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Shades, Chapter 37: Down to the Sea, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 37: Down to the Sea, pt. 1
It feels very weird to be writing Shades with sunlight in the room, but if I don't do it now, I won't finish before sunset and I'll run into the holiday, when I shouldn't be writing.

Anyway, Dumbledore has Remus investigating local lore (to find possible Horcrux-hiding spots), and for reasons probably best left to Dumbledore, has arranged for this to work through the Tonks family. Remus will be substitute teaching in three seaside towns where Tom's orphanage used to go. Dumbledore has gotten him a flat in a fake town called Harrington-on-Sea, and his first teaching job will be substituting for an art teacher in a town called Torchester. Ted drives him there, and takes the opportunity to browbeat him over the Dora situation. When they get there, Dora is already there... and so are Remus's old friends from Smeltings, who have heard he's back in the country. Dora has made up an on-the-spot story for them, casting herself as the niece of their friend Dora Lewis, since she was unable to morph into the older woman she'd been.

They've just left.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Tonks watched Alan Garvey's car disappear into the night and leaned against the cool glass of the window. Remus put his hand on her shoulder and she sighed, relieved at its warmth and comfort, frustrated that she couldn't just lean back into his arms and go back to the way things had been last year, when everything had been easy.

Well, except for the part where they were watching Sirius fall apart, dealing with a recalcitrant Ministry, trying to save the obnoxious Dudley Dursley, and trying to fight a war without even being able to tell anyone, let alone ask for support. Other than that, it had been easy.

She laughed at herself.

On her other side, Dad said, "What's the joke?"

"Life," Tonks said.

Dad took this in stride and stepped away from the window, picking up his jacket from the back of a chair as he went. "Well, Dora," he said, "you made some fine friends last year."

"Yes. Well, some part of me did, anyway." Tonks pulled away from Remus and picked up her satchel, which was bulging with paperwork she'd meant to get to tonight. "I'm glad you decided to bring the car. I think they may well be sharp enough to notice Remus showing up with luggage and no means of transportation."

"That's the idea," Dad said. "Unfortunately, it means driving it back now."

"Maybe Remus could borrow it..."

"I don't drive," Remus said quickly.

Dad didn't insist that Remus keep it for show anyway, which surprised Dora, since it would make sense and Dad didn't actually need the car. But she said nothing when she saw the cool look on Dad's face. She looked at Remus, whose face was directed towards Dad, but whose eyes were shifting from place to place, anywhere that did not include Dad.

She rubbed her head. "I'll walk you out to the car, Dad," she said, and led the way.

When they got to the driver's door, she stopped and turned on him, waving her wand to mute their conversation. "What did you do?"

"I had a little chat with Remus on the way here," he said. "And I wouldn't mind a chance to have a similar little chat with you."

"Are you going to stop lending me the car, too? Glare at me like you're casting an Icy Incantation?"

Dad sighed. "Probably not. I think you most likely have as much responsibility as Remus for this mess--don't get me wrong--but I find that rational knowledge doesn't change the fact that I'd really like to hit him. You, I just want to bring home and talk some sense into." He shook his head and ground his teeth. "Dora, I'm not one to lecture about what you did. Nor is your mum, though she will anyway. But in a crisis? It never helps. It doesn't magically fix things. It--"

"We weren't trying to fix things. It just happened." She smiled ruefully. "And I suppose that's that. We should have done it while we were happy."

"Or, possibly, waited until things were more settled."

"Either way," Tonks said. "We pretty much wasted it here. There'll never be another... you know. First time." She noticed that, for all of Dad's assurances as she was growing up that she could talk to him about anything, he was squirming a lot. "Don't worry about it, Dad. We'll work it out. And it was more my fault than Remus's, so let him be, all right?"

Dad pulled a face, then grudgingly said, "All right. Tell him I'm sorry. Sort of."

He got in the car and shut the door. She watched him drive off.

She heard footsteps crunching in the pebbly sand behind her and wasn't surprised to feel the comforting weight of Remus's hand on her shoulder. The touch was light and tentative, and she put her own hand over it to keep it in place. He tried to pull away for a moment, then his hand relaxed and she stepped back, closer to him. From here, they could see the restless sea heaving itself toward the cliffs and hear the grinding sound of water crashing itself against the rocks and slowly sucking them back to the depths, one grain of sand at a time. A plume of spray came up from behind one of the free-standing rocks that sat in the nearby ocean like a sloppy sculptor had left them on his studio floor after chiseling the island from its hostile stone. She shivered.

"What is it?"

"Morbid thoughts," she said. "I suspect this island's been here long enough that I don't really need to contemplate it being dragged back into the ocean."

"Probably not any time soon, no."

Tonks stepped away and turned to face him. "Sorry about Dad," she said. "He told me that he--"

"Gave me a good dose of what I deserve. Don't apologize. He's your father, that's his job."

"Can we go inside? It's cold out here."

He thought longer than he should have before nodding, then led her back to the flat. "Did you want anything else, Dora?" he asked. "I mean... here? Er, well, now?"

"It was odd to see them all again," she said. "Anna and everyone."

"That's one word for it."

"But good."

"Was it?"

"You didn't ask about your boys. I was surprised. I thought you'd ask about Daniel Morse, at least. You always liked him."

Remus blinked owlishly. "Oh, Lord. I didn't ask about them. And I actually want to know. I forgot!"

"Well," Tonks said, "maybe you could invite them down again. Before you have to go back to 'Australia.' And... well, maybe your loyal niece could come along?" She bit her lip. "They were my friends, Remus. I miss them. Don't you?"

"I thought we agreed that we didn't want to lie anymore."

"It's only temporary." She shook her head. "I know. It's a foolish waste of time just now. I won't..."

"Next Saturday," Remus said. "If you're off. I'll have them over. And I can brief you on whatever I find in Torchester, so it won't be a waste."

"Am I meant to know this?"

"I assume he wouldn't have pulled your father into this if you weren't. He knows Ted doesn't keep secrets from you."

"Well, he keeps professional secrets from me."

Remus nodded. "Duly noted. But this isn't a professional secret of that sort." He shrugged. "I'll talk to Dumbledore and make sure it's all right. But I don't think I could keep up the stories alone."

Tonks laughed. "Perhaps he'd like to come along as your mad uncle. He does enjoy getting away sometimes."

"He does. And I think, in particular, that he would enjoy Anna Garvey. But I doubt he has time to spend that way."

"Ask him anyway, will you?"

"I'll ask."

They stood in awkward silence in the sparsely furnished room. The wind from the ocean rattled the windows, and the bright electric lighting separated every splinter in the board floor. Restless, Tonks moved toward the far wall, and started fidgeting with the photographs she'd been hanging when Anna Garvey had come in with a jolly, "Hullo, Raymond, where--oh... who are you?"

"Did you bring the one from my office?" Remus asked. "The one Sirius took in the kitchen. When I was--"

"No," she said. "That's back at home. In Hogsmeade. I wanted it there." She looked down and muttered, "Sorry."

"'s all right," he said, then, to her surprise, came to her and held her. "You can stay there while I'm here, if you want to. It's got to be more comfortable than the Hog's Head."

"Depends on how you define comfortable."

"True." Remus sat down on one of the beach chairs, still holding Tonks's hands, and she sat down across from him. "Your dad told me to stop hurting you."

"That would be nice."

"Tell me what I could do to make you happy when you leave tonight, instead of miserable, as I usually seem to make you."

Tonks considered the question carefully--of all the odd things, she realized she hadn't actually thought about what would make her happy. At least in the short term. "I don't know," she said. "What did we do when we were happy last year?"

"I don't recall anything elaborate. We didn't plan much. Cards. The novels, of course."

"Oh, of course! Do you still have the one I gave you for Christmas? I never did get a chance to read it."

"Is a romance the best idea?"

"There is no problem Fifi LaFolle can't solve," Tonks said seriously. "Besides, it's always funny to hear you read them."

Remus gave her a wary, careful look, then smiled nervously. "All right," he said. "But if it gets strange, we should stop."

"Duly noted," Tonks said.

Remus got the suitcase he'd carried in and transfigured it into a trunk that had the Black family crest on it (Tonks guessed it had been at Grimmauld Place), then started to rummage around. "Thank heaven, I'd left it at Molly and Arthur's place, so I didn't lose it when I left Greyback's. Oh, here it is." He looked at the cover and gave her an exaggerated glance, sitting down across the coffee table from her. "Garabi's Grace," he read aloud. "By Fifi LaFolle. Chapter One. The beautiful half-blood witch stood on the sea cliff, her long brown hair tossing sensuously in the wind--"

"Clearly not the wind out there," Tonks interrupted. "She'd get whiplash."

Remus smiled. "--tossing sensuously in the wind. Her robes were deep blue velvet edged with the symbols of her Muggle father's barony, her wand made from the branches of her mother's enchanted oak tree..."

Tonks sank down into her beach chair, letting her head rest on the back and closing her eyes, letting Remus's voice take her back to a time when beautiful princesses were thick on the ground, heroes rushed in fearlessly to save them only for a chance to carry their tokens, love conquered all problems (especially when couched in pretty metaphors), and every sea breeze was gentle and sensuous.
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Comments
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 22nd, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
[sigh]

Have a wonderful holiday, Fern. You made my day.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 22nd, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it me, or should Mr. Tonks mind his own business a little bit more? I really wouldn't have wanted to be in Dora's shoes in that conversation!
dalf From: dalf Date: September 23rd, 2006 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
His daughter is so depressed that she is manafesting physical symptoms that are getting worse over the better part of a year and the direct cause of it is one of his close friends. Said frend then has sex with her and the proceeds to go back to telling her to stay away from him. I think it is business.
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: September 22nd, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Happy New Year!

Sigh. Such a lovely end to this snippet. Gives me the warm fuzzlies, even though I know it can't last very long.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was going to go angsty again, but honestly, at the level of angst they'd been at, what sane person would want to continue the relationship?!
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: September 22nd, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fifi's heroine isn't called Mary Sue by any chance? :)

Hope they're not sitting right on top of the Horcrux cave!

Nice to see these two getting back to some sort of reasonable relationship. I'm wondering if you're going to have them more or less together by the Hospital Wing scene but Remus still not happy about the idea of marriage or committment.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Fifi's heroine isn't called Mary Sue by any chance? :)

Oh, yeah. Spelled G-A-R-A-B-I. Pronounced "Mary Sue." I would not be shocked if those lovely, hair-tossing breezes just followed her wherever she goes.

I'm wondering if you're going to have them more or less together by the Hospital Wing scene

Not quite, but I think Tonks will get closer to the crux of the issue by then--not just understanding Remus pushing her away and making a martyr of himself, but seeing that Remus very genuinely doesn't believe he has any right to a normal life, no matter how much he wants it, and that it's not his defenses she has to get through.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: September 22nd, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for getting this up before the holiday. It's a wonderful segment! Enjoy!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! (I probably shouldn't be on answering, but I can't sleep!)
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: September 22nd, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

One minor error

"And I actually want to know. If forgot!" 'I forgot'?

Have a blessed holiday!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: One minor error

"And I actually want to know. If forgot!" 'I forgot'?

:facepalm:

And the spellcheck wouldn't pick that up, either. Thanks!
From: lianna_blanca Date: September 22nd, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank heaven that Remus is trying. And this looks like it'll be a nice in-between stage in their relationship - meaning, between the vhemanant denials and the apparent resolution we saw in HBP.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)
And this looks like it'll be a nice in-between stage in their relationship

I think that's where I'm going--they have to learn something before things get fixed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 22nd, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, you're marvelous. Every chapter just gets better and better...

By the way,I'm perpetuallyconfused from the 'Quill (though I'm mostly a lurker, not much of a poster, so I doubt you know who I am) and I've been reading faithfully ever since part way through Shifts... I've commented on a few of your other posts but for some reason I've never actually reviewed, despite the fact that you're probably my most favorite author in all of fandom and I read your fic obsessively. So let me take the opportunity now of saying how fabulous I think this story is, and how you never cease to amaze me with your behind-the-scenes storylines. (I'm so happy they're reading again... Hadria's Hope was hilarious...) I'm pretty sure it was you who converted me permanantly to Remus/Tonks... the first R/T I ever read was Mosylu's "The Dare" and at the time the pairing had never occurred to me, so I was sort of squicked by it. But you turned me into a true believer!
The thing that actually inspired me to comment this time was a couple of little typos:

"Garabi's Grace," he read allowed. "By Fifi LeFolle"

I think that should be "aloud" and "Fifi LaFolle".

Eagerly awaiting the next installment,
perpetuallyconfused
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that should be "aloud" and "Fifi LaFolle".

:goes and hides under table:

Aargh, thanks!
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: September 23rd, 2006 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know," she said. "What did we do when we were happy last year?"

Oh dear. Such a sad line :( Good to see more of Fifi LaFolle, though!

I don't think I've commented in far too long, so I wanted to say that having Remus go poking around for Horcrux-lore is a VERY cool twist, and I hope we get to see more of him in the classroom.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to say that having Remus go poking around for Horcrux-lore is a VERY cool twist

Oh, good... it's one of those flailing-around, he's got to do something things that I was trying to think of to fill a couple of months with and build up the relationship with Dumbledore, and I wasn't sure how people would take it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2006 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry if everyone else knows the answer to this, but why does Dora need to morph to be Dora Lewis? Can't they do appearance charms? I'd love to have her back, it was so nice seeing Raymond again. :-D
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: September 23rd, 2006 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I was wondering that as well. I think Dora could do the appearance charms, since she's done it before, but the real problem is that all their Smeltings friends came upon them so suddenly that Tonks had to think of a good reason for Dora Lewis not to be there-- and now they all think Dora Lewis is in Australia. So charming her appearance would be a bit pointless now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2006 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
They might not be happy, but they do seem more peaceful at the moment. Only a couple more months of Remus being an idiot to go! I'm looking forward to their resolution but, at the same time, I don't want "Shades to end.

Typo here (an extra f):
"Oh, Lord. I didn't ask about them. And I actually want to know. If forgot!"

Brilliant, as ever,

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll be very sad when Shades ends, but at the moment, I'm really looking forward to just finishing! ;)
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: September 23rd, 2006 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Fabulous chapter, as always. And I really loved the ending--tied it up nicely. :)

Er, Happy Rosh Hashana?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2006 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
As Dads go, Ted is an awesome one, but I was squirming reading that conversation...

So will we see Remus in the classroom again soon? I'm so looking forward to that, he's such a great teacher...

Happy New Year!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
POV may make it difficult to actually see him in the classroom, though there's one more full moon before the big finale, so I can try.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 23rd, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
If no one else got this one (unlikley):

Remus blinked owlishly. "Oh, Lord. I didn't ask about them. And I actually want to know. If forgot!"

I forgot

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, somebody else got it, but I'll headdesk twice for something that silly...
redlily From: redlily Date: September 24th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
"Either way," Tonks said. "We pretty much wasted it here. There'll never be another... you know. First time."

Wait, Tonks isn't implying that this little "slip-up" was their first time having sex, is she? Their first time since the end of "Shifts," maybe, but . . . I dunno, I just can't imagine them discussing marriage when they hadn't progessed past heavy petting. :)

And shana tova u'm'tuka to you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup, that was their first time, and at least her first time altogether. I'm a believer in the old-fashioned wizarding world theory. :P
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