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Shades, Chapter 31: Comfort Food, pt 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 31: Comfort Food, pt 1
It's March, and Remus has been settling into life outside the pack. Tonks and her mother have opened a magical gate that will allow Greyback's "pups" to cross into the Forbidden Forest. Fleur's grandmother has offered them a more permanent haven in France. The Muggle priest, Father Montgomery, has been helping to pass messages, and his brother, a wizard, is not thrilled to find out about this. He has decided to guard his brother himself over the next full moon.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




After Montgomery left, Tonks debated getting supper at the bar downstairs, but it didn't seem at all appealing. Instead, she slipped out--avoiding Dawlish--and headed out to the Shrieking Shack. The house was quiet except for Remus's snores from a bedroom upstairs. She took her shoes off and tiptoed up, hugging the wall to keep the stairs from creaking. The snores led her to the main bedroom, where Remus was sprawled out on the bed, face down, one hand tucked under the pillow, the other flopped out and dangling toward the floor. Granny was sleeping draped across his feet, a glowing ball nosing hopefully at her. Several more of them had lost the last of their magical energy and were just pulsing under the end table, where Remus's wand was sitting.

Granny stretched in her sleep, her claws coming out and batting at the ball in front of her. She gave a sleepy mrrow then rolled off of Remus's feet and went back to sleep curled beside his lower legs.

He was spoiling her rotten, and she appeared to be thriving on it.

Tonks squatted beside the bed and considered kissing his cheek, but didn't. She didn't want to wake him.

She tiptoed back down to the kitchen and started getting supper together from what was available. After a while, she heard a thump, then a muted grumble of "Ugh, Gran..."

Granny limped down the stairs a minute later, and Remus called, "Dora? Are you down there?"

"Just getting supper," she called back.

"Oh. Right... it's late..." She listened to him rummaging around upstairs while she looked for some kind of vegetables to eat. He shuffled down a moment later, and started to fumble around the kitchen, correcting the temperature she had the beef cooking at without commenting on it (somehow, she'd already managed to blacken one tip of the roast). She set out the plates and cutlery and let him finish the meal. They didn't talk much, only passing words to ask for one thing or another. Tonks thought that if she could design a potion that would make her feel like this, she'd have it with breakfast every morning.

After Remus served out supper, they sat across from each other at the kitchen table, picking at carrots and potatoes.

"I had a letter from Fiona Crowler," Remus said. "She should probably be more careful, but I don't think it did any harm."

"I'm sure she was careful," Tonks said. "What did she have to say?"

Remus sipped at his tea. "She wanted to thank me for looking after Alderman. She called him Bobby. I can't see him as Bobby, though."

"I think he may have some trouble adjusting to being Bobby again as well. Though, judging by my own parents, he will never, ever be 'Alderman' to them."

"Maybe they can settle on Robert or Bob or something of the sort." Remus smiled. "Apparently, they've nearly finished the transformation area. She wanted to know if I'd like to come see it. She said you could bring me there."

Tonks blushed. "Er... Fleur has distinct ideas about you and me which I suspect she may have shared with her grandmother, and her grandmother with..." She laughed and put her hand over her face. "I'm sorry. I'm afraid there's a whole chain of gossip involved in that now. I swear, I didn't ask..."

"It's all right. Arthur Weasley also sent me a long letter not long ago. It purported to be about getting a Muggle typewriting machine to operate on magic. You'd be utterly amazed how much cooperation and patience it takes to get two such very different worlds to work together. And I don't even want to get into Bill's financial metaphor. Suffice it to say that it had something to do with finding treasures and getting through any number of fearsome guard creatures."

Tonks let the laughter bubble up, bend her toward the table. "Oh, dear. I'm sorry. Do you want me to tell them to stop?"

"Do you think they would?"

"No."

"Then let it be. They're just trying to help you."

"They're trying to help you, too."

"I know."

Tonks reached across the table and caressed Remus's fingers, then sat back. "When should we go? We could tomorrow--call it a birthday present."

"Oh, Lord. I'm too old to think about my birthday."

"Nonsense. We'll go visit Valeska, and then have a good French dinner in some mountain village. My treat. And I promise, no discussion of treasures or Muggle typewriters."

Remus thought about it for a minute, then grinned and nodded. "All right. It's an appointment."

"I'll make a note of it," Tonks said. "I'm on night shift tonight. I'll sleep until around noon, then swing by for you. Would that be all right?"

"Perfect."

She smiled at him. "May I say it, or would it make you uncomfortable?"

"Never."

"I love you."

"I love you, too. And don't walk on eggshells around me. Don't worry about making me uncomfortable. I think I've earned a bit of discomfort this year."

Tonks rolled her eyes and dug into her potatoes. "Tomorrow, then."

They finished eating talking about other things--Tonks's parents, for the most part, though Lily Potter somehow entered and then drifted out of the conversation--then went to the parlor and played with Granny for a while. It seemed so natural to kiss one another goodnight when she left to start her shift that neither of them really noticed at first.

Remus let go of her and took a few steps back. "Sorry," he said.

Tonks shook her head. "I'll never forgive you," she said, and reached across to squeeze his hand. "Tomorrow at noon."

Her shift was uneventful, which was just as well, as her mind kept drifting back to the sensation of being close to Remus, just feeling the warmth of his skin, breathing the air he was breathing. She contemplated going back to the Shack to sleep, curled up against his side, and if anything else happened...

In the end, she decided that would be wiser to go back to the Hog's Head.

She slept until just before noon, dreaming pleasantly for most of the time, and woke up feeling warm and settled. She picked out an outfit she'd worn as Dora Lewis last year--a long-ish brown skirt and a loose blouse, topped with a floppy cloth hat--and headed over to the Shrieking Shack.

Remus was waiting in the garden--well, puttering about more than waiting, she supposed, as he must have moved half of the rocks from one end to the other--when she got there, and he greeted her with a nervous smile.

"Happy birthday," she said.

"One of my better ones so far, actually." He looked around. "I'm trying to get it cleaned out before spring. I thought maybe I'd get the shed re-inforced. For... you know. So I wouldn't be inside."

"That's a good idea."

"Let me just clean up a bit." He glanced at her outfit and smiled. "Shall I grow a beard and turn my hair white?"

"No. If I'm stuck natural, so are you." She winked. "But if you've one of those tweedy jackets, you know how they appeal to me. Especially if they've got those leather patches on the elbows." She feigned a shiver.

"You're a very odd woman, Dora." He went back inside, and she followed, waiting downstairs while he showered--she didn't know when he'd got the shower working again--and changed.

She sat in the parlor and looked up at her picture, which was swinging its foot jauntily. It didn't talk--she wasn't dead--and she wondered briefly if it would be good company for the little metamorphmagus portrait. She didn't want to bother Harry asking for it, though, so she opted to let it alone. Granny jumped up beside her, a feat she couldn't have handled a month ago; Remus was clearly taking good care of her.

Remus came down ten minutes later, clean-shaven and natty, and, in fact, wearing a Muggle tweed jacket with leather patches on the sleeves.

"I Conjured them," he said, winking. "Just for you."

Tonks fanned herself. "Well, on that note, I think we should go off on a bit of a French getaway. You remember your French, don't you?"

"Dora!"

She laughed. "A bit of harmless flirting won't hurt you."

"I still shouldn't let you."

"Mm-hmm." She held out her hand. "Come on. I'll take you by side-along from outside."

He reached out to take her hand, and there was a sudden racket from the entrance hall. The trapdoor was rattling loudly, bouncing up and down in its frame and thumping against the bolt that Remus had put through it.

"What the--?" Remus went to it. "Who's there? Minerva?"

"It's me!" a high voice said on the other side. "Vivian!"

Tonks and Remus looked at one another, frustrated and perplexed, then Remus shot the bolt and opened the door.

Vivian Waters, dressed in a lovely green dress and wearing a decorative mask over the scarred half of her face, pulled herself up into the Shrieking Shack. "I was watching in the water," she said eagerly. "You're going to see our new place, aren't you? May I come with you? Please?"
15 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 12th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's lovely to see Vivian again...

But...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 12th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I have a feeling our handsome-and-beautiful heroes have the same response. Or, well, will get to the "lovely" part eventually, anyway.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 12th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus and Dora need all the happy time they can get...
I hope that at least they get the children to France.
*crosses fingers*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 12th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remus and Dora need all the happy time they can get...

They really did. Being miserable all the time makes it hard to remember that they make each other happy.
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: August 12th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Such a lovely chapter. I love Tonks' flirting and their 'accidental' kiss.

I really hope Vivian is going to be okay. I have a bad feeling about her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 12th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks.

I'm worried about Vivian, too. She's not where I put her.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: August 12th, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bill's letter has got to be a work of art.

Tolkien jackets really are teh secks.

Oooh, half-mask!

Please please let her be all right.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 12th, 2006 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tolkien jackets really are teh secks.

Oh, yeah. No question.

(Which I believe qualifies both of us for the status of academic geek-groupie, but honestly? Way more interesting guys that way.)

Remus should be glad Oliver Wood has no idea. You can just see the Quidditch metaphor letter.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 12th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, those jackets send shivers down my spine! Geek groupies, perhaps, but it's not exactly uncommon to find them appealing. I would love to see Oliver's letter.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 12th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, true, Vivian's gone all Phantom of the Opera in her dress sense, but I feel a bit better about the half mask than I did about the veil. Not sure if I should or not, but hiding her face entirely behind a blank piece of cloth versus hiding only the scarred part behind a theatrically draws-attention-to-itself mask while not keeping people from recognizing her doesn't set off the same alarm bells.

Still trying to decide if it SHOULD set off the same alarm bells, but quite certain it doesn't . . . .

And Tonks and Remus are starting to get along again, which either means Tonks and Remus will continue to get along or . . . SOMETHING will happen.

Of course, it's not like Remus is in any danger of guilting out if and when children he'd tried to protect wind up dead because of plans he helped set in motion . . . .

Ellen
From: lianna_blanca Date: August 12th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't ask me why I started thinking of this, but I wonder if magical masks can be made to look just like her face - like the soft plastic prosthetics in movie makeup, fitted so closely that it's difficult to tell there IS a mask. It's bad enough that she's a werewolf; forcing everyone to see that every day would be hard on her, when she gets to be a teenager and... well, I suppose I'm feeling really sorry for her right now. But then again, she seems to be having fun dressing up. Still, now I'm thinking about magical ways of creating masks...

And as I haven't commented for you before, I might as well say now that I'm enjoying this story immensely. Thanks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 12th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nice to see that, in a reasonably domestic situation, Remus seems to forget all his "issues", or at least put them out of his mind, and slips easily back into old familiar patterns with Tonks. It's very promising for that happy ending we're all hoping they get after book 7. Of course the death of the Montgomery child will bring them all flooding back but for now he's forgetting he thinks he isn't "normal".

Thanks for the cheerful update, TDU

dadaginny From: dadaginny Date: August 13th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so happy to seem them getting along more comfortably. And I find nothing unusual about finding those jackets sexy...

Loved seeing Vivian again, but kids really have no idea about needing time without them. Trust me, I know.
From: regina_phelange Date: August 13th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Imagine my delight when I got back from a week's holiday to find not one but three new parts of Shades to read! Just lovely. In case anyone is interested, here's my favourite bit:

>>>It seemed so natural to kiss one another goodnight when she left to start her shift that neither of them really noticed at first.

Remus let go of her and took a few steps back. "Sorry," he said.

Tonks shook her head. "I'll never forgive you," she said, and reached across to squeeze his hand. >>>

This is why I love Remus & Tonks. His constant desire to remain a gentleman combined with her humour and her general ability to make him relax into himself. I know I've said this before, but you write them both so beautifully.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
*grin*

Oh be a nice author and let her come!!!!

Oh and now that Meg is dead before I thought she woudl be I am terrified for "Bobby"! You better not hurt him :(
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