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Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 40: Interlude (10): In the Cold, pt. 3
Thanks to dreamer_marie and Katsulas for reminding me of a salient fact of Mad-Eye's character!

Remus is back from the late-May transformation, and he and Tonks have argued about her maybe raising Vivian's hopes too high. Tonks has been trying hard to be understanding and is tired; Remus has no idea what's going on with her. She brews a potion to help Mad-Eye stay awake on his shift.

I couldn't resist one more dream sequence.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Mad-Eye took one look at the Invigorating Infusion, pulled a flask from his belt, and drank his own. "Might take it from Tonks herself, mind you," he said. "If I saw her brew it, from the ingredients up."

"I saw it."

"Might be, Lupin, but when it comes to potions, you don't know a mandrake from a marmoset."

"Please, don't tell me there's a potion that requires a marmoset." Remus shook his head. "I'm not that bad, anyway. I did pass my O.W.L. Acceptable."

"With how much help from Lily?"

"Only a bit of tutoring."

"Right."

Remus rolled his eyes and opened the trapdoor that led to the school tunnel. He watched Mad-Eye until he disappeared. He supposed Dora should have known better.

It was an evening that never seemed to end--the sun set very slowly, giving way to the waning moon only with deep reluctance. Remus shuffled around the Shrieking Shack, starting and dropping projects, going through his desk with no particular object in mind, flipping through books without settling on one. There was no reason he could place for his restlessness. The argument with Dora had ended reasonably, Mad-Eye was off guarding the school, and there was no imminent danger to be seen. But something wavered at the edge of his consciousness, a sense of walking close to the edge of a cliff, and when he went to sleep, he was not at all surprised to find himself walking along the cliffs at Harrington-on-Sea with Dumbledore.

He saw himself rather than seeing through his own eyes, and he was a small, skinny child, wearing pajamas with friendly-looking cartoon dogs leaping around on them.

"We're nearly there," Dumbledore said, and pointed with his withered hand at Father Montgomery's forest church, which was now balanced half-on and half-off the sea cliff. The door was open. "You go on ahead," Dumbledore said. "I'll be along shortly. You'll be late."

Remus ran ahead eagerly. He wasn't sure why at first, what he was going to be late for, but then his pajamas changed into a little kilt and a bright white shirt, and he knew it was First Communion. He'd never actually had one, as he'd been bitten a year before he would have taken it, and his parents had been somewhat less than enthusiastic about trying to explain the curse he had while extolling the virtues of an omnipotent God. That part of his life had simply evaporated, and he hadn't especially missed it... but here he was, anyway, apparently perfectly delighted.

His small self bounded up the stairs to the church. Father Montgomery was standing at the altar, which was actually a lecturn from one of the Hogwarts classrooms. His little nephew was serving as an altar boy, and the forest warden Greyback had fed to Remus in the autumn was leading the choir. She gave him a little wave.

Remus recoiled, and realized he was actually in two places. He was the small boy he could see inside, and he was also standing outside a plain glass window, looking in. He was dimly aware that Dora was standing quietly beside him.

Inside the church, Lily and James Potter were sitting near the end of pew, and Lily ruffled his small self's hair affectionately as he passed her. Sirius, fifteen years old and sitting in the pew ahead of them, rolled his eyes at the whole thing and proceeded to start making faces. His brother Regulus kept hissing at him to be respectful. Remus's parents were sitting in a corner near the baptismal font. He couldn't see them clearly. He caught a motion by the window and saw Peter Pettigrew, at age eleven, slipping into a pew near the far window. From his outside perspective, he glanced up, looked out the window, and saw Peter with a Death Eater's mask in his hand, also looking in from outside, though, from what he'd seen on the way, that would mean that Peter was casually hovering a hundred feet above the ocean. For a moment, their eyes met, then the older version of Peter turned his face away and glided away. The younger one tossed some sweets to little Remus, who caught them and put them into a little leather bag he was carrying.

He knelt at the rail, and there were suddenly two people beside him, one on each side. Old Mag nudged him and said, "Thought you weren't going to make it." On his other side, Emmeline Vance wore a spectacular emerald cloak. She leaned down to him to ask if he'd confessed yet.

"Are you ready?" Father Montgomery asked.

"Professor Dumbledore is still coming," little Remus said. "He's on the way. And perhaps Harry. And Dora."

"I'm right here."

The Remus beyond the window looked over his shoulder to see Dora. She looked sad and confused.

"I'll go if you want me there, though," she said, and he was filled with deep horror.

"No!"

"But I'm already late. Dumbledore is going in now."

She started around to the front of the church, and Remus followed, not sure why he was so determined to stop her--nothing horrible was happening inside--but determined nonetheless. As they came around the corner (the church seemed to have grown to the size of a cathedral as they ran), they saw Dumbledore standing beside the open door. He looked at them and smiled. "Go back along the cliffs," he said. "Harry's coming. You can join him on the way."

With that, he turned and went inside. The door closed behind him, and disappeared. Beyond where it had been, Remus could hear singing and laughter. Here, on the outside, the world was cold and windy and drab.

Dora took his hand, and there was warmth and comfort there. They turned together to look down the coast, where a small, thin figure was approaching, the sunlight flashing on his glasses and the wind tossing his black hair. His wand was drawn.

Remus and Dora looked at one another, and started down the cliff's edge to join him. Remus spared one last glance over his shoulder, but the coastline was empty now except for seabirds.

The walk seemed to go on forever, and they hadn't yet reached Harry when Remus awakened in the Shrieking Shack to the sound of the trapdoor coming up, Mad-Eye returning from his watch. Remus listened to him rummaging for breakfast for a bit, then resigned himself to getting out of bed. Mad-Eye wasn't particularly conversational after a long night of guard duty, but he did grouch that Dumbledore was sending him off to east Africa for a week or two. "He's obsessed with where Riddle went. Apparently, he studied with some local troublemaker that they've got in a prison off the coast of Kenya."

"Oh. Well, have a good trip."

Mad-Eye looked at him as if he'd been thrown an Unforgivable rather than offering a standard departing grace, then left.

Dumbledore came and went frequently over the next few days, and Remus became used to the routine of going back and forth to the school. One morning after he and Dora had spent the night patrolling the corridors, they came back to find Dumbledore himself in the kitchen at the Shrieking Shack, a large pile of Muggle and magical maps and charts spread out in front of him. He shuffled them restlessly, in several magically maintained layers, seeming to compare them to one another.

"Something we can help you with?" Dora asked, sitting down. "I'm not on duty until noon."

"You've been up all night," Dumbledore said gently. "And I'll need you both awake to watch tonight--nearly everyone else is away. Try to get a few hours of sleep. I am quite capable of doing my research alone."

"You're sure?"

"Quite."

Dora, who had worked overtime the previous day before spending the night at Hogwarts, looked relieved. She casually rubbed Dumbledore's shoulder and said, "I'll see you later, then."

Dumbledore smiled. "I'm glad you're with us, Nymphadora."

Dora tripped over a stone on her way out, and Remus watched her go down the road.

"I don't have to be anywhere particularly until you leave," he said. "I could help if you need it. What are you looking for?"

"A way in," Dumbledore said. He frowned down at the maps, which Remus recogized as the southeast coastline.

"In? You don't just mean inland."

"No. I mean inside."

"There are old mines all over."

"They don't connect. There has to be another way in."

Remus sat down beside him. "In theory, you could Apparate, though if there's no connection to the outer world, the air might not be breathable. If you think it's an open space, of course. Or are you looking for something buried?"

"An open space," Dumbledore confirmed absently. "And I believe there is a method that doesn't rely on Apparition." He stopped and looked at the maps again, then closed his eyes, seeming to concentrate on something he could see in his mind. "Unless..." Abruptly, the maps began to fold and roll themselves up. "It was all connected once. Marshes, tundra. It wasn't always the sea, and what was once there still may be. But the approach..." He shook his head and didn't elaborate. "Get rest, Remus. You'll be needed tonight."

"Are you sure I can't help you now?"

"You'll help me most by being fully alert tonight." He stood up and waved his wand at the maps, which disappeared with a pop. He stood to go, but paused at the door. "If my suspicions are correct Remus--and I believe they are, but it will have to wait another day to be sure--then we may be entering dark times. But we may be close to the end. You've grown into one of the strongest men I know, when you don't get in your own way. I'll need you. Harry will need you. But you need to stop hobbling yourself. And do pass precisely the same message to Nymphadora." With that, he went out into the morning sunlight and Apparated from the road outside the Shrieking Shack.

It was the last time Remus saw him alive.
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Comments
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: October 13th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your dream foreshadowing, with the dead people and the "dead" past-people, kills me. Wow. (Though I must ask if your Remus is meant to have a touch of the Sight?)

I'm fighting with myself over what I think about the last line. Half of me thinks you don't need it, that it's too forward-looking after all the dream-shadowing. And yet I see why you included it....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 13th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Though I must ask if your Remus is meant to have a touch of the Sight?)

My personal belief is that everyone has it to a certain extent, and that it's mostly an ability to pick up on repeated patterns more than actually see the future. Dumbledore's doing all sorts of mysterious things and giving odd smiles and not discussing the future in any concrete terms--I suspect Remus can process most of that and subconsciously tell himself what he fears.

I'm debating cutting the last line as well.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: October 13th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
My personal belief is that everyone has it to a certain extent, and that it's mostly an ability to pick up on repeated patterns more than actually see the future.

Awesome. That's basically my view, too--I was just curious because of this particular world. :-)
dalf From: dalf Date: October 14th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
The last line does hae a very diffrent ... ummm .... mood(?) than the rest of the section. But, I kinda like it. No mood is not right I guess the comment of it being "more forward looking", but it also gives a lot more power to Dumbledores parting words, and in the context of the HBP scene in the hospital wing I think it works well.
kittenblah From: kittenblah Date: October 14th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I quite like the last line. It seems to pick up the pace a bit, almost like the moment of silence before a war-cry to start a battle.

However, keeping it depends entirely upon the next section, and whether it's still plot driven, or we get some action. Either way is good, but the line might feel a bit jarring if we arent anticipating a more riotous build-up from now on.

Just my two cents, anyways. Also, do love Shades. and Shifts. And all your writing, to be honest.
onionsarelife From: onionsarelife Date: November 28th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hello! I am someone who was reading on the sugarquill and then by luck found this and had not planned to comment until i was finished reading this (and I almost am! :) ) but i wanted to put in an opinion for your last line about it being the last time Remus saw Dumbledore alive.

Personally, I do see how it isn't exactly needed but it makes sense in Remus' perspective. I say this because having lost people close to me, you ALWAYS think about the last time you saw them. or at least, I do. It always holds some sort of significance for the person whether that was intended or not..... so i vote for keeping it! :D

I absolutely love your writing--and I read Shifts and loved it but i'm a bad person who doesn't comment very often! I enjoy just your normal babbles as well so i friended you--hopefully you don't mind. Don't worry, I'm not a lunatic....i think.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 13th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do like your dream sequences; many times I've read them in fics and it's either completely garbled or very obvious. This was like reading through a recording of my own dreams; I could see everything.

Also, I sort of agree with the above comment; I think the last line, while important, would benefit from being rephrased. It gives me the impression of a dramatic drumroll and collective gasp - I've seen that precise wording before, so it seems... well, overused. Am I making any sense? I think it's important to say it, but not with these words.

And last - how typical of Moody. Gah...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 13th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm definitely retooling the very end.

I like dream sequences the same way I like Dali paintings, I think--each element alone makes some kind of sense, but altogether, the sense isn't really anything that can be verbalized.

Of course, the dreams I write are way more coherent than my real dreams. No one is climbing Mount Everest to shop at a little curio shop at the summit that sells wooden frogs as a cover for something dastardly that required federal agents to try and sieze my grandmother's dog (who has been dead for many years, but was quite spritely as my cat defended him).
dalf From: dalf Date: October 14th, 2006 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
If you get rid of the last line then you should have Remus specificlally reacall the Dumbledores "good bye" words just before DOra has her breakdown in the Hospital wing.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: October 13th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
For a moment, their eyes met, then the older version of Peter turned his face away and glided away.
I'd leave out the first "away," I think, or change it to "aside."

Mad-Eye looked at him as if he'd been thrown an Unforgivable rather than offering a standard departing grace, then left.
Either change to "he'd thrown an Unforgivable" or "than offered a standard."

Oh, wow, I was just thinking it sounded like a goodbye speech from Dumbledore, and then you threw in that last line. Yikes! I can hardly believe it's almost over. I'm looking forward to seeing the aftermath of the battle from the eyes of Remus and Tonks. What a treat to get an update midday!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Good catches on the wordings. Crossed-eyes by then. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Shades will end roughly with the canon; I haven't chosen the last scene, though it may be a few days later (like "Cathedral" from the rt_challenge). It won't go too far, though.
alkari From: alkari Date: October 13th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agree about the last line. I think this is something Remus will reflect on after DD's death, when DD's words about being strong, and he and Harry needing Remus and Dora, will surface vividly. It is a natural reaction after someone's unexpected death - you think over and over the last time you saw that person and what the two of you said.

Maybe instead, you could have Remus pick up on the line where DD says "But we may be close to the end." Can Remus in some way wonder or fear what "the end" is going to be, especially after seeing dead people in his dream?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm not sure how to tweak it, but that's something to play with. I ended it that way because I was tired of writing for the afternoon, which is never a good reason to pick a sentence. I'll work on it for the Quill draft.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: October 13th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can I demur and say that I thought the last line was bluntly effective --it brings the reader up short after the more nebulous earlier part of the section and sends a clear message "we're into the final stretch now".

Mind you, my eyes tend to glaze over with dream sequences of any kind unless they have direct plot (as opposed to character) relevance, which is unusual. :)
redlily From: redlily Date: October 14th, 2006 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
ITA (about the line, not the dream sequence -- I love dream sequences). I get very wobbly about how this story lines up with canon timewise, but that line put me very firmly into "the last bit."
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 14th, 2006 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
ITA with all points made in this comment.

Personally, I loved the last line. Set me all a-shiver. :)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 13th, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remus in a kilt.

Remus in a Kilt.

Remus is wearing a KILT.

Too kewl. Just too kewl.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: October 14th, 2006 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It was the last time Remus saw him alive.

Oh man. :-(
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 14th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I quite liked the last line too. It reminded me we were really there at the attack on Hogwarts scene. However, it probably has been used before so maybe you will want to take it out. The clues about were we are in HBP are there, with all the emphasis on patrolling Hogwarts but that line really brought home the fact that this was "it".

Remus in a kilt??? Do you think he's Scottish? He's always seemed extremely English to me, but I suppose we don't really know.

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus in a kilt??? Do you think he's Scottish?

:blushes: I wanted to avoid those bright white suits that little boys wear while the little girls wear their first communion dresses--all in white is just a little too much on the "symbolic of heaven" theme. So I went and looked for traditions, and the only one I could find from the British Isles anywhere was a kilt in Scotland, so I promptly imagined a Scottish grandmother for him, whose church they attended. ;p But I do think of him as English. Countryside, not city, though. Probably outside a village not too different from the one I made up by Greyback's forest, which was based on pics I looked at from the Forest of Dean.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 14th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Well there aren't that many catholics in rural England (not impossible, there was a catholic church not far from where I grew up), though there will be more in areas not too far from Bristol or Liverpool. Most Englsih catholics are of Irish descent, hence the higher numbers around western ports. I have no idea what an English catholic boy would wear for communion! I do know that English boys in the '60s didn't wear kilts unless their parents were both very beligerently Scottish and cruel. My Grandmother came into both categories and even she never got any of her sons or grandsons into kilts!

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I imagine that magical families would be a bit more mobile than Muggle ones, and, given Archie at the QWC, I'd guess that people who normally wear robes probably wouldn't have the whole "Ew, a skirt!" thing going on. Particularly a six-year-old version of Remus "I want to please everyone!" Lupin. ;p
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 14th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Don't want to sound picky, I'm really just curious about how you are thinking. I can see that wizards wouldn't have the issue about clothes but this is a muggle situation and muggle clothing. So if you're going with muggle clothing, why go with something that would be considered down-right weird by the muggles that he's suppose to be mixing with. I agree that distances are not the same for wizards, but it is the reaction of the other children at the confirmation that is going to be noticed here, not the Scotish ancestors. I would have felt that his parents wouldn't want anything about Remus to stand out from the muggle children at church, even without Greyback's bite. However, it's your story and your characters so you can have him dress however you like. The story's wonderful whatever, and I really don't have any strong opinions about what the dream-child-Remus wore to the confirmation he never had. Like I said, just sort of curious!

TDU

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 11:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Since the First Communion never happened, I don't know if his parents would have gone for it in the end. Then I take it Wiki is wrong, and it's not in fact traditional for kiddos to wear kilts at First Communion in Scotland? Oh, well. Wouldn't be the first time. But the kilt stays on little dream Remus, because he needs a visual symbol to show that he's headed to a special occasion. I'll work it into something in the earlier interactions with Montgomery that his grandmother had showed it to him and it had belonged to his great-uncle or great-grandfather or something.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 14th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I misunderstood the wizards and distance part (shouldn't post after a couple of glasses of wine). I thought that the kilt was a nod to his Scotish ancestry but the communion was near the Forest of Dean. I'm sure that he wouldn't be the only boy in a kilt in Scotland. In England, it would have looked odd and I couldn't see the Lupins wanting him to look different to the other children in anyway (not wanting his being magical to stand out). It still made me do a double take when I first read it.

TDU
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 14th, 2006 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
LOVE the last line. I mean, in some ways it's not absolutely necessary and it has been done before, but here it really does fit I think. Very dramatic, and very good parting words. Kudos.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: October 14th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Haven't had any serious prickles of premonition since towards the end of Shifts. And this one is even more elegant than those before.

Love it, in that impending-doom sort of way.
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: October 14th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
The last line really hit me hard...a blunt reminder of what's to come. I like it.

I really like the dream sequence too. It seems peaceful, the inside of the church, but very ominous at the same time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 14th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
It seems peaceful, the inside of the church, but very ominous at the same time.

That's what I was going for. It's a good place for the people who are there... but you don't necessarily want to rush in.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 14th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Creeeeepy.

I love the dream sequences. I'm always trying to figure out what every little detail means.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 14th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was the last time Remus saw him alive.

I know others have picked up on this phrase already, but it's just so chilling. And sad. We're really nearing the end now, aren't we? *sniff*
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: October 14th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was the last time Remus saw him alive.
Poor Dumbledore. He really had the most awful death you can imagine. I'm glad he was able to tell Remus some good words before he left.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 14th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your welcome Fern glad to help. It seems the best kind of payment for all you great works.

Found a possible grammatical error in quote below... Should it be...Potter were sitting near the end of a pew? Or the pew?
Inside the church, Lily and James Potter were sitting near the end of pew, and Lily ruffled his small self's hair affectionately as he passed her.

I am sure I don't want the story to end. I know you have been working hard to get us here but the last sentence made me realize how close we are. I trust you to decide depending on how you choose to proceed weather or not to leave it in. I know you will make it work depending on the next chapter.

Thanks as always,

Katsulas
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 15th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Me again, but not rabbiting on about kilts. I liked the last line but quite a few readers found it a bit cliched. I think that if you decide not to use it that something else should go there in its stead. I liked it because it pushed the message home that this was the last time Remus saw the man who had had such an influence on his life. I knew that Dumbledore's death was coming up sometime but I was in this state of suspended disbelief that sometime wasn't now. That line made it real to me NOW! Therefore, I think you need something.
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