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Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 1
Whoa. Last interlude!

Remus has been substitute teaching. He took in a little tutoring one Saturday, and Mina and the women attacked, after which Remus was accidentally rounded up with them and taken to Azkaban. A furious Tonks flies up there and reads her colleague the riot act... which embarrasses Remus, who envisions her spending her whole life getting into screaming matches with her colleagues to protect him. She turns her anger on him, and is confused about her own rage. Her father gives her some insight, and she finally has realized that Remus really, really does care about things like his inability to keep a job and so on, and it's not just some external annoyance.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




It would have been easy to pack up the flat magically, but Remus wasn't in a hurry, and dawdled over putting his few collected possessions into cardboard boxes. He supposed he'd take them back to the Shrieking Shack, though he'd let it fall back into some of its disrepair since Dora had stopped coming around.

The flat had come with a set of wooden shelves on the wall beside the window, and his books were lined up on the one at eye level. Fifteen tattered paperbacks.

Excellent collection, Professor.

He sighed and pushed them carelessly into the box.

There was a soft knock, and the door opened. Dora leaned in. "Dumbledore told me you were leaving. Can I help?"

Remus pictured her at Azkaban, screaming at Williams, seeing him tied up beside Mina. "I think I can handle my vast list of belongings on my own," he said.

To his surprise, Dora didn't respond by rolling her eyes. Instead, she sat down beside the box and started stacking the books inside it more neatly. "I'm sorry about the job," she said. "Dumbledore said he was taking you off the list."

Remus shrugged and started gathering the photographs Dora had brought here three weeks ago. "It wouldn't have been permanent," he said.

"What about those credentials? You said that, at Christmas--" She stopped and looked away. "Could it work? Working in the Muggle world, I mean?"

"Not with a war going on. Dumbledore needs me to be able to move freely."

"Right." She closed the box and sealed it with a quick spell, then took a deep breath. "Remus, I'm sorry that I embarrassed you at Azkaban."

"Don't be silly."

"It was an awkward situation. I really would have... I mean, if Mina had been unfairly arrested, I would have still screamed at Williams. You know that, don't you? That I wasn't just trying to protect you or whatnot?"

He looked at her, crouched on the floor, her hair wrapped in a bright pink scarf. She was looking at him hopefully.

"I know," he said. "Of course you would. I was upset. Please forgive me."

Dora nodded somberly, but the corner of her mouth twitched. "Well," she said, "if this conversation gets any more passionate, we may be able to flash-freeze something."

Remus smiled. "At any rate, there's really not all that much to do here," he said. "I think I can put the rest in the other box, and it won't even be full." He Summoned his small collection of suits from the wardrobe in his bedroom, and they landed neatly on top of the cutlery in the second box. The photographs went on top. The only thing left that he'd brought was the food in the kitchen (he'd scrounged the beach chairs out of storage on the landlady's permission), and there wasn't much of that. "I'd offer you something to eat, but the dishes are packed."

"It's all right," Dora said. "I think Dumbledore is bringing something."

"Dumbledore is coming?"

"Is, in fact, here," another voice said. Remus looked up and saw Dumbledore standing in the doorway. He was wearing Muggle short pants, a bright floral shirt, and leather sandals. His blackened hand was wrapped in a bandage.

Remus stifled a smile. "Day at the seaside?"

Dumbledore straightened his glasses. "There are matters I must investigate, and I thought I might enjoy a walk along the cliffs as I do so. Would you both care to join me?"

"Love to," Dora said. "Though I think I'll walk on the inland side. Tripping on the cliff can't end well."

"Very well, then. Remus?"

"All right. The wind can be a bit on the chilly side, though."

"I find it refreshing," Dumbledore said, and headed outside without further discussion. Remus and Dora followed him.

He set a quick pace down to the cliff, but stopped when they reached it, looking out across the sea. A thin fringe of rocky beach was at the base, and a few hearty locals were kicking a football around it.

"Not an entirely picturesque seaside village," Dumbledore said.

Remus nodded. "It's a pity. Everywhere else seems to thrive on the tourists."

"Yes. But they don't seem to care for Harrington-on-Sea, do they? It was once on the same path as all of its neighbors. But prosperity seems to have passed it by."

"Does that have anything to do with why we're here?" Dora asked.

"It may. I don't know. There's certainly something unpleasant about this part of the coast. I imagine that it hasn't felt like much of a holiday to tourists who venture here." He set off along the path above the cliffs, peering out to sea every few steps.

"I can think of some people who might call it unspoiled," Dora said. "The savage coastline, untrammeled by man, and all that."

"Savage, yes," Dumbledore said. "Wild. But unspoiled? No, Nymphadora. Spoiled is precisely the word for this. Contaminated."

"Is it about all the trace magic?" Remus asked.

Dumbledore paused, frowned. "It may be related," he said without elaborating. He started to move again, and Remus expected him to go further up the coast, but then he stopped abruptly and squinted at a rock slightly off shore. "That is one of the rocks about which the children tell stories?" he asked.

"Yes. A boy in my art class drew a rather graphic picture of boats crashing against it. It led to quite a story about children during the war and a sea monster and any number of other things that I've seen no trace of."

"Yes. The war would be too early. And I have no reason to believe that there are sea monsters of any sort." Dumbledore frowned and shook his head. "It's possible."

"Sea monsters?" Dora asked.

"No." Dumbledore started walking again, heading up the shallow hill that led to the village proper. He didn't speak until they reached the high street, which had shops on one side, overlooking the sea. Behind them, a rocky hill rose. Part of it was fenced off. Dumbledore pointed to it. "Do you know why the hill is closed off?"

"There was once a coal mine there," Remus said. "Part of it collapsed during the winter. It's considered unsafe."

"Did it open into the mine itself?"

"No. It's just rubble."

Dumbledore looked down at the ground and muttered, "Yes. Of course." He looked up. "Nymphadora, I shall be calling on you to watch the school several times over the upcoming weeks. In the company of as many Order members as you can find. Remus, you will certainly be needed."

Dora nodded somberly. "You've found something, haven't you?"

"Not yet. But I believe I've discovered where I must look. I simply need to deduce how to get there."

Dora tried unsuccessfully to get Dumbledore to share information with them, and after he went back, she complained that it was impossible to help a man who wouldn't give them the most basic idea of what he was trying to accomplish. Remus shared her frustration, but he had lived through the first war at Dumbledore's side, and he knew that Dumbledore had good reasons to do whatever it was he chose to do. They gathered Remus's boxes and Apparated back to Hogsmeade, back to the Shrieking Shack and what passed for their life.

Over the next week, Remus cleaned the Shack thoroughly, as Dora was using it every other day, it seemed, to bring in Hogwarts guards. Sanjiv and Daffy were there twice, and Molly and Arthur once. Remus himself went along every time, glad to at least feel useful. Bill only missed one night. Hestia had been sent on a mission of her own in Bulgaria (where she was apparently to meet young Viktor Krum), and Fleur was in France with Valeska, researching an apparent rash of spell damage that had occurred during Voldemort's first rise. The day before the full moon, Bill came to the Shack with flowers.

"Would you mind bringing these to her?" he asked. "I'd send them by owl post, but you're quicker. And I can't Apparate down just now."

"All right."

Bill paused. "Do you think she's flighty?"

"What?"

"Mum was going on about how Fleur doesn't take anything seriously. I've never thought that. Does everyone else think that?"

"I think she's very young," Remus said. "But no... flighty is not at all a word I would use for her."

"I don't understand why people don't trust her. Do you think it's the Veela business?"

"If you're talking about your mum, I suspect it's just the business of taking away her eldest boy." Remus smiled. "Don't worry. It'll work itself out."

Bill nodded and left, and Remus sighed, looking at the flowers and wishing that things could work out so easily with Dora. She'd been behaving oddly toward him, talking about possible jobs and bringing him stacks of research that had been done on improvements that were being attempted to Wolfsbane potion. Apparently, it had finally occurred to her that he was indigent and dangerous.

He was just about the Apparate out when the door opened quietly and she slipped in. "Oh," she said. "Sorry, I'd have knocked, but I thought you'd have already left. Guard duty."

"Who's coming?"

"Molly and Mad-Eye." She bit her lip. "Remus, there's something I need to tell you."

"What?"

"Greyback has been spotted. He's still in the country. He seems to be traveling with a rather large wizard. No one recognizes the wizard."

"Could be the Death Eater who came to camp with him," Remus said. "The one who gave Vivian a mask."

"If it is, then there's a good possibility that we won't get Greyback until we've got Voldemort."

"I know."

She gave him an awkward smile, and sat down at the kitchen table, Summoning the makings for a cup of tea. He wanted to tell her how much he hated these cold conversations, to kiss her before he left, to hold her. But the moon was rising, and he could feel it pulling at his mind.

He Apparated out.
24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
liriop From: liriop Date: October 9th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's excellent as usual. But it's chapter 40, not 30. And I'm really intrigued by Dumbledore, because I thought the next full moon would still be in May and Dumbledore goes with Harry into the cave in June. But in this chapter, it seems that Dumbledore already knows where the horcrux is.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, good catch on the chapter number.

But in this chapter, it seems that Dumbledore already knows where the horcrux is.
He has an idea that it's there, but the cave is very hard to get to, and requires hitting it at the right tide point and lots of other things, judging by HBP. It would probably take a while to figure out how to get to it. I couldn't very well have Dumbledore just bumbling around for a month and half after Harry tells him about Sluggy's memory! ;p
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
As to the timing of the final battle, the timeline is all screwed up by then. The full moon here is May 22, and the best I can figure is that the final battle is May 29.
liriop From: liriop Date: October 9th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the second page of chapter 25 (page 501, in UK hardback edition):
"But Ron's tolerance was not to be tested much as they moved into June, for Harry and Ginny's time together was becoming increasingly restricted. Ginny's O.W.L.s were approaching and she was therefore forced to revise for hours into the night."
Well, English is not my first language, but doesn't it mean that the final battle was in June?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I missed that line. But it still would be only toward the very beginning (OWLs appear to be in mid-June, per OotP, and Ginny was still only studying, not taking them), and I'm not being particularly specific about the timing because it's so screwed up--the days don't work out at all. And I definitely don't have enough story left to cover four more weeks.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 9th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore in Muggle clothing.

Priceless.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought it could use some comedy. Just picturing Dumbledore's knobbly knees and long beard over a loud shirt... it made me happy, anyway. :)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: October 9th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Made me think of The Sword in the Stone. :-)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 9th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's exactly what it made me think of, too. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! Yes, that's where the image came from. I knew it seemed familiar when it was in my head, and I couldn't figure out what on earth it was triggering. I haven't seen that movie in such a very, very long time!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 9th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have not seen the movie. But after I stopped laughing it brought back an image of a man walking along the beach in Kona (my 1st and hopefully not may last time in Hawaii). Actually when I saw him I thought of Dumbledore he was tall enough and with the dark sunglasses he was wearing a lot of his face was obscured. So I thought of him sort of on holiday.

Thanks for bringing that image back,

Katsulas
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 9th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely second Kizmet's comment about Dumbledore's Muggle getup. I actually laughed out loud - good old Dumbledore.

And Remus - oh Remus, of course he would interpret Dora's trying to get him to understand that she understands just like that. Oh dear. Well at least we know he'll be coming around eventually...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 9th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
And fairly soon, too. Thank God!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 9th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hehe, poor Remus! He's been trying so long to get Tonks to treat him like this, and now that he's succeeded, he wants it to stop. Be careful what you wish for!

I also love how you use Bill and Fleur as Remus's example of a normal relationship. He's wishing he had it so easy, and he's assuming that if they were in he and Tonks' place, they'd behave the same way. Nice way of explaining why the Hospital Wing scene would have the effect it apparently does.

Maryann
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 10th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter, as usual! I like how Tonks's approach to Remus has changed after what she saw ... and you're really paving the way for their interaction to mature to reach their understanding in the hospital wing.

Thanks for that cheery image of Dumbledore ... I've been irritated with him for quite some time already, but that picture just cancelled it all out. (The annoyance, I mean.)

Just got my LJ so now I can leave a signed comment. Would you mind if I friend you, btw?
From: lianna_blanca Date: October 10th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice chapter. Things seem to be moving quicker, and I'm torn between hanging on desperately for the next installment and wishing it wouldn't finish so soon. If I might ask, are you planning what you're going to write next?

One thing":
"embarrassed you at Azkaban"
I'm sorry - this just made me crack up. You probably didn't mean it to be funny, but "Azkaban" and "embarassment" are NOT two words that go together normally.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 10th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
If I might ask, are you planning what you're going to write next?

I'm going to move to original for a while, just with occasional little challenge forays, maybe getting together all the little R/T things I've done and cleaning them up for a collection at SQ. I don't have any big fanfic plans.

Except that I really, really can't get away from a crossover idea called Law and Aurors, starring Kingsley and Jack McCoy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 10th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the way your mind works Fern. Law and Aurors...I'd read it. Just the title makes me think of the overlap that might be necessary between the magical and muggle world when things don't clean up so quick and easily.

Just getting to know you through your writing makes me want to get an ID just so I can friend you.

:) hugs,

Katsulas
From: octobersnow Date: October 10th, 2006 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, you know omniocular is having that crossover challenge this month...

Excellent Section per usual.
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: October 11th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, but what about more on the Mira/Daniel thing? Or...or something. I'm just not sure what I'll do without my regular fernwithy fanfic updates. ;)
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: October 10th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Apparently, it had finally occurred to her that he was indigent and dangerous.

*sigh* Remus, Remus, when will you ever learn?
dalf From: dalf Date: October 10th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus looked up and saw Dumbledore standing in the doorway. He was wearing Muggle short pants, a bright floral shirt, and leather sandals. His blackened hand was wrapped in a bandage.

Remus stifled a smile. "Day at the seaside?"

Was this a refrence to Harry trying to imagin Dumbledore at he beach on holiday?
kileaiya From: kileaiya Date: October 10th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: October 10th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG HAWAIIAN!SHIRT!DUMBLEDORE!

:: falls over ::
24 comments or Leave a comment