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Shades, Chapter 38: Bloodstained, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 38: Bloodstained, pt. 1
Tonks is doing better when Narcissa Malfoy abruptly shows up in Hogsmeade, demanding the arrest of Harry Potter.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"Arrest Harry?" Tonks repeated.

"I want the murderous little beast in Azkaban!" Narcissa spat. "Or is that only for people with the wrong politics?"

Tonks led Narcissa outside, holding up a hand to keep Sanjiv from following. She saw the flash of a Patronus exploding out toward the school, and guessed that Aberforth had sent a message.

"Well?" Narcissa demanded. "Are you going to do your job?"

"Slow down, Auntie," Tonks said. "What's happened? I haven't had any word at all."

"He tried to kill my son," Narcissa said through clenched teeth. "And it wasn't even reported to you?"

Tonks frowned, unmorphed her hair (this wasn't an occasion for pink), and accompanied Narcissa to the school gates without further discussion. Hogwarts had always had its own rules, but attempted murder, if that's what it had been, was hardly covered by them.

Severus Snape was waiting for them at the gate. He opened it and Narcissa raised her clawed hand to swipe at him. He caught it easily and said, "Draco will recover with no scarring. You may wish to see him."

The codicil, And I can prevent it if I so choose, remained unspoken, but Narcissa seemed to understand it well enough. Resentfully, she lowered her hand.

Snape led them to the hospital wing at a quick, demanding clip, and there was no breath for conversation. When they arrived, Madam Pomfrey bustled them back to a curtained-off bed where Tonks saw her cousin lying unconscious, quick-healing pink cuts criss-crossing his bare chest. He looked too thin, and very young.

"Where's Potter?" Narcissa demanded, her fists planted firmly on her hips.

Tonks ignored her for the moment and leaned down to look at Draco's wounds. They were sharp slashes and had obviously been deep if they were taking this long to heal. With a slow, sinking feeling, she realized that she had seen this kind of wound before.

On Emmeline Vance's lifeless body.

She shuddered and turned to Narcissa. "What makes you think Harry did this?"

Narcissa pointed at Snape. "When I got here, Severus was saying that he had to 'go deal with Potter.'"

Tonks looked at Snape and raised an eyebrow.

His nose twitched with disdain, as it had any time she'd got an answer right in class when he'd been certain she'd miss it. "Potter," he said, "has an an unfortunate talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"What?" Narcissa spun on him. "How dare you defend the little half-blood beast? How could you--"

Draco groaned loudly, interrupting the conversation. Narcissa flew to him and started fretting at his blankets.

Snape waited until she was fully involved in this, then said, "I think it best that we allow Draco to explain this. He is, after all, an eyewitness."

Narcissa glared at him, then Conjured a glass goblet and filled it with water, which she gave, sip by sip, to her awakening son. When he seemed alert, her face grew stern. "Draco," she said.

"Mum? What're you..."

Narcissa's arm snaked out suddenly, and Tonks found herself dragged forward toward Draco's bed. "Your cousin is an Auror," Narcissa said. "Tell her what happened."

Draco blanched, then wrinkled his nose in revulsion. "I don't need an Auror."

"Tell me who did this," Tonks said.

He narrowed his eyes stubbornly.

"Draco--"

"It was an accident," he said dully, apparently accepting and not caring that everyone listening knew that this was a flat lie. "I was doing a Transfiguration project, and I mispronounced an incantation."

Narcissa gasped at this, then turned on Snape. "Make him tell the truth!"

"Are you proposing that I use a Ministry-controlled potion or spell on your own son?"

"I won't take it anyway," Draco said, then snarled at Tonks. "And certainly not around this half-blood tramp."

"The half-blood tramp in question is here at your mother's request," Tonks reminded him.

"My mother," Draco said, "is obviously not thinking clearly."

"You will show your mother respect," Snape said, his voice low and dangerous.

"I only meant that she was upset by my... accident."

"Why was Harry there?" Tonks asked.

"It's a common toilet," Draco said loftily. "I assume he had business there."

"Ask that ghost!" Narcissa demanded. "Ask that Mudblood ghost! She was there."

"Moaning Myrtle?" Tonks shook her head. "Aunt Narcissa, you know that ghost testimony doesn't count for a great deal."

Narcissa made a high, keening noise in the back of her throat, and paced up and down the length of Draco's bed. Finally, she stopped and straightened her back. "Leave, then," she said.

"I actually do need to investigate this..."

Snape took her by the elbow. "I will tell you what I witnessed, and Draco has already given you his account. If you still feel a need to speak to Potter, it will, of course be arranged."

"A need," Narcissa grumbled. "She'll let it go. You'll all let it go."

Snape led Tonks out of the hospital wing, letting Narcissa continue to mutter. He pulled her hard enough to hurt her arm, and deposted her on a bench in the entrance hall. He waved his wand quickly, and Tonks heard a faint buzz that she knew was shielding their conversation. "You do not, I assume, have any intention of arresting Potter."

"If he really did this spell, I don't have much choice!" She lowered her voice. "It's the same spell that killed Emmeline."

"And you've come to the conclusion from this that Potter has started killing off the Order? He's hardly that bright."

"No, of course not. Dumbledore and Remus both trust him. And why would he? But where would he learn such a thing?"

Snape shrugged. "The library, he claims. I would assume the Granger girl probably discovered it. Potter, being Potter, would have naturally been careless enough to try it to find out what it would do. I assure you, we have ways to handle careless uses of magic."

"You don't believe he did it deliberately?"

"The great hero?" Snape sneered. "I'm sure he'd never sully his grand reputation."

With that, he broke the spell and led her back to the school gates.

"I trust we have heard the end of this," he said.

"Professor..."

He opened the gate and prodded her out. "I will deal with Potter," he said. "I believe I can suitably inconvenience him."

Tonks blew her breath out through her teeth and shook her head. She knew that if she spoke to Dumbledore, he would also say it was accidental, and her instincts about Harry told her the same... but the procedure for something like this... she felt that she should at least investigate.

She struggled with the question as the afternoon pressed on, and, just before dinner, she Flooed to London and caught Robards on his way out of his office. He was hurrying to an "appointment," and testily told her that if there was no complaint from the victim and no evidence, then of course she had more important things to do, and if Narcissa Malfoy wanted to complain about it, she was welcome to see who was left who was willing to listen to her.

Tonks supposed that was as much as she'd be able to get--no one would fault her or accuse her of playing favorites with Dumbledore's people, except for her own aunt, who would never care for her anyway.

She went back to Hogsmeade, feeling out of sorts and petulantly irritated that her good spirits had been broken. She went back to the Hog's Head, where her room was stifling. Granny was standing beneath the window, mewing for a breeze, and Tonks raised it to let in the evening air. She settled in to fill in her paperwork for Dawlish, and wasn't really paying attention when the voices first appeared.

"...don't think it's a bloody brilliant idea to get Aurors looking at him, now do you?"

"I don't care. I--"

"Aye, but it's not about you, is it, Pretty?"

Tonks felt a chill rush up from the base of her spine. She hadn't heard the voice, but she knew it. She knew it well. She picked up her wand and went to the open window. Two shadows stretched down the street. She could see moonlight reflecting on silver-blonde hair, and on matted gray hair.

The gray-haired head suddenly tilted. "Got company," he said.

They disappeared with a pop.

Tonks stared at the space where Fenrir Greyback had been, and cursed herself for not recognizing him fast enough to Stun him.

A breeze picked up and blew a leaf in at her, and she batted it away, slamming the window down impatiently. Granny made a protesting sound, but Tonks didn't relent. Instead, she just put a cooling charm on the room, blew out her candles, and went to bed. Granny, pouting, slept on the desk chair.

In the morning, she tried to change her hair again, but it wouldn't budge.
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Comments
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redlily From: redlily Date: September 28th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I can't wait to hear how Malfoy was convinced not to implicate Harry.

Two typos: "wiht" = "with"; "flas" = "flag."

In case you don't post before Monday, gut yantiff!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the catches!

I probably will post again before Monday, but thanks for the holiday wish as well!
lyras From: lyras Date: September 28th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
What a brilliant scene! You show the tensions between all four characters so beautifully, everyone playing off one another. I especially liked your Draco, who finds his own (rather sensible) voice but can still be objectionable when he wants to be.

And to link sectumsempra (and therefore Snape, if Tonks only realised) to Emmeline - ooh!

Also, the bit with Fenrir (and Narcissa?) at the end is chilling. Excellent!

"You will show yourr mother respect,

Just noticed a typo in "your" here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops! I'll get that. Careless typing all around tonight!

Yes, that was Fenrir and Narcissa. Someone's not pleased that she's drawing an Auror's attention in Draco's direction just now...
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It's amazing how you manage to pack so much excitement and feeling into such a short segment!

And Tonks lost her morphing ability again ... that's just horribly sad. Drat Snape - it's all linked back to him somehow ... and while it's annoying that you're still writing Snape with ambiguity, I suppose that is necessary considering we don't know how JKR is going to twist things in book 7!

Draco refusing to admit Harry did the spell is interesting, though. I wonder what his motivations for keeping quiet are - not wanting to reveal the whole circumstances in the toilet? Keeping Aurors from investigating further (and hence discovering his little plot)?

Fenrir's back ... this whole thing gets more and more interesting! Is the leaf that blew in by any chance an oak leaf? ^-^

-shiiki
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is the leaf that blew in by any chance an oak leaf?

Could be. :)

I'd say Draco's motivation is totally self-preservation... he's not at a point where he wants to have Aurors looking closely at anything related to him.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: September 28th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I get why Snape wanted it kept quiet--the similarities with Emmaline Vance's wounds, plus his own nasty little role in inventing that spell and probably teaching it to the Death Eaters.

But I'd really love to definitively find out why Draco kept his mouth shut.


By the way, I thought that was terribly inspired, making Tonks' hair briefly able to morph like that. Showed the readers what her emotional threshold was for morphing. You said her inability to morph was an attempt to hold onto her identity; I think it's at least partly because she's such a mature person that she'd never consciously try to draw attention to her pain over Remus's rejection. But subconsciously, I think she wants him to know how much he hurt her, every time he sees her.

I used to wonder why JKR wrote Tonks as a Metamorphmagus, but I think I get it now: She gave her that gift just so she could visibly, painfully, take it away. I think it might foreshadow what's going to happen to Harry in Book 7. He and Ginny also love each other, but are apart. Harry thinks it's noble and will help him fight Voldemort, but I think he'll find that he's weaker without Ginny, and his powers will suffer because of it.

I read a review of HBP that said something about how, over and over again in the series, JKR stresses that Love is the most potent power of all. And how it would be cool if, just for once, the hero would beat the bad guy not because he was able to put his emotions away and do his job, but because he couldn't control his love and gave into it, and found himself stronger because of it.

Er, sorry. Didn't mean to essay-splooge all over your comments page. I'd just been thinking, is all. And probably nothing that hasn't already been said a blue million times before. But hey, it was a new thought to me. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
But subconsciously, I think she wants him to know how much he hurt her, every time he sees her.

I agree with that. It's also kind of a great big sign to other people (kind of like old mourning clothes) to tread gently around her because she hurts. Which of course, she would never deliberately do, because she would see that as weak, so it becomes a totally unconscious thing.
kileaiya From: kileaiya Date: September 28th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Dear me! How do you manage to pack such a wallop into just under 1,500 words?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
The wallop was there to be had in HBP, so I can't really take any credit for it. :)
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: September 28th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I suddenly really want to know what Remus thinks of all this. It's interesting to see this side of what happened in HBP.

Hm, I didn't realize earlier, but I suppose Draco doesn't want Tonks or anyone else looking at him closely in case his plans get revealed? (Draco even said that his mother wasn't thinking clearly, which Fenrir appearance later kind of proves!) And of course, Snape and Dumbledore want him to let go of any accusations towards Harry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know how much of Remus's reaction will fit into the May interlude (which is the last), so I'll just speculate--I think Remus would be horrified that Harry had learned such a spell. I also think he'd be kicking himself for blowing off Harry's questions about the HBP at Christmas, just assuming they were totally about James and not stopping to say, "Er... what exactly is this book telling you, Harry?" But he was a bit distracted.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 28th, 2006 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow somehow I had forgotten about the whole sectum sempra incident. A nice take on it. I suppose that was not a normal leaf that blew in either.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope, not a normal leaf, but it's spring, so Tonks can be excused for not noticing a spring leaf particularly this time. ;)
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: September 28th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting part -- I like the way you linked this back to Emmeline Vance, and showed Narcissa very much as canon -- poisonously prejudiced but with overriding concern for Draco. Nice use of Muffliato too. :)

And what is it with those damn leaves? :)

I presume Draco's attitude was that he didn't dare have an Auror looking too closely at him, because of the Cabinet operations and because he himself had tried to use an Unforgiveable in the fight? The news about what had happened was certainly all round the school -- Moaning Myrtle told everybody, and Pansy was vilifying Harry, etc.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. The hearsay case alone would have had Harry convicted if I'd been writing Law and Order fic (I'd probably have to expand it so that Jack McCoy decided that the entire school was responsible for Harry's actions and pressed charges against the school governors for murder, just to fill up the hour equivalent, with him striking some kind of reduced-time deal with Harry for testimony against his teachers). Luckily, we know from the example of Remus amd the children not being able to give testimony after the evening in the Shrieking Shack that the Ministry is capable of ignoring just about anything it wants to, so just having Draco lie probably would be enough to get the Aurors uninvolved.
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: September 28th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, very good. I loved Narcissa in this segment, and Draco too. He obviously wants to avoid the auror's attention. Must have killed him though, to have to pass up the chance to get Harry in some serious trouble.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah--golden opportunity, handed to him on a silver platter by a Harry who wouldn't even protest, and he couldn't use it. It kind of sucks to be Draco.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, so did Snape actually teach Sectumsepra to the DEs, or are you suggesting that he killed Emmeline? Or will you leave that vague?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think he actually killed Emmeline; he only claims credit for giving information that led to it. And he could have taught a DE Sectumsempra at any time during his previous association with them. Or, he could have taught it to someone ten minutes before it was used on Emmeline.

So yeah... vague. :)
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: September 28th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

nit

Wen they arrived,

Should be _When_ they arrived,

J
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: nit

Oops! I'll get that.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: September 28th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Fern, you've outdone yourself! There is so much I love about this installment that I don't even know where to begin. Well, actually, I do--I love how you foreshadowed this segment with Tonks's dream about Emmeline, and how you've tied in Tonks's plot with the main plot in yet another detail.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 28th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'd better get the main plot tied in. It's already May and I'm on Chapter 38... I've got to tie stuff up!

:cowers in fear of giant story deciding to strike back:
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I finally understand why Harry didn't get in much trouble for almost killing Draco.
shadowturquoise From: shadowturquoise Date: September 29th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh poor Dora! If her non-morphing is connected to her inability to define her on identity, then it's no wonder she lost it this time! She's being pulled in 3 different directions with 3 aspects of who she is all at the same time: auror, Order member, and niece. At least Remus wasn't part of the problem this time.

And as someone who still firmly believes Snape is on the right side, I appreciate your vagueness on where he stands.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 29th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Narcissa is in trouble now...
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