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Shades, Chapter 37: Down to the Sea, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 37: Down to the Sea, pt. 3
Whew. My net connection went a little fuzzy there, but it's back. Woo-hoo.

Not much to recap. Remus is on an assignment to explore some places Tom Riddle went during his Muggle youth, and has sent back some sketches with Tonks. The two of them are trying to have a remotely normal relationship. Tonks is feeling secure enough that she's been able to hold a minor morph, but lost it when she tried something more complex. She dreamed of Emmeline Vance, and the message, "T-R-A" which she wrote at her murder scene.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Tonks went to Dumbledore's office at noon the next day, when she'd finished investigating some potions ingredients thefts in Aberdeen. It had been a waste of time--if Magical Law Enforcement had bothered to look at the ingredients, they'd have seen that it was obviously nothing more than an intoxicant, and therefore more in their jurisdiction than the Aurors'--but she had a feeling that all of them were chasing their own tails these days, so she didn't begrudge it.

She hadn't visited the school during the day since the morning after they'd rescued the pups, and that had been a Sunday morning. Today, Disillusioning would have done no good; the children were rushing through the corridors, going from class to class, and she would have run into one or another of them. Instead, she just put on her old seventh year robes, put her hair in two pigtails, and tried to be inconspicuous. She thought Ginny Weasley might have given her an odd look as she passed on her way to what looked like a Quidditch team meeting (Ron was going on about strategy, and Harry was nodding sincerely while staring at Ginny's hair), but it was just a glance, and neither Ron nor Harry noticed her at all.

She wove through the crowds, her eyes cast down and her satchel drooping, as it always had, and finally arrived at the gargoyle that guarded Dumbledore's office. Behind her, a soft voice said, "Chocolate frogs."

She turned to see Dumbledore himself, wearing scarlet robes with gold piping.

"Hello, Nymphadora," he said. "I'm sorry you couldn't make it to breakfast this morning."

"Aberdeen. Potions... I go where I'm sent."

"Of course." He stepped onto the rotating stairs and she climbed up beside him, and they rode up to his office. "I take it you saw Lupin yesterday?"

"I did. He seems to be doing well, though I don't understand what he was sent for."

"Purely information-gathering," Dumbledore said. "Remus is uniquely good with children, and it was children I expected to have the information I needed."

Tonks sat down in the plush chair he indicated as he moved behind his desk. "Is that how you said it to him? Uniquely suited?"

"I don't recall."

She bit her lip. "I think he would appreciate it. It was what you said about spying on Greyback--uniquely suited--and I think he'd like to hear that he's more than a werewolf."

"He's well aware of that, Nymphadora." He held up his hand to forestall a protest. "But I will, nevertheless, see to it that I use the phrase. When I spoke to him about how you might be helpful, he suggested that I remind you that I consider you an intelligent and resourceful young woman, and not just a shapeshifter who is willing to be useful to Remus."

Tonks laughed and looked at her shoes. "We're quite the demanding pair, aren't we?"

Dumbledore smiled and didn't answer. "You seem in better spirits," he said. "Speaking of shapeshifting..."

"I've got a bit further, but it's still not holding."

"A pity. I do miss the bright colors."

"I'll wear Molly's jumper next time. It's bright."

"Ah, I have always hoped she would knit me one, but she seems to think I wouldn't care for it. I wonder what color she would choose."

Tonks narrowed her eyes and pretended to inspect him. "Purple," she said. "I think purple suits you delightfully. I'll suggest it to her next Christmas."

Dumbledore gave her an odd half-smile. "Have you brought anything from Remus?"

"Sketches," she said. "And some ghost stories." She rummaged in her satchel and brought out Remus's sketches. "He says there's a lot of trace magic, but you told him not to follow it--"

"I did."

"--and that the children talk about all of these places being haunted. Even the rocks." She pointed at the drawing of the sea from the cliffs.

"Do you know where these locations are in relationship to one another?" Dumbledore asked, spreading the drawings out on his desk.

"Sorry, no."

"I shall have to find out from Remus."

"Is there anything I can do to help, Sir?"

He looked at her sharply over the top of his half-moon glasses, then nodded. "I would ask that you report to me, immediately, any places that you encounter in your work that seem to have more trace magic than they by rights ought to."

"What are you looking for?"

"I should think that would be obvious," he said. "I am looking for Lord Voldemort."

She supposed that was the clearest answer she would get, though she suspected it was vaguer than it looked on its surface. "Professor, may I talk to you about something? It's totally unrelated to Remus or this project."

"What is it?"

"Did I ever tell you that Emmeline Vance wrote T-R-A before she died?"

"I was aware of it," Dumbledore said carefully.

"I dreamed of her last night. And those letters. I think it's 'traitor.' I think... I think Emmeline found a traitor."

He nodded. "She saw Severus Snape. He wasn't able to break cover to her before she was taken away. He didn't realize they intended to kill her, but when he returned to find her and get her away, she was already dead."

"And you knew this?"

"There's no information there that would be helpful to tracking her killer. Severus knew she was taken, but he doesn't know where, or by whom."

"Oh." She sighed. "I suppose I thought she'd learned something new and we could put it together. I thought... I suppose it was just a nightmare."

"I should have shared the information with you," Dumbledore said. "I hadn't realized the message had been weighing on you."

"Robards searched the department for a spy."

"He neglected to mention that. He told me he was investigating it as part of a personal name."

Tonks processed this information slowly. "We all should have talked more," she said.

"Perhaps." Dumbledore looked pensive. "I am sorry, Nymphadora. I shouldn't have allowed this to trouble you. I seem to have caused you any number of--"


"I beg your pardon?"

"I don't need any more men apologizing to me." She stood up. "I need to get back to work. There's been a break in the McCallister disappearance." There was a commotion at the bottom of the stairs, muffled from behind the door. "Sounds like you have company."

He nodded wearily. "Yes. Sybill Trelawney has been visiting me daily with a new portent of doom."

"Oh." Tonks gave him a sympathetic smile. "Third year, she predicted I would be horribly disfigured before the year was out."

"You seem to avoided your fate."

She wished him well and left, slipping out around Professor Trelawney, who was walking in a cloud of sherry fumes thick enough to make Tonks dizzy. She heard, "Headmaster, I must speak to you--" before the door closed.

The break in the case of Chloe McCallister turned out to be the best news possible--the old woman had simply gone up into the mountains to collect herbs for her potions, and had enjoyed the outdoors for two weeks. She was irritated with the attention the Aurors were paying to her, and finally threw them out of her house with a testy sweep of her broom. Tonks didn't care. One of the missing was back and safe. Emmeline's mysterious message had just been mistaken identity. Remus was in a safe place, and they were getting along with one another.

Wednesday morning, she got up early, took a deep breath, and morphed her hair bright pink. It stayed. She didn't try to change the length or make it spiky--the color was enough for now. She didn't even mind that Dawlish snarled at the look. Aberforth gave her a jaunty wave. She was the Auror scheduled to remain in Hogsmeade today, and there was nothing particular happening. Madam Rosmerta had a flute player in at the Three Broomsticks, and Tonks enjoyed the music through an open window while she watched the springtime visitors go by. Sanjiv, who had been working in London, Apparated back for lunch, and they laughed at the new envelope of photographs that Daffy had sent of Francis. He applauded her hair and she was bowing lightly when the screech came across the Hog's Head:


Tonks stood up and turned. The person standing there was the last one Tonks had expected from the banshee-scream. Her hands were claws, her eyes wild, her blonde hair unkempt.

"Aunt Narcissa!" Tonks said, hurrying over. "I'm on duty in Hogsmeade. What is it? What's happened?"

She ground her teeth in a frustrated way. "You're Dumbledore's."


"But we are blood." She grabbed Tonks's arm. "We are blood, whatever you think of me. Follow your blood."

"What are you talking about, Auntie?"

She straightened her shoulders. "I want you to go up to that school and prove that there is some justice left in the Ministry."


"I want you to arrest Harry Potter."
30 comments or Leave a comment
vytresna From: vytresna Date: September 27th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Sectumsempra already? Lawks. Clearly, I haven't been keeping track.

Why wasn't Harry formally charged, come to think of it? Perfectly reasonable thing to do.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't really think about it until I wanted to do a canon check and realized my canon-check character was an Auror. I think we're all pretty used to Hogwarts being self-contained!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 27th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
This? Is so good. So so good. I'm just going to sit here and smile for awhile, because today things are going okay for me, and this is so good. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Glad to give you a smile.
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: September 27th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how Tonks uses the term 'Auntie.' Not just Aunt, but Auntie.

I spent today catching up starting with interlude 6. The escape for the pups was brilliant. I love Alderman and the new twist with Blondie's situation. Remus's new assignment is oh-so-lovable. Wish I had an art teacher like him!

And yes, why wasn't Harry arrested? I don't seem to remember enough of HBP.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Wish I had an art teacher like him!

Me, too! I might have kept taking art!
redlily From: redlily Date: September 27th, 2006 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't need any more men apologizing to me.

Je t'aime, Tonks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2006 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I second that! The line stood out to me as well.

Oh dear, we're at Sectumsempra at last. One of the most awful scenes in the book, in my opinion. I'm very interested to see what you'll make of it from Tonks's (or Remus, if he appears) point of view!

I'm so happy her hair can morph in colour again!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was afraid that might be a little too explicit a reference, but I think Tonks is just not in a mood to beat around the bush.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2006 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, am I pathetic that it made me terribly sad when Tonks said she'd have Molly knit a sweater for Dumbledore the next Christmas...because we know he won't be there next Christmas...

persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: September 27th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
And that odd smile of Dumbledore's -- neat way for Fern to hint that he knew something and still hedge her bets.


That sounds like I didn't find it moving, but I did. For some reason the smile struck me more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
neat way for Fern to hint that he knew something and still hedge her bets

:shifty eyes:

That's totally not what it's about. Totally. I'm absolutely not a wuss afraid of being Jossed. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me too! That is, if he IS dead ... (Vincent Price laugh)

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my. Hope Narcissa's still talking to her at the end of this. And Tonks is likely to have a chat with Snape, now, isn't she? And right after finding out Snape was somewhat involved in Emmaline's death. Sure, Dumbledore reassured her, but I have a feeling Snape is about to rise to new heights in his ability not to play well with others.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my. Hope Narcissa's still talking to her at the end of this.

Well, I probably won't state it explicitly, but my pet theory is that the big blonde DE in the final battle who is throwing curses at everyone he meets and runs off with Snape and Draco is really Narcissa under some appearance charms. And really pissed at every single person she sees.

And yes, Tonks is about to have a little chat with Snape.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 27th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nobody seems to have mentioned it so far, so I'll point out the typo:
"You seem to avoided your fate."
There should have been a "have", shouldn't there?
Other than that, I loved Tonks's and Dumbledore's interaction. Dumbledore was protecting Snape very well, and Tonks prodded some serious buttock with "I don't need more men apologizing to me."
I wonder how she's going to handle her aunt...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. Definitely missing a "have."
matril From: matril Date: September 27th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Just wow. Knowing Dumbledore won't be there for that jumper...wondering how many layers of lies Snape is hiding under...and now Narcissa's (perfectly understandable) reaction to Sectumsempra...I am consistently amazed. And half-eager, half-dreading what's coming next....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Well, next I have to get out of the pickle of having Harry's arrest demanded without Harry, you know, finding out about it.
matril From: matril Date: September 28th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Fortunately, he's going to be distracted by the Quidditch final and a certain redhead, so it's not unreasonable for him to be rather oblivious to everything else. :P
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: September 27th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tonks narrowed her eyes and pretended to inspect him. "Purple," she said. "I think purple suits you delightfully. I'll suggest it to her next Christmas."

Dumbledore gave her an odd half-smile


This is continuing to be lovely. I am most interested to see how Harry avoided being punished for nearly killing Draco. Is Snape going to come into that, being the sole witness?

Dumbledore explanation about T-R-A was eminently reasonable. I imagine Tonks will be even more devestated at Snape's aparent betrayal, now that she's ignored her dream. Eeeep.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore explanation about T-R-A was eminently reasonable.

And who knows? It may be true. But once Snape's apparent treachery comes out... yeah, I can see Tonks kicking herself for not questioning. Though I doubt she'd get much further than Harry does when he questions DD about Snape.
From: lianna_blanca Date: September 27th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter. It's always good to see Narcissa as a mother.

One thing - Dumbledore says Remus is "uniquely GOOD with children", but the subsequent lines focus on the words "uniquely SUITED". It seems a bit strange.

Other than that, good work. I never did wonder why Harry didn't get into worse trouble over that dammned curse - I suppose I wanted to forget the incident entirely. Stupid Harry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right. That scans really weird, especially with the two lines in such quick succession on the screen (though separated by about forty minutes of futzing around by the writer).

I think there could be a lot of reasons why Harry didn't get in trouble (and will pick one in the next segment), which is why no one really thought twice about it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Wasn't that what got Harry detention on Saturdays for the rest of the year, hence resulting in him missing the final quidditch match? I presumed it didn't go any further because Snape didn't want to have any questions asked about who devised that particular curse. That would have openned a whole tin of worms about who the Half-Blood Prince was and who thought up all those nasty little spells - not something Snape would want Dumbledore knowing about (whatever side Snape's on).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I presumed it didn't go any further because Snape didn't want to have any questions asked about who devised that particular curse.

It's probalby a mixture of that and other things, including the fact that Draco was attempting to cast an Unforgiveable, which could land him in some hot water if he reported Harry.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: September 28th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
It was good to see Tonks happy ... for a little while at least. But now we're in it for the long haul, aren't we?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, this is the last stretch. Yikes.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 28th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Instead, she just put on her old seventh year robes, put her hair in two pigtails, and tried to be inconspicuous.

A 17 year old in pigtails not conspicuous? *does that Mr. Spock one eyebrow thing. Now I am not a girl, but I am pretty sure that anyone over 10 (ok 11) who wears pigtails is going to get some looks.

Oh and I LOVE the idea of Sybill Trelawney predicting that a shapeshifter will be "horribly disfigured", though I suppose she coudl claim it came true and that Tonks was just hiding it. LOL

OMG that ending! "Aunt Narcissa" .... I like the way you bring otu the strangness of Tonks' family. I hope we get to see a bit of this (on the perifrey) in book 7.

lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: October 1st, 2006 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I've just got back to reading, and this chapter is one of my favourites so far. Dumbledore was wonderful - wise but annoyingly vague - and Narcissa's desperate appearance at the end was a great shock.

Best of all, I liked Tonks' determination to stop accepting apologies and just get on with being herself.
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