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Shades, Chapter 36: Interlude (9): The Top Side of the World, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 36: Interlude (9): The Top Side of the World, pt. 1
Interlude time again. Tonks has been semi-consciously avoiding Remus for a month since their encounter, and he just went to her place to give back her cat, Granny, who had been staying with him. She's fairly snappy with him. He's going to France to transform with the children, and abruptly asks her to come with him, and just as abruptly decides that was a dumb idea and revokes the invitation. Meanwhile, Tonks and Dumbledore have been taking a road trip to find out about some Muggle-borns who were threatened, and in the course of it, Dumbledore saw a bully going to hide out in one of his known haunts.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"--and Gabrielle gave me a dress that I--"

"--went hunting with my brother and sister; Mum didn't like it much--"

"--wore for dancing and--"

"--Alderman's not-father showed me a wand and he said I might--"

"--I twirled and twirled and it was very pretty--"

Remus held up his hands, laughing (and it felt very good to laugh), and said, "One at a time! I only caught about a fifth of that."

The children fell silent and looked at each other, perplexed. Remus had time to hear an indrawn breath before they all started talking again, now shushing each other and arguing about whose turn it was.

They'd apparently started feasting early in the day, laying out the spread like a huge picnic for everyone in the sanctuary. ("We caught all the food ourselves," he managed to pick up from Hamilton, "and it's for a thank you.") Remus let himself be carried along by them, a more innocent current than the one he'd been caught in for the past four weeks. Evvie had switched back to her rags for the transformation, but was anxious to show him many new clothes Valeska had provided for her. Alderman was spending a great deal of time with his half-siblings, though he didn't mention much about his mother and stepfather. Blondin had a thousand questions about magic. Hamilton was reading a lot. Vivian Waters walked along with the group, but, unlike the others, she didn't seem excited. Valeska had given her a new dress as well, but she described it in very disinterested tones, and only when Evvie prodded her.

They reached the picnic area and led Remus to a proper table, where they had several kinds of fowl and meat--all cooked now, but rare--plus vegetables ("Migno and Migna got those," Hamilton confessed. "They have a garden in their house.") He sat down across from Fiona Crowler, who seemed comfortable, though she wasn't particularly near her son. Valeska Delacour straightened up stiffly and nodded to him. He had no idea how she knew what he had done to Dora last month; there had been no time for a rumor to have spread. Perhaps she'd seen it written all over him. Heaven knew he'd felt that someone had written it in fire over his head: "CAD WHO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF A GIRL AND THEN SAID ALL THE WRONG THINGS AND MADE HER CRY."

He looked away from her steady, cold stare, though it was, quite honestly, easier than the hurt look in Dora's eyes every time he saw her, the bruised, weary look that appeared in place of the fiery eyes he saw in dreams so vivid that they were more real than life, dreams that left him feeling exalted and miserably guilty, despite the fact that, for once, they hadn't involved transforming into a wolf and tearing her apart.

"Hullo, Remus."

He turned. Vivian had sat down beside him, looking happier than she'd been when he first arrived, though still subdued compared to the others.

"Vivian," he said. "How are you?"

She shrugged. "Do you have any letters or messages from home for me?"

"What?"

"You know... from my... well, from her?"

"Er, no."

She deflated visibly. "Oh. She sent me a lot of leaves. I thought she might send a letter."

"You're not happy here?"

"No one wants me here." She shook her head, apparently deciding that wasn't what she meant. "No, I mean... no one doesn't want me here. But no one was sitting here saying, Oh, I just can't wait for Vivian." She smiled sheepishly. "I'm stupid, right?"

"No, that's fair. For what it's worth, I've looked forward to seeing you." This wasn't precisely true--he hadn't thought much this month about any of the children, or anything at all that wasn't related to Dora. But he knew that, in a more normal month, he would have thought of Vivian, so it seemed like a fair enough lie to tell.

"Evvie's glad I'm here, too. But it was nice, you know... having someone like a mum." She nibbled at a carrot. "Do you suppose I could go back, and only visit here for transformations, like you?"

"I think you're safer here, Vivian."

"But no one even knows she's there, except us."

"Vivian, have you read any history from the second world war?"

"No."

"Well, when the Germans were bombing the cities, the children went to the country, because the adults loved them and wanted them out of danger."

"Really?"

"Really. And right now, the danger is right where you're asking to go. And the adults who care about you want you to be somewhere safer."

"But the leaves..."

"She's probably telling you that she's thinking of you."

Vivian didn't look convinced--which was fair, as Remus was making it up from whole cloth--but she dropped the subject, and started talking to him about lessons that Roald Crowler was giving them in magizoology.

"Yeah," Hamilton interjected from across the table. "He had a whole lesson for us on werewolves!"

"Really?"

"And we found out a lot of stuff," Alderman said, cuffing him. "Reckon I never knew most of it, like with different strains, and how long it's been around, and all sorts of things I'll bet Greyback doesn't know." He nodded politely to his stepfather.

"Yeah," Hamilton admitted. "Plus, there were pictures of how the bones all change."

Evvie leaned in, grabbing a piece of meat and wrinkling her nose. "It's going to hurt more tonight, thinking about all that."

"Wish I could watch it," Blondin said. "I'd love to see it."

Alderman gave him an affectionate tap on the back of the head. "Tell you what, Blondin--you keep your head down and wait to transform until you've seen us all go, and then you can take your chances with us."

Remus gritted his teeth against the memory of Greyback's claws ripping into his chest, of being unable to move in the dirt of the Montgomerys' dooryard. He forced a smile. "I think perhaps Blondin should avoid that," he said.

"It's me I wanted to watch change, anyway," Blondin said. "Wish we could get it on a video camera like my Mum used to have. I guess it's too magical, though. Roald says that magic makes those things go haywire."

They started chattering again, more intensely as the moon approached, mentioning lessons they'd been getting from Roald, Fiona, and Valeska. Even Migno and Migna had entered into the education field, teaching them to plant and harvest. Remus felt out of sorts by sunset, chastising himself for being envious but unable to stop it. For all of that, the transformation went smoothly once he and the boys got to their area. He'd been somewhat anxious that Alderman might challenge him, but the pack order was perfectly clear, and after spending some time play-fighting, they all drifted off to sleep on patches of fragrant grass.

Dawn came with the usual pain, and when it was over, Remus lay curled in a ball, waiting for his stength to come back. Some blasphemous part of his mind wondered just what spell Dumbledore had used to heal him last month--it had certain sped up the strengthening process.

"Oi!" a high voice called from the top of the ridge. "Are you all decent?"

"Oh, cram it, Coral!" one of the boys grumbled. "G'back t'sleep!"

There was high, mixed laughter, and Remus guessed that at least three of the girls were up there. He groped for the box that had been put down here for wands, pulled his out, and said, "Vestio," waving it around in a sweeping arc. Robes appeared on all of them. "Let's go up and get breakfast," he said.

The boys answered with resigned grunts and pushed themselves onto their feet.

Trudging up out of the bowl-shaped depression was harder than getting into it, especially the parts that were lined with dewy grass, but by the time Remus reached the top of it, he felt much more alert. The boys were stretching, their words starting to form into clauses that Remus suspected might be sentences once they'd got some breakfast.

Evvie was wearing a white dress, doing a clumsy pirouette in the wet grass, waving her arms in an imitation of a Veela dance. Vivian was wearing her mask again, and a green dress. Coral--a girl who Remus had only known vaguely, as she hadn't been interested in lessons--was wearing riding trousers and a floppy man's shirt, belted at the waist. She'd acquired a colorful hat with a feather in it somewhere and was playing at sword fighting. Blondin immediately took the part of her opponent, and they battled all the way to the village square.

Remus wasn't paying much attention, just enjoying the fact that he was as far from the next transformation as it was possible to be. He didn't immediately notice that the children's chatter had died away, or had just assumed they were filling their mouths with bread and cheese and fruit. He was just watching his bare feet move through the glittering grass, and when the first thing he saw that he didn't expect was the bottom hem of a fine scarlet robe. He looked up, and the early sunlight glinted on half-moon glasses.

"Good morning, Remus," Dumbledore said. "I have a teaching job for you."
19 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh - I really liked this update! Obviously I like to see the pups getting a chance to be more or less normal kids, but I also like that the adults aren't trying to skirt around their condition between full moons. It's also very believable that not everything is perfect for them - Vivian's reaction is very natural.

The only guess I have on the teaching job is that it is one of the muggle born kids, possibly the one disabled by the car crash? Although come to think of it, if the pups can't go to Hogwarts (at least not now), they need a teacher, too. I don't imagine Fiona and Roald can do it all alone. I don't think that's where you're going, though...

-Cara
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
It took me a couple reads to figure out why it was a "blasphemous" part of Remus' brain that wondered about the healing spell, especially in relation to its strengthening effects over its healing effects.

Thinking of Dora, is he?

I'm betting the leaves mean trouble. But why contact Vivian? She could contact Tonks fairly easily. Vivian's unusual gift seems to be her ability to foretell. Oh, dear. Vivian may also be something of a potential heir, and the forest is in danger. Oh, dear, again.

Of course, I'm completely lost on the teaching job. I'd love it to be at Dudley's school again but I doubt that's what's going to happen.

Ellen
beceh From: beceh Date: September 17th, 2006 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Good chapter. I don't have anything constructive to say, just that I enjoyed it!!!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

For a transformation interlude, this seemed almost happy - if not directly for Remus then for the children. I suppose it's the more playful atmosphere with the absence of Greyback. Thanks for another lovely chapter,

TDU
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2006 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)

great update & one typo?

I love the way this one starts...with all the children trying to talk at once. It seem so right that they would be this excited to see their teacher again. I am not sure what I hope for Remus' possible job...but I hope it is related to something that pays well so he can save up again and maybe feel a bit more Dora worthy.

I think the section below has a slight error.

Some blasphemous part of his mind wondered just what spell Dumbledore had used to heal him last month--it had certain sped up the strengthening process.


I think it should read... --it had certainly sped up the strengthening process.

Wonderful update,

Katsulas
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 18th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: great update & one typo?

It certain should. ;p

I hope it is related to something that pays well

Alas, it isn't. Poor Remus is pretty much going to have to get used to Tonks being the breadwinner, I think.
From: tonkstipied Date: September 17th, 2006 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

It was very good...

Definitely making us all wait makes so anxious to read it that the minute I see your update, I swallow it at one go, but it was very well done. I love how you wrote Vivian here and the whole day unit. Thanks again
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: September 17th, 2006 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with everyone that this was another wonderful installment, and children were marvelous. I have a teensy question/quibble (which, unfortunately, seems to be my specialty, and what motivates me into actually commenting..): when Remus and the children are leaving the transformation area, aren't there stairs? So the dewy grass wouldn't be such an impediment? I just ended up trying to visualize a hill that would let tired children out but keep werewolves in, and it didn't go so well. :)

(Ah. And the second-to-last sentence in the second-to-last paragraph seems to have a bit of a grammar glitch? The "when the first thing he saw..." clause ends the sentence - it seems to want minor rearrangement.)

Also, I absolutely loved the line "CAD WHO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF A GIRL AND THEN SAID ALL THE WRONG THINGS AND MADE HER CRY." Such a concise description of Remus's view of the situation! I hereby end this comment with a gushing of praise.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 18th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a good point about the stairs; I think I'd even mentioned earlier that there were stairs that were supposed to reappear. Working theory (provided that I don't just change my mind and edit in stairs) is that there are no adults with the girls, so a village adult took care of their stairs and assumed that Remus would take care of the boys'... and Remus never even thought of it.
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: September 17th, 2006 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the children in this, especially Vivian and her lonliness. Very sweet. (Teehee)

A teaching job, eh? Very interesting.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: September 17th, 2006 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is Remus going to MAD-rid?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2006 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the children! Thank you so much for this update; I've been dying to know how they were all this while. It's really telling, I think, when of all the characters in this story, the ones that appeal to me the most aren't JKR's, but your originals. :)

I'm not sure why, but every time Dumbledore turns up on the scene, I get a sense of foreboding. I hope this teaching job is good news. I'm really scratching my head trying figure out what you're leading to, and where it'll fit in with canon!

shiiki
keestone From: keestone Date: September 17th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
This installment is so idyllic it makes me nervous. I love it.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 17th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It looks like the most enjoyable transformation Remus has ever had. I loved the part where he thinks Valeska has figured him out.
"CAD WHO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF A GIRL AND THEN SAID ALL THE WRONG THINGS AND MADE HER CRY."
LOL.
weaselsu From: weaselsu Date: September 17th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah I'm so excited aboout Dumbledore! The children all badgering Remus was wonderful and Vivian wanting to go home was so sweet. I loved it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
There is somethign about Vivian in this chapter. In the first few chapters, she is described as being "about 12-ish" at some point you decided (and wrote into the story) that Remus had over estimated her age. That worked. But, here she seems older, and not in that "life is hard and makes you older than yrou time" sort of way. It seems a bit of a disconnect from her exuberently childish behavior that she has had since being rescued.

Its possible that I am the only one that will think so though, because it is not super significant. But, not that far back we had the chearful "take me to france" bit and the mask and ...... I don't know ....
dalf From: dalf Date: September 19th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I seem incapable of remembering to login when not on my home box before commenting.
kileaiya From: kileaiya Date: September 21st, 2006 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Sqwee! I loved seeing a happy bit in all the unfortunate drama that is Remus' life.

I'm a new reader by the way. *waves* I'm Ki.
alexandramuses From: alexandramuses Date: September 23rd, 2006 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, this is such a fabulous story! It's great that you're sticking to canon but also bringing in wonderful new characters and ideas. I'm so happy to read such a well-thought-out fic.
19 comments or Leave a comment