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Shades, Chapter 41: Unlocked, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 41: Unlocked, pt. 1
Winding up to the end now.

Dumbledore has been trying to figure out where the entrance to the cave was, and when Remus and Tonks came back from guarding the school, he had maps and charts out. He sends Tonks home to rest before her Auror shift, because he will need her later. As he's talking to Remus, he seems to put something together, and tells Remus to get rest and be alert because, if his suspicions are correct, the end may be coming. He gives Remus a little pep talk, then leaves.

Sequence of action from JKR.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Tonks nearly overslept the beginning of her shift, and was rushing to her briefing when she ran into Dumbledore downstairs at the Hog's Head. All he said to her was, "Be ready." He was gone when she came back to take a dinner break, though Aberforth had a note for her telling her to have at least three people at the school after her shift--McGonagall and Flitwick would be patrolling along with them.

"Got something else," Aberforth said, leaning down under the bar. "Albus found this in a camera at Headquarters; thought you might like to have it." He handed her a flat package.

She took it curiously and pulled off the bright pink wrapping paper. It was a framed photograph. Sirius must have taken it the previous year. She and Remus were at the kitchen table at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, pointing pretzel sticks at one another and laughing. She couldn't hear anything from the photo, but she knew they'd been having a mock battle, using pretzels for wands, which had ended up with laughter and a kiss after nibbling their way to each other. Her hair had been pink and puffed up over a bright green scarf. She smiled. "Thanks, Aberforth."

"Reckon he's always been fond of your family."

"Yeah, I hear Aunt Bella and Auntie Walburga were special favorites."

"A few bad pints don't spoil a barrel," Aberforth said philosophically, though the Hog's Head was possibly not the best illustration of the idea. Tonks took the photograph up to her room, then finished out her shift. At eight o'clock, she met Bill Weasley and Remus at the Shrieking Shack, and they made their way to the school. The sun was still up, and Remus was still technically forbidden to be on the grounds, so he got Moody's Invisibility Cloak. Tonks and Bill just tried to look casual for anyone who happened to be looking out the window. No one stopped them.

McGonagall and Flitwick met them in the staff room. "Professor Dumbledore seemed unusually concerned when he left," McGonagall said. "He suggested we patrol in a group tonight. The students should be in their dormitories by now, or in the library--examinations are coming soon--so we should be able to avoid them easily."

"Do you have any idea what this is all about?" Bill asked.

"No." McGonagall frowned sternly. "Whatever it is, Professor Dumbledore felt it necessary to bring Mr. Potter with him."

"He took Harry with him?" Remus repeated. "I suppose if he were expecting danger..." He shook his head. "Then again, he may think there's a lesson Harry will need to learn, even if there is danger."

"That would be my surmise."

"Is Snape joining us?" Tonks asked.

Flitwick laughed. "No. He's quite buried in homework at the moment."

"His students still just love him, don't they?" Bill asked.

McGonagall arched an eyebrow. "The feeling, Mr. Weasley, is as mutual as it ever was."

Tonks smiled, and led the group out into the corridor. This was habit by now, routine, the only difference being the group around her. She slowed if she heard students in an adjoining corridor, waited for them to pass by, went on. It would only be a few hours this time, and Remus had said it looked like Dumbledore was looking for an answer to something, and hopefully, he would share it with the rest of the Order tomorrow. Nothing seemed to be happening; Tonks wished Dumbledore had been a bit more specific about why he wanted extra protection tonight, though she supposed it was possible that even he didn't know. He may have simply thought it prudent.

Curfew passed, and the last students stopped passing through the halls, leaving the group free to talk more freely. Remus used the opportunity to catch up on several of the children he'd taught who didn't happen to be in the Order. Most of the names, Tonks didn't know, though she was surprised to hear him ask specifically after the Parkinson girl who went about with Draco, who had apparently been a frequent visitor to Remus's office.

Shortly before eleven, they were passing the entrance to Gryffindor Tower, and saw the portrait swing shut. A rustling in the shadows caught McGonagall's attention, and she held up one hand and slipped off on her own. She returned a moment later, looking troubled.

"It's Granger, two Weasleys, and Longbottom," she said.

"Are you going to send them back?" Flitwick asked.

McGonagall pursed her lips. "No. I suspect they're acting on Harry's orders. And they've proven more than once that they can handle themselves." She sniffed. "I suppose Harry's not the only one learning something about fighting the real war these days."

The moved on, making a circuit of two floors, coming up again outside of Ravenclaw Tower. Tonks and Bill had left the teachers to their conversation and started one of their own, about the people they'd known in school and where they'd ended up. Bill sighed and looked around as they finished climbing the stairs. "Didn't Dumbledore say it would only be a few hours?"

"I'm sure he'll be back soo--"

He was cut off by the sudden, thundering echo of footsteps, running blindly, not far away.

"What the..."

Tonks ran ahead, feeling Remus beside her more than seeing him. Suddenly, he pulled her back and stepped in front of her, only to be nearly bowled over by a tall, thin redheaded boy.


"'s Malfoy!" Ron panted. "Darkness... powder... I..."

"Malfoy used Darkness powder," Ginny said, sliding up to him, looking over her shoulder, horrified. Neville Longbottom shot out of the corridor last, his eyes wide.

"Darkness powder?" Tonks repeated. "Ron, what are you talking about?"

Ron caught his breath. "We were watching Malfoy. Harry told us to. He came out, but we lost him. He threw... Peruvian Darkness Powder." His nose wrinkled in revulsion. "He must have bought it from Fred and George!"

"Oh, bloody brilliant!" Bill spat.

"He's not alone," Neville said.

McGonagall's eyes widened. "What?"

Ginny nodded. "He's not alone. We heard lots of others. We couldn't see them. We don't know where they went."

"They didn't come this way," Tonks said. "Where do you think they're headed?"

"The Chamber of Secrets?" Ginny suggested.

"Not without a Parselmouth," Ron said. "And I doubt You-Know-Who would show up with just Malfoy to get him inside."

"Harry and Dumbledore are both gone," Remus said. "What are they after?"

But the mystery didn't last long. From a parallel corridor, Tonks heard shouting and crashing.

"It's that way, dammit!" someone yelled.

"What are you looking for?" a high, clear voice called back.

"The high tower!"

And then, a low, growling voice: "Get us there, boy!"

Remus paled. "It's Greyback," he said. "Fenrir Greyback is in the school."

"The Astronomy Tower," McGonagall said. "We can go down a level and come back up on the other side of the darkness powder."

"We'd best do it quickly," Remus said, and ran back down the stairs ahead of the rest. Bill followed.

"We should send the students back," Flitwick said.

"We took Felix Felicis," Ginny said. "We can make it."

McGonagall looked like someone was doing a Cruciatus Curse on her mind. "We'll need every hand," she said. "And I don't have time to argue. Stay behind us and don't take unnecessary risks." She looked at Flitwick. "Filius, get Severus Snape. And any other adult you can find. When they get to us, Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Longbottom, you will return to Gryffindor Tower."

The students nodded, and they all ran after Remus and Bill, who had come to a stop at the base of the stairs on the far side of the sixth floor corridor and were waiting impatiently. Above, they could hear someone battering at a locked door. As they all started moving upward, they heard it crash in.

They flung themselves into the fray.

Tonks had time to see a Death Eater rush up the stairs, and then she was face to face with a lumpy little man who was throwing, of all things, a Jelly Legs Jinx at her. She pushed him away with a Banishing Charm and saw her cousin Draco standing at the base of the Astronomy Tower stairs. His face was pale, his eyes panicked.

"You watch yourself!" she heard Greyback growl, and turned to see a huge blond Death Eater--someone she didn't even recognize from internal suspect lists--throwing curses so carelessly that he'd managed to shatter the stones in the floor itself. As Tonks watched, he raised his wand at Remus and yelled, "Avada Kedavra!"

Tonks screamed as Remus jumped up and away from the Death Curse and rolled safely to the other side of the corridor. The Death Eater who'd run up to the Tower chose the worst possible time to return, rolling off the staircase, wand drawn--directly into the functional curse. He lay still. Draco, breathing rapidly, looked at the body, then directly across at Tonks. It couldn't have been a long moment--nothing stopped--but in it, she saw what Dumbledore had seen, saw why he hadn't wanted to push the investigation, why he'd treated Draco with mercy and kindness.

"Draco..." she said.

Then it ended as Fenrir Greyback leapt over to him and shoved him toward the stair. "Go, boy," he said, then looked across at Tonks. "I know you, don't I? Lupin's little twist, aren't you? You took what was mine."

Remus ran after him, only to be stopped by the lumpy man, who caught him in an Impediment Jinx. Tonks raised her own wand, but was suddenly tossed aside like a rag doll. The huge Death Eater ran around her and threw rocks in her path, knocking her wand away from her before she knew what was happening. Bill Weasley dove at Greyback.

Greyback laughed. "Bet you don't think I know you. But I do. Saw you when you dropped in for a visit."

"Good!" Bill cried, leaping in, wand raised. "I'm glad you know, you sick bastard!"

Greyback jumped up from his coiled position, knocking Bill completely off balance, wrenching his wand hand up. His wand clattered away.

Then Greyback was on him.
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riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: October 15th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah~! Cliffhanger! No works!
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: October 15th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Words! I meant words.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 15th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
When did Remus take off the invisibility cloak?

Hurry up and update! This was the one time in the book that I wish JKR had switched POV. I wanted to see this battle.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
He probably just dropped it in the staff room--once he was inside, he didn't have to worry about being seen out the windows. But I'll clarify that.

I wanted to see the battle, too. Poor JKR is really in a tight place as she goes on and the war expands... the POV makes it work in a lot of cases, but in terms of actual exposition of events Harry couldn't be there for, it's a pain!
redlily From: redlily Date: October 15th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)

*chokes* I'm, like, hyperventilating over here. I'm very curious to see how you pitch this battle!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I've actually kind of looked forward to this one--the recapping scene in the novel kind of irritated me (though I recognize that it's just an unavoidable consequence of Harry's POV), and I wanted to get to the battle in live action.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 15th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
In a sick sort of way I was looking forward to this! I knew you'd write a brilliant description of the fight based on the retelling we got in the hospital wing in HBP. Very few fanfic writers actually manage to pull off the battle scenes, flashbacks are usually more successful, but of course you rose to the occassion! I thought you were going to have Greyback recognise Bill.

Trivia question: did the US version (I presume that's the edition you have) have Greyback changed to Grayback? I just presumed they did, I'm sure I've seen people use it, but I notice you don't here.

Now I've just got to hang on to the next installment. However gruesome it might be, I know I've got the hospital wing and "the discussion" to come. I know you've already written a discussion for a writing challenge. Don't tell me if you're using the same one as I want it to be a surprise!

"she was surprised to hear him ask specifically after the Parkinson girl who went about with Draco, who had apparently been a frequent visitor to Remus's office."

I can't remember the grammatical rules governing the use of who and it could be just where the end of the line break is, but, to me, that reads as if Draco was the regular visitor to Remus's office, whereas I presume it was actually Pansy.

Speaking of Draco, I loved the look between him and Tonks.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Trivia question: did the US version (I presume that's the edition you have) have Greyback changed to Grayback? I just presumed they did, I'm sure I've seen people use it, but I notice you don't here.

No, definitely "Greyback." (I have to be careful, as I've been reading the Warriors books, which feature a cat named "Graystripe," spelled with the "a," so I've gone back a couple of times to make sure I'm remembering right!)

That Pansy sentence does scan weird. I'll see what I can do with it.
liriop From: liriop Date: October 15th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, finally the battle. It's very good, an excellent pace.
There's a tiny typo, though:
The moved on, making a circuit of two floors. I suppose it's "They moved on,..."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that dropped "y" is going to get me yet. :)
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: October 15th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
You really aced the build-up to the battle. The tension was definitely rising...
*is biting nails*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 15th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
"Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley, and Mr. Longbottom, you will return to Gryffindor Tower"

I noticed she didn't send Hermione back in this sentence, just Ron, Ginny, and Neville. I don't know if this is on purpose or not.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Hermione and Luna are down watching Snape's office, though all of the adults have forgotten that Hermione left with the other three (and none of them knew that Luna joined her).
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 15th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
What's great about your stories is that they almost make you forget there *is* a canon, and it's incredibly suspenseful. I was actually scared for Bill's life for a second there! But I know he lives, thanks to stupid JKR, who ruined your ending for me! :-P

From: (Anonymous) Date: October 15th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and I forgot to ask--Wasn't Luna with Hermione, Neville, Ron and Ginny in the books? I haven't read it in a while, so I'm not quite sure where she was in relation to them...
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: October 15th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo, and that reminds me that we see Greyback picking Bill out of his teeth soon in the book. *shivers* It's nice to get a chance to see all this from the perspective of those still at Hogwarts. I think I'm going to have to go reread the last few chapters to make sure it's all fresh in my mind.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't want to be Greyback's dental hygenist. I mean, ick. But I guess someone has to keep the teeth filed.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: October 15th, 2006 09:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic pacing in this section: I know what's going to happen and how it ends and I'm still on the edge of my seat, here. Just one stunner at Draco... yet, I know you can't.

I hope Bill and Remus between them get to take down Greyback in the end. I think I loathe him more than any other character, Voldemort included.

I can't help thinking that if I were a Hogwarts teacher and I got to a day when (a) it was nearly the end of the year, (b) Dumbledore was mysteriously out of the castle (c) Harry was doing something odd and the rest of the hextet were skulking around...well, I'd be seriously on edge and ready for anything, really. It's practically a checklist!
(Deleted comment)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 15th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eep, Bill!

I'm so excited to see how you wrap this all up. Wonderful writing.

- Whitney
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: October 15th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how you continue to make this suspenseful, even though we know how it ends. Can't wait for more.

The line about how Tonks thought Dumbledore would share his findings with the Order "tomorrow" really got to me. Tonks's realization when she looks at Draco was also well done.
matril From: matril Date: October 15th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow - reading the beginning parts, before the characters know what's about to happen, while we as the readers already know...it was just killing me, waiting for the inevitable clash when the Death Eaters appear. What a great big pile of tension! I'm going to need to stop hyperventilating now...
From: lianna_blanca Date: October 15th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Talk about "winding up" - those first few paragraphs went really fast. I thought I was running a race!

A few technical errors:

Most of the names, Tonks didn't know,
- There really shouldn't be a comma after "names"

they were passing the entrance to Gryffindor Tower, and saw the portrait swing shut.
- Stylistic, I suppose, but I think this comma should be cut.

And just checking -
"It's Granger, two Weasleys, and Longbottom," she said.
No Luna? Or am I forgetting something?

Anyway, GREAT chapter. I'm teetering on the edge of my seat - yes, even though we know what's going to happen. Gah... poor Bill
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 15th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
No Luna? Or am I forgetting something?

She's a Ravenclaw--she'd have come out of her own tower!
dalf From: dalf Date: October 16th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
You have the flow of the battel a bit off. Bill was mauled out of sight of Draco but well before Draco burst up the stais of the tower. He said something like "one of your people is dead I stepped over them", we later find out this was bill who was not dead but only savaged.

I think from readong accounts of the battel though they come in fragments and are not all in order in HBP that the battel started and raged for some time before they made it to the tower. The death eathers appear to have split up or been seperated. Same for the defending forces.

Also the section at the very start of the battel is a bit confusing for me I am going to read it again and see.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 16th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, fuck, that's right. Draco did step over him. I have to re-write the whole freaking thing now, because I was just going from Bill having been savaged before Snape went up. Damn the timing. But it's getting re-written on the next draft, not this one.

(Draco wouldn't know Bill, particularly, so it doesn't matter if he sees it happen, but he can't be on the stair-side when it does.)
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