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Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 2
Full moon, late May. Remus has no idea why Tonks has suddenly started taking his admonitions seriously, at least as far as reading up on possible job prospects and reading several articles on Wolfsbane Potion, and he doesn't know what to make of it. A week or two ago, Tonks was in the Forbidden Forest, where she talked to the Lady, who wants Vivian to come back. What else? Oh, he's on his way to France, and Bill asked him to bring flowers to Fleur, who is working with her grandmother on some disappearances.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Fleur was with Valeska when he arrived, and was delighted with Bill's flowers, which were apparently something of a surprise. Remus wished it was so simple to make Dora happy, to paint lovely images of a life together. He envied Bill deeply, though not for the same reasons other men did. Fleur was lovely, but not at all his own sort. He envied Arthur Weasley just as much--going home to the solid, warm love that Molly was so generous with, knowing he deserved it (and she deserved him), watching their children grow to adulthood, even the disappointing Percy. A world of the normal.

It was another smooth transformation, at least in terms of transformations without the benefit of Wolfsbane. The company of the pack combined with the safety of a closed-in, magically guarded area kept the stress levels down, and less stress (with more food) made for less pain. The morning after, all of them were weary and achy, but none of them were injured. Remus and the boys met the girls on the flat between the pens, and walked back to the little village together.

Alderman's sister had made breakfast for everyone by herself (or so she said; Remus guessed that there had been some surreptitious magical help involved) and they all thanked and complimented her until she blushed and hid behind Robert. He mussed her hair and shooed her back to Fiona.

"I could get used to this," he said to Remus. "I mean, I still can't quite wrap my head around Mum and Roald, but I guess I've had some practice being the big brother."

Blondin snorted. "Reckon if you cuffed your brother as hard as you cuff me, your Mum'd have your head."

"Yeah, well, his skull's not as thick as yours now, is it?"

"I think you're a wonderful brother," Evvie said, patting Alderman's arm, and the other boys snickered while Alderman blushed. Vivian rolled her eyes extravagantly.

After they ate, Remus started back to the Apparition point, though he had no idea what he was in such a rush for--even if he was needed on guard duty, it would not, in all likelihood, be until nightfall. Then again, he had no particular business in France (once he'd given Bill's flowers to Fleur), either.

Halfway down the mountain, just before the gap in the road, he heard quick, light footsteps, and stopped to look over his shoulder. Vivian Waters was running down, her long skirt (one that the Lady had given her) gathered up in her fists to keep her legs free.

She reached him, puffing. "You didn't say goodbye!"

"Yes I did, Vivian."

"All right, but to everyone."

"So sorry. Goodbye, Vivian."

"We didn't talk about anything!"

Remus sighed and sat down on a large stone. "Was there something you wanted to talk about?"

"I had a letter from your friend Tonks," she said. It was the last thing in the world Remus had expected to come out of her mouth, and he was momentarily dumbstruck. Vivian just went on. "She said she saw the Lady, and she wants me back. The Lady, I mean, not Tonks. Why does she sign her letters with her last name? Her first name is very pretty."

"It's one of the mysteries of Tonks," Remus said. "The Lady wants you to come back? Do you want to go back?"

"Tonks said I should wait until after the war, or until I come to school. That's what I want to talk about. I thought you said I wouldn't be able to go to school."

Remus gritted his teeth, wishing desperately that Dora had not chosen to pointlessly raise Vivian's hopes. "You need to be prepared for the probability that you won't. I'm sure Headmaster Dumbledore will do all he can, but--"

"It's stupid," Vivian said. "I didn't do anything."

"Of course not."

"So why shouldn't I be allowed to go to school?"

"Because we're dangerous to other people," Remus said. "Whether we mean to be or not."

"You didn't hurt anyone."

"By sheer good luck."

"Plus that house they built for you." She stood up and started to pace excitedly. "I was thinking, maybe Evvie and I could use it to, and on full moons, we could come to the house, and you could bring us here... you know, Apparating. Then we wouldn't be anywhere near anyone. And she could give us breakfast. There's lovely fruit in the glade."

"There's more to it than just making a plan," Remus said.

"Like what?"

"Politics, among other things. Since I was teaching there--since I quite carelessly forgot my Wolfsbane potion--the Wizengamot has passed laws against werewolves hired as teachers or attending as students."

Vivian looked utterly crestfallen.

Remus reached over and hugged her, patting her hair. "It's not so awful," he said. "You can't go as a student and I can't be there as a teacher, but I have been a teacher there, and perhaps I could come here to teach you after the war is over."

"But the Lady..."

"We'll find a way."

Vivian looked at her feet. "What if the war is never over?"

"It will be. Someday."

"And if you die?"

"I'll speak to Dumbledore. I'm sure he'll find some way to help you if I can't."

"I want to go to school."

Remus thought about trying to explain the nature of the wizarding world when it came to lycanthropy, but she was too young to understand that particular lesson, and he couldn't stand to see her as unhappy as it would make her. Instead, he just repeated, "I'll speak to Dumbledore, Vivian. We'll work something out. I promise." She still looked miserable, so he pinched her nose. "Meanwhile, have a bit of fun here. You're safe, and you're with people who care about you. It's a good place."

She smiled. "It is. But can't you make Evvie stop practicing how to write 'Evelyn Alderman'? It's annoying."

"She'll get over it," Remus said, grinning back at Vivian. He stood, gave her a quick hug goodbye, and Apparated to the other side of the gap. She waved to him cheerfully and headed back up the mountain.

When he got back to Hogsmeade, Dora was in the Shrieking Shack, rummaging in a cupboard for something. She came out, her hair full of cobwebs, when she heard him Apparate in.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Fine." He leaned on the door frame between the entrance hall and the parlor. "You wrote to Vivian."

"I thought she'd want to know that she's wanted."

"You told her she would go to school."

"I'm going to do whatever I can to get them into school. We didn't do all that a couple of months ago so they could live as prisoners on Valeska's mountain."

"They're actually fairly happy there."

"She wrote back. She wants to go to school."

"Dora," he said, "there are things we want that being a werewolf makes it impossible for us to have. There are laws. You shouldn't have raised her hopes. She's not going to have a normal life."

To his surprise, she said, "Sorry. I wasn't thinking. All I thought was that she's a bright girl, and Hufflepuff would be lucky to have her." She bit her lip. "Is she all right?"

"She'll be fine. It's a hard lesson, but sooner or later, we all run across it."

Dora nodded, then ground her teeth and shook her head roughly. "No, Remus."

"No?"

"No. Don't you dare start her in on this. I won't let you."

"All right. I tell her that she can go to school. And that the earth is flat, the moon is made of cheese, and someday she'll have a family the size of Molly Weasley's and a face as beautiful as Fleur Delacour's."

Dora started to say something, thought better of it, started something else, then shook her head and went back into the cupboard, moving things around on the top shelf.

Remus realized he'd gone too far. "Dora, I--"

"Do you remember where we put that old cauldron?" she asked. "I meant to brew an Invigorating Infusion for Mad-Eye tonight, since he's watching alone--I have a shift for work, and I'd guess you're too tired..."

Remus went to the cellar to get the cauldron, and by the time he got back, she was acting perfectly cheerful, sorting out her potion ingredients on the kitchen table. Her hair had gone completely lank and there were dark circles under her eyes.

He didn't fight it this time. He put his arms around her and held her. She stiffened in his embrace at first, then melted against him.

"That really was a mistake, wasn't it? Vivian could really get hurt."

Remus led her to a chair and sat her down. "If being too hopeful is the biggest mistake you make talking to a child," he said, brushing her hair out of her eyes and tucking it behind her ears, "you can count yourself as the luckiest adult who ever lived." He sat down across from her, not paying much attention to the the chair and ending up catching only the corner of it. It dug painfully into his backside.

"I'm trying, Remus," Dora said. "I'm really trying."

"Trying to do what?"

"To make things as right as I can."

"You don't have to do a thing," Remus said. "You--" He was cut off as he leaned forward and the chair, already precariously balanced under his uneven weight, tipped to one side and slid under the table. He braced himself for hitting the floor the morning after transformation, but Dora caught him with a wave of her wand then reached over and helped to steady him.

She retrieved the chair, her eyes twinkling just the tiniest bit. "So," she said, "I'm making a great deal of fuss over lycanthrophy and you're doing pratfalls. That's refreshing."

Remus laughed and sat down, careful to use the whole surface of the chair this time. He looked at the potions ingredients. "Is there anything I can help with?"

She gave him a look of exaggerated horror and put her arms protectively over the various roots and herbs. "I've seen you attempt potions, Remus. As I don't think Mad-Eye would appreciate sprouting wings and croaking like frog, I'll thank you to just point it out to him when he gets here."

Remus smiled, sat back, and watched her work.
26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
liriop From: liriop Date: October 12th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I've really been liking all the way Remus and Tonks' relationship is developing. Tonks is seeing him in a new light, isn't she? Gradually changing her concepts and trying to see things from his POV. And isn't it what love is about?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
If only he would extend the same courtesy!

But then, it's almost over.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 12th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Dear Remus,

I get it - I get it. You have one dangerous day per month. Clearly that makes the idea of a future with the woman you love impossible. Look at it this way, though: at least you're not double her age, still technically married to someone else, the parent of a fifteen-year-old, and - oh yes - the same gender as she is. Not that that would be a problem to anyone other than possibly her parents, of course. I'll give you the but-I-used-to-be-her-teacher thing, but in either case that really is past-tense. Used to be her teacher. Get over yourself, Remus Lupin. Things could be a lot more difficult for you, evil Dark Wizards notwithstanding.

...er, not that I have been relating to this story on any deep, personal level this year or anything of the sort. Oh, no.

In conclusion, Remus - things will work out. JKR said so.

Respectfully,
*Leith
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... Remus needs to be slapped around the head with a fish. Badly. But I'll have to settle just shaking some sense into him. :)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 12th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know. We could probably work out some arrangement whereby I provide the fish... :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 12th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why a fish? Give me a dictionary.
keestone From: keestone Date: October 13th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Because if you use a fish, you can hum Monty Python's Finland song while slapping away. ;)

(I love the smell of surrealism in the morning.)
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 12th, 2006 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Tonks is trying so hard now, that Remus really has to give a bit, even though he was right about Vivian. I can see Tonks fighting hard for werewolf education rights, especially after the war.

I have finally got round to getting a live journal so may I put you on my friends' list?

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Of course! Welcome to the timesink.

And yes, I can see all of Remus's friends using whatever influence they gain during the war to fight all of the werewolf laws. Even if Remus doesn't make it through, I could see that.
dalf From: dalf Date: October 12th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)
what are you going to write when shades is over?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, other than a brief Merope story for hp_tarot (I almost forgot I'd signed up for it!), I'm going to do something original. It's a near-future fantasy.
dalf From: dalf Date: October 13th, 2006 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Good! I was hopeing for original fiction :)

I have a near future sci-fi story I have been wantign to write for a few years but my writing abiity it not really up to it. I have been thingking about wrting a bunch of character profiles and shorts with the characters I want to use as a way to both learn better writing and flesh out the story. But I don't know if I will ever follow through all the way.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 13th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe you should try NaNoWriMo. Spend a month writing and see how much better you get in 30 days.


http://www.nanowrimo.org
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 13th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, this will be my third year trying it. No success thus far, as I tend to psych myself out, but that's why I'm pushing to finish Shades before November.
From: tonkstipied Date: October 12th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Brilliant!

This is my second best birthday present today (the best was a head massage yesterday night)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Brilliant!

Oh. Head massage. Yummy.

Happy birthday!
sreya From: sreya Date: October 12th, 2006 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Fleur was with Valeska when he arrived, and was delighted with Bill's flowers, which were apparently something of a surprise. Remus wished it was so simple to make Dora happy, to paint lovely images of a life together.

*beating head against the wall* Remus, it's exactly so simple to make Dora happy. Idiot.

Er... yeah. Great segment. Just... yeah. *grins sheepishly*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 12th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
*beating head against the wall*

Hopefully, that's Remus's head. Grrr.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 12th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Muggle Solution to Magical Problem?

Since one of the latest themes of this story is the acceptance of werewolf related problems rather than their dismissal, I have a suggestion for helping Evvie and any of the other girls.

Is anyone in the magical world (Ted, maybe?) aware of the Muggle medical technology of surrogate motherhood? I'm not saying that it's without its problems or complications, but will it occur to anyone, ever, that werewolf women COULD have their own children if they got someone else to carry them to term?

Your installments are always a pleasure.

Sara Libby
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 12th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
"But can't you make Evvie stop practicing how to write 'Evelyn Alderman'? It's annoying."

Ha! That's so cute!
sannalim From: sannalim Date: October 12th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is actually related to what happened a couple chapters ago, but I just thought of it now:

Would the Garveys, et cetera, have heard of the attack by the werewolf women at all, or would it have been suppressed efficiently enough by the Ministry teams for it not to make news? I was just wondering what they would be thinking if they'd heard that Raymond Lewis had been caught in an attack by crazy people.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: October 12th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
You think Mad-Eye is going to drink anything that was brewed by anyone but himself?
*is eagerly awaiting that scene*
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 12th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey that's what I was wondering. Wow Mad-eye trusting enough to drink a potion brewed by someone else? I wondered if he had asked Tonks to brew it...to give her something to do? Or if Tonks is just being thoughtful? Or could it be that Moody's attitude has been exaggerated or does he just trust Tonks that much?

I can't wait either.

Katsulas
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 13th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, good point! I'll address that. He might drink something Tonks brewed... if he saw her brew it. But randomly drinking something that's been brewing on a counter?

Nope. Not a chance.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 13th, 2006 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
"No. Don't you dare start her in on this. I won't let you."

...I was very impressed with this line. It didn't really occur to me that they might develop his attitude towards it. He is pretty much a role model for them, and while I knew they might start to model themselves after him in small ways it never occured to me that they might pick up THAT. I was only thinking of all the beneficial stuff they could get from watching Remus. Hrmm.
aebhel From: aebhel Date: October 13th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another great installment...

I really do love Remus. It's so sad that he spends so much time working himself into a knot over Tonks, and still manages to miss the most obvious things in the world.
26 comments or Leave a comment