said, then raised the dagger high above her head, and plunged it into the earth beneath the gate.

She held the dagger in both hands, her fingers curled sharply around it, her knuckles turning white. "Scourges of Earth, hear me call out," she said, and drew the dagger back sharply, carving a ragged furrow into the ground. She opened the vial of blood and poured half of it into the furrow.

"Blood of your kindred opens the way. Blood of your kindred calls out to you."

Tonks watched Remus's blood disappear into the earth of Greyback's forest, soaking into the ground like sinister rain. She noticed that one of the boxes of teeth was slipping backward out of Mum's satchel, out of her easy reach, and went forward to nudge it back.

"Stay back!" Mum snarled.

Tonks blinked and stepped back, stunned.

Mum pulled the dagger from the ground and made five short horizontal slashes across the central slash. She picked up the first box of teeth and spread them into the pattern.

"Bone of your prey unleashes the power. Bone of your prey calls out to you."

She stood up, her eyes wide and bloodshot, her usually immaculate hair hanging in hag-like clumps around her face. She looked moved to the other side of the gate and stabbed the ground again, this time dragging the cut in a long horizontal. "Torn earth joins the distant way. The distant path calls out." She poured the remaining blood into the cut. There was stone close to the ground here, and it welled up for a moment like a wound before soaking in. "Blood of your kindred leads you away. Blood of your kindred calls out."

She cut another five slashes, this time verticals across the horizontal. She planted the other box of teeth. "Bone of your prey gives promise. Bone of your prey calls out."

She stood again, whirling madly and stabbed the ground on one side of the gate, slashing it in three places, joining the two existing patterns in an uneven arc. She ran--skittered--to the other side, and did the same thing, making an odd, closed shape with the gate in its center. She stood in the middle, leaning on the bars of the gate, and raised the dagger to the sky.

"The way is open!" she called, then dropped like a stone to her knees, bloodying her chin on the top rail of the gate, and thurst the dagger deeply into the ground directly beneath the rails.

There was a rumbling deep in the earth beneath Tonks's feet, and she could see a slight undulation of the ground, like a wave. The cuts were erased, except for the one that the dagger still sat in.

It ended.

Mum tucked her hair behind her ears and pulled the dagger from the ground, strapping it to her leg. "We should test it," she said quietly. "I think it worked, but we need to be sure before they try to use it. We'll need to dig the teeth back up if I have to do it again."

Tonks nodded.

Mum took out the redcap and set it on the place where she'd carved the long vertical. It tipped its little head back and forth, then made a mad dash for the gate.

It ran through.

Tonks saw it briefly for a moment, then there was nothing.

"It's open," Mum said, not looking at Tonks.

"Thanks, Mum." She looked at the gate. "I don't suppose, since Remus's blood worked, that we could take the children through it untransformed."

Mum gave a dubious frown. "I doubt it. We could try, but I think there's too much human in a werewolf for it to work."

"But if the blood worked..."

"I'll try it!" a voice piped up, and Tonks turned to see Evvie bouncing eagerly into the clearing.

"I told you to go back!" Mum said.

"I did. Then I told them I was going hunting. That was amazing."

"That," Mum said, "was the ugliest thing I've ever done. Don't ever start to think it was anything good."

"I could try," Evvie said again, apparently choosing to ignore the whole issue. "Would I come out where Lupin is?"

"You'd end up in the middle of a dangerous forest," Tonks said.

"So... no change?"

"Sure there's a change. You'd be by yourself and you'd have no idea where you were going."

"Oh."

"Could you Apparate there?" Mum asked. "Wait for her?"

Tonks shook her head slightly. The Forbidden Forest was on school grounds, but she didn't want to say it out loud, in case Evvie's tongue slipped sometime before full moon. The last thing she wanted was Fenrir Greyback realizing that there was now a direct link between himself and Hogwarts.

Still... the idea needed to be tested. If the blood of an untransformed werewolf could open the gate, then maybe all of it could be avoided, the children could be moved under their own volition, and the gate destroyed today.

"Is there any way it would hurt Evvie to try it?" she asked.

Mum shook her head. "If it doesn't work, she'll just walk through. If it does work... well, it's a dangerous forest on the other side, and we couldn't get there right away."

Tonks frowned, then drew her wand and sent her Patronus to Remus. Maybe he could wait on the other end.

Evvie's jaw dropped. "That's a werewolf!" she said.

"A lot of people have noticed that," Tonks told her.

"It's Lupin. I saw him running with the others the night they all went away. Mina had to pull me down. It's him."

"It's a big white blob of a thing. How can you tell?"

"I can tell. What is it?"

"Just a message. Remus is not fond of getting that particular messenger."

There was a flash of light, and Remus's Patronus appeared. Tonks closed her eyes and let its message come into her mind.

"He's on his way to the other gate," she said. "We'll wait ten minutes."

The minutes marched by slowly, even Evvie not having a great deal to say, but finally the time passed. Tonks stood and steered Evvie over to the entrance side of the gate.

"Just go through as you'd normally go through a gate," she said. "Keep walking. If it works, you'll find Lupin waiting for you, and he'll send a message back."

"If it doesn't."

"You'll end up on the other side of the gate, probably feeling a bit foolish, and I'll send the message in the other direction."

Evvie nearly bounced through the gate in her eagerness.

And ended up standing on the place that the redcap had disappeared, looking crestfallen.

"Oh, well," Mum said. "I didn't think it would work, but now we know. Can you keep a secret until the full moon, Evelyn?"

Evvie nodded.

"You'll need to do it without looking like you just had to give away your favorite kitten. Can you do that?"

"All right."

"Good," Mum said. "Why don't you go back to Alderman and tell him what's happened here. We'd best get out of the forest."

Evvie nodded again, then drifted off listlessly in the direction of the boys' encampment.

"She'll perk up," Mum said. "She's a very changeable girl."

Tonks watched Evvie's retreating back. The bounce was already coming back into her step. Tonks turned back to Mum. "It's done then," she said.

"Started, anyway," Mum said. "Come on. Let's get back and tell your wayward fiancé that he can stop crouching by the gate."

She turned on the spot and disappeared, leaving Tonks alone in the clearing, trying to imagine what it would look like under the light of the full moon, trying to imagine how she would get the children here, get them through, and close the whole thing down without being bitten herself.

She rubbed her head, then Apparated out.
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Comments
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: August 6th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow.

When you see Andromeda worrying about her daughter and her relationship with Remus Lupin it's very easy to forget that she's in fact a very powerful witch. I am not sure I'll ever look at her the same way again, so I guess that means you did a great job with the Dark spellwork :)

I'm a little worried about Ewie, though. Sweet couldn't keep her mouth shut so I'm not sure there's going to be another turn for the worst before everyone can breathe in safely.

Thanks for an awesome update!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Like all of Tonks's plans, there are probably a dozen ways it could go wrong before she manages the Apparition back to Hogsmeade, let alone before the moon is full. And Evvie is, if anything, less reliable than Sweet. But unlike Sweet, she has a defined time to wait for, so maybe she can keep it...

:)

Glad you liked the spell. It has a little too much sixth season Willow on Buffy, but there are only so many ways to show that a spell is really kind of nasty!
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: August 6th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't sleep tonight so this was a nice thing to pop up on my f-list. This chapter seems really exciting. I love how you use so many different characters and give them such distinct personalities.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: octobersnow Date: August 6th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Yet another great part. You've got me in a state of anxeity. Kids aren't known for great secret keeping; I know something happens to the Montgomery kid; The plan is at best risky (with Tonks in the thick of it). Therefore, I know something is bound to go (at least minorly) pear-shaped and it's messing with my mind.

(As is being up all night and reading this on the heals of a NTLJ re-read. I'd love to hit snorkackcatcher with an imsomnia hex right about now. He's been added to my list. Two fics with Tonks at the center, different time lines (granted wildly different plots), and a lack-of-sleep-addled brain do not make for the most coherent of readings.)

Oh, and you would also be on the list for a insomnia hex since Shifts and Shades have been responsible for some all night reading sessions. (Curse you good writers and my additction to reading...)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Therefore, I know something is bound to go (at least minorly) pear-shaped and it's messing with my mind.

Gee, really?

;)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 6th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's quite the spell. I'm rather surprised Tonks can just watch her mother do that without reacting oddly.

I love that Andromeda keeps referring to Remus as Tonks's fiance, since that's really what he is. Even if he's refusing to acknowledge it just now.

Evvie's love of complicated names is wonderful.

One thing I noticed:
She stood up, her eyes wide and bloodshot, her usually immaculate hair hanging in hag-like clumps around her face. She looked moved to the other side of the gate and stabbed the ground again, this time dragging the cut in a long horizontal.
I don't think you want "looked" in that second sentence.

Great job, as usual! I always look forward to new Shades.

~Jme13

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm rather surprised Tonks can just watch her mother do that without reacting oddly.

I think she may have some issues with it as the concept sinks in.

Definitely don't want "looked" in the second sentence. Thanks for the catch!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 6th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Andromeda's Dark Magic was breathtaking. Almost as much as Voldemort's resurrection.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
The resurrection scene was my direct model. I was going to try and dig up the Latin, but then I realized that scene was quite chilling in simple English.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: August 6th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it just me, or is Evvie modeled after Anne of Green Gables? I wonder how she'd react to the name "Cordelia". ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read the Anne books in years, so it's probably subliminal, but I always thought Anne's fondness for "fancy" names was so typical of girls. I actually got it from another forum that's populated by younger kids than I'm used to, talking about the exotic names they want to give their children. I figured they'd get along quite well with a woman who named her firstborn "Nymphadora."
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: August 6th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh-oh. I have a nasty feeling that even if Greyback doesn't figure it out (and maybe use the pathway as an alternative to the Cabinet) this could end up in the scene where Tonks is stuck with transformed!Remus while getting the kids out.

Oh well. At least Tonks has found someone who likes the name Mymphadora. And it was nice to see that Remus had made such an impression on Alderman. :)
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: August 6th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Erm, sorry, Nymphadora. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
At least Tonks has found someone who likes the name [N]ymphadora.

I'm sure that during her first year, all the girly-girls would have just loved it and thought it was wasted on someone who would sully herself by just being plain old "Tonks." :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 7th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Another wonderful instalment! I thought Evelyn a very pretty name ... but it's very understandable that she wouldn't like her own. Remus's influence on the pups is very telling, not least because of Alderman, who I hope at least gets out of the forest and has a happy ending (even though I know something's going to be twisted somehow ... oh dear).

That spell you came up with was breath-taking. It stands to reason that Andromeda would know about it ... but it would take a dire situation for her to actually agree to use it. You've written her exactly the way I would picture her!

>>The last thing she wanted was Fenrir Greyback realizing that there was now a direct link between himself and Hogwarts.

This gave me a horrible sense of foreboding. I got the idea that possibly he did get in through the gate on that night at the school ... until I read that Evvie couldn't get through untransformed. Whew!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 7th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm so sorry! Forgot to leave a name to that review. I'm shiiki. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually like "Evelyn" as well, and still find it pretty and glamorous despite associating it with the kind of plain, older mother of an old friend of mine. But it's decidedly old-fashioned and stuffy, and a little girl who likes all sorts of fanciness would probably think it's just horrible.
lechatbleu From: lechatbleu Date: August 7th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I don't comment regularly, but I just had to as that was really quite a spectacular scene...particularly when you contrast it moments before with Andromeda and Evvie giggling over pretty things and then switch fairly quickly to some really dark images. Really effective and really spooky, and a totally different side of Andromeda than we've seen so far.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: August 7th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I keep waiting for something to go BOOM. I'd like to state, just for the record, that I am not being taken in by your lulling. :P All through this chapter, I was on edge thinking Evvie would be caught or greyback would suddenly show up. Tense.

nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: August 7th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just a minor betaing here.
'and thurst the dagger deeply into the ground directly beneath the rails.'
I think you meant 'thrust' here.

Faster woman, I want updates faster! (sorry, had to say that! :P)
aebhel From: aebhel Date: August 8th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I really loved this chapter--I think you're building it up very well (although I'm biting my nails wondering when the other shoe's going to drop). As everyone else said, it was very interesting to see another side of Andromeda. Very eerie.

I just noticed one thing, though. This passage:

The minutes marched by slowly, even Evvie not having a great deal to say, but finally the time passed. Tonks stood and steered Evvie over to the entrance side of the gate.

seemed a little bit redundant. I'm not sure if you want to do anything with it, but it just struck me as being awkward as it is.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Ick! For a moment I was imaging them putting the redcap under the imperius curs to make it go through instead of running some other direction.

I hope Evvie can keep her self quiet. I am not sure having this gate open is a good idea. I keep thinking you were going to have them decide on somethign else at the last minute or not be able to do the dark magic.
lyras From: lyras Date: September 13th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm playing catch-up again. Am bribing myself this afternoon: half an hour of work, one instalment of Shades.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and tell you what a brilliant job I think you've done with the story: you've created such a full, plausible take on what Remus and Tonks were up to during HBP. I really am in awe of your plotting ability.

Thank you for keeping up with this!
tearoha From: tearoha Date: November 25th, 2006 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)
The conversation between Evvie and Andromeda was just too cute :) In a good way.
Loved Evvie full stop.
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