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Shades, Chapter Five: Relocation, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Five: Relocation, pt. 2
Okay, before I got distracted by the first day of school, I was working on this story, wasn't I?

Tonks has come to Dumbledore's office, as he wanted to discuss a change in assignment with her--he would like her to take Robards' offer to relocate to Hogsmeade as part of the Auror team watching the school, because he'd like a member of the Order involved in it. He's called her there at the same time Remus comes to give his report, because he wants to arrange to use the Shrieking Shack as an entrance if it's needed in emergencies. Remus refuses to give his report on Fenrir's people around Tonks--he's worried about the fact that Greyback already thinks he's passing her information--and she is sent out of the office while he speaks. She's less than thrilled about this.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

By the time she heard the door open upstairs, Tonks was miserably lecturing herself about being a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. She'd just made a highly salient point regarding the pettiness of anger at a man risking his life and facing his greatest fears for the sake of others when the staircase behind her started rotating again, and she heard someone coming down.

She stood up and Vanished the chair she'd Conjured to wait, and was surprised to see not Remus, but Dumbledore coming down alone.

"Mr. Lupin will be along presently," he said. "I wondered if I might have a word?"

"Yes, of course," Tonks said.

Dumbledore started walking slowly up the corridor. Tonks found herself looking at his withered hand again. "Professor--" she started.

"Don't concern yourself about it," Dumbledore said, glancing at her. "Just an injury. It happens."

"How did it happen?"

"Searching for matters related to Voldemort. I don't know enough to reveal any more to you at the present time." He stopped at a window at the end of the corridor, and looked out over the now-darkening grounds. "It's not wrong to feel cheated, Nymphadora. You've been cheated, and in a particularly hurtful way. You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel it."

"I... well, I know that it's hardly the most important matter..."

He turned to her, looking ancient. "I hadn't anticipated how much access Greyback had to information about you, or how deeply this would effect Remus. I'm sorry."

"You don't need to--"

"Yes, I do." He leaned on the window frame. "I don't like the things I find myself asking people to give up."

"You didn't start this, Sir."

"Didn't I? I sometimes wonder." He shook his head, then turned to her with a gentle smile. "You have a good heart, Nymphadora. You always did." He glanced up the corridor at the door of his office. "Remus believes that I'm explaining the necessity of his total withdrawal from your life."

"You're not?"

"Not at all. And I suspect I don't need to explain Remus Lupin to you, of all people."

"Not really, no."

"I won't tell you what he wants me to tell you. I'll tell you to trust your instincts about him." He squeezed her arm with his good hand. "And that is all I had to say. Though I will add that I hope to see you from time to time in Hogsmeade. It's been a far less colorful village since you left school."

Tonks didn't feel particularly colorful, but she was touched that Dumbledore remembered her as a student, among the hundreds--perhaps thousands--he had known over the years. She let him lead her back to the staircase, where Remus met them, looking dodgy. They exchanged goodbyes, then Remus nodded to Tonks, and she followed him out of the castle.

"There isn't a really good trick for getting near the Whomping Willow," he said. "But if you can dodge the branches long enough to get to the trunk, there's a knot you can prod with a stick or your wand or whatnot." The stopped at the outer reach of the tree's branches and Remus picked up a stick from the ground. "Ready?"



Remus moved with a compact and economical grace that Tonks envied (and that turned her thoughts in other less than selfless directions as well), and reached the trunk without so much as being whipped by a leaf. She herself was lashed across the face, pinched, grabbed roughly by the hair, and thrown into him.

He pushed her away gently, and pointed at a knot at the base of the trunk. "It's right here," he said, and prodded it. The violent movement of the tree ceased entirely, and a dark passage appeared among the roots. He lowered himself into it and she followed.

The passage was narrow and dank, and smelled of the passage of animals. Remus was squatting at the beginning of the tunnel. "A little light?" he suggested.

Tonks drew her wand and lit it. Then she drew Remus's wand from her satchel, put it in his hand and wrapped his fingers around it. He smiled and added more light.

They walked bent at the waist in the low tunnel, not talking. The wandlight on the uneven surfaces made shadows play over Remus's body, and much to her annoyance with herself, Tonks spent most of the walk imagining how those smoothly moving muscles would feel under under her hands.

"Why are you rolling your eyes?" he said as he turned around to open a hatch that she presumed led into the Shrieking Shack.

"I think I've discovered a whole new level of inappropriately frivolous thoughts," she said, pulling herself through the hatch and into an entirely demolished room, bright with moonlight. "The weight of the world on you, a whole war going on out there, and I'm thinking, 'You know, Miriam's right... he does have a cute bum.'"

Remus blinked at her, surprised, and then laughed. He stopped laughing, looked at her, and started again, sitting down on a broken chair. "I love you, Dora," he said.

She sat down on the dusty floor across from him, glad to see him laugh, more glad to hear him say he loved her, but not really feeling like laughing herself. So she just smiled and listened to his laughter until it trailed off.

He sighed and leaned forward, planting his sharp elbows on his knees. "You know that, don't you?" he asked her. "That I love you?"

"Well, I don't object to the occasional reminder."

He reached across and touched her face, then drew his hand away, leaving it hovering in the air between them. "I'm not doing you any favors by reminding you."

Tonks slapped his hand away and stood up. "You're an impossible man, Remus," she said.


"And a selfish one. You propose at the last minute, then break it off without so much as warning me. And you do it by note! And now you touch me and tell me you love me, but that I shouldn't pay attention to you loving me. You're confusing the bloody hell out of me!"

"I'm sorry."

"Do you love me?"

"Yes, you know--"

"And did you want to marry me? For real?"

"Yes. More than anything."

"Then what's the problem? I mean, of course not while you're with Greyback, but, dammit, Remus..."

"The problem?" He stood and stalked to the window. "You want to know the problem, do you? Look around you. Do you like what you see? Because this is the only home I could ever give you. And that's if I manage to hold onto it month after month. Sometimes Gringotts owns it and I can't get in through their wards until I catch up."


"I look like a damned beggar even when I'm completely human. And when I'm not..." He sat down on an unsteady piano bench and put his head in his hands. "There's so much blood," he said obscurely.

Chagrined, Tonks took a deep breath, swallowed her arguments, and just looked at the house. It was shattered--holes in the walls, furniture in pieces, floorboards broken and sticking up like ribcages on an ancient battlefield. The bannister on the stairs was split, the posts crushed by some powerful long-ago blow from the newel post to halfway to the second floor. It was a hated house, a house upon which anger and frustration had been unleashed for years.

She went to the chair he'd been sitting in and turned it over, then found the pieces of the splintered wooden leg and held them together, and pointed her wand at at. "Reparo."

The leg shivered, solidified, took scarred shape. She set the chair down gingerly. It held.

Remus was watching her coolly. "It's chair, Dora," he said. "Fixing one chair doesn't change anything about this place. And it's not going to hold."

"Where is your desk?"


"Your desk. The one I bought you for my flat last year. Where is it?"

"It's in what passes for a study, at the top of the stairs. It's not broken."

"Good," she said. She reached over and took his wand from him and went up the stairs. After a moment, she heard him follow.

The desk was sitting beside a window, all of its decorations intact, the plug for the electrical lamp lying in the dust of the broken floor. She went to it, opened the top drawer, and put his wand in it.

He was leaning against the doorframe when she turned around.

"What's that about?" he asked.

"You're still not planning on carrying your wand?"

"It would be quite mad."

"But you can Apparate here if you need to."


"Then Apparate here if you need this. Will you at least do that?"

He considered it. "All right," he said. "That's fair, and a good idea."

She nodded, finding herself abruptly with nothing to say. She'd expected an argument.

"I'd best show you how to get in and out on the Hogsmeade side," he said after a bit, standing away from the doorframe. "The back entrance is the only where you can get through the security charms. It comes into the kitchen..."

He spent the next half hour showing her the various security precautions on the Shrieking Shack and making a talisman that would allow her to pass through the wardings on the door if she needed to. Through all of it, he didn't look at her directly.

"I think that's all you need to know," he finally said, putting the new talisman down on the canted kitchen table. "Hopefully, you won't have to use it, anyway."


"You should get back to London. And I need to..." His voice trailed off.

"Roll in something foul before you go back, to cover up what you've been up to?" she asked.

He shrugged. "More or less. I'll probably just walk for a few days, sleep in the woods. That should be enough to--"

Tonks stood on her toes and pulled him to her, kissing him as deeply as he'd allow, burying her fingers in his hair, feeling his hands on her sides.

He broke away, his eyes closed, his hands pushing her away and holding her close at the same time.

She smiled at him. It took effort. "I just reckoned that if you're going to cover up for something, you might as well have something worth covering."

He returned her smile, then let go of her and stepped back into the shadows. "We have to stop this, Dora," he said. "I'm going to have to walk for a week to cover that up."
26 comments or Leave a comment
dalf From: dalf Date: September 11th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok I HATE dumbledore in this. Even as stupid as he was about telling Harry things in the past and even after that his incomplete truths. But, none of those ever corssed the line into the sort of dishonesty he does here. Implying to Remus that he is telling "explainning" to tonks why Remus must remove himself from her life, when he does not think its is necessary or even a good idea. It means that he lead Remus to bealieve that he agreed, that he encoraged Remus in it. It also goes against what McGonnagal says about what she thinks Dumbledore would think at the end of HBP. gah.

Also in cannon no one ever has to run up to the womping willow then touch the knot. My impression was that it has sprawling roots that spread out on the ground around it. The knot in question seems from my reading to be reachable with a long enough stick from totally outside of the reach of the tree. Snape in PoA seems to do it with total ease. I think its a sort of thing that if you know the knot doing it is trival.

But, I love the shack. I love the dailoug. The wand in the drawr and the comment about gringots. Perfect.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe I'm picturing the willow wrong; I thought the knot was on the trunk, near the base. Which always struck me as an odd place to put the trigger, as you'd still have to get by all the swinging branches to get to it!

Actually, I meant that to support what McGonagall said Dumbledore would think--he's clearly in favor of Remus and Tonks being together. He just realizes that Remus is not in a place where he's going to listen.
stephantom From: stephantom Date: September 11th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also picture the knot being on the trunk, but I imagine them using a very long stick to poke it. lol.

Another excellent chapter. I don't really have anything to say that hasn't already been said.

(And I like your Dumbledore.)
dalf From: dalf Date: September 11th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I sort of imagined the willow as a sort of knarled sparwling tree. Such a tree woudl have roots snaking accross the round for many feet and have hundreds of little knots on them. I am not sure if normal willows are the type of trees that do that though I know many speices do. Perhaps I will go re-read the parts in PoA where people use the tree.

The problem with DD is that since when did he tell someone what they wanted to hear? Usually if he is leaving somethign out he does not mislead you into thinking he has not left it out. Plus the thigns he keeps secret he keeps secret from everyone, that is why He and Harry are the only two that ever heard the whole prophecy.

I am trying to imagine a scenario where Remus would think Dumbledore agreed enough with his position to "go and explaine why its necessary" to Tonks without Remus even present, that does not involve Dumbledore actually implying such a thing, and I am having a hard time. Even if Reums simply assumes that Dumbledore would agree and asks him to do it, I can't see Dumbledore acquiescing to talk to her alone about it whithout disabusing him of the notion that he agrees with the logic. Espically since DUmbledores words make it perfectly clear that he knows what Remus is thinking.

It just seems really dishonest (Aad a little but curel/desctructive twards both of them).
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: September 11th, 2005 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
SOOOOO goddam frustrating. But goodness, I loved the interaction between them here. I often wondered what she'd say if she saw the inside of the Shrieking Shack -- but I guess what he'd say is the more appropriate question. Just like here. He's going all ashamed about it, and she just accepts. *sigh*

Noticed a couple of typos:
She went to the chair he'd been sitting in and turned it over, then found the pieces of the splintered wooden leg and held them together, and pointed her wand at at [it?]. "Reparo."

"The back entrance is the only [one?] where you can get through the security charms. It comes into the kitchen..."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah--he's looking at it and comparing it to the richly appointed (if evil) 12GP and thinking that it's just a shattered, cheap, and (probably) smelly crate of a house, not at all what she has a birthright to. And she's just thinking, "Oh, house."

Thanks for the typo-catches!
super_pan From: super_pan Date: September 11th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I really liked this chapter. You've captured Dumbledore quite well. Elusive, yet compassionate. And you've showed how his self doubts and recriminations are starting to weigh on him. And of course your portrayal of Remus's and Tonks's(I'm sorry, I'm slowly but surely forgetting my apostraphe rules for possessives) ongoing push and pull relationship is pitch perfect. The characters are not perfect people, but the reader can only empathize with them. And I especially like what a nice person Tonks is, despite how sad she feels. And I like how you're segueing back to Tonks's perspective. I actually don't like it when it's Remus's POV, not because of the writing of course, but because his life is icky (Rowling's Greyback is the ickiest villain ever created. I don't mean that in a dismissive way, but he makes the skin crawl with revulsion even more than fear). Tonk's life will be a welcome respite (though not for her).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
(I'm sorry, I'm slowly but surely forgetting my apostraphe rules for possessives)

It doesn't help that the rule's in flux. Generally, I go with the Strunk and White rule: always an apostrophe-s on singular possessors, including those that end with "s"--Tonks's, Remus's, James's, etc. That also seems to be J.K. Rowling's choice, and I believe Eats, Shoots, and Leaves recommends it as well. It makes sense, because it's more or less the way it's said. The older way to do it would be to only have the apostrophe and not the "s." To me, that looks like a plural--like there's more than one Tonk, Remu, and Jame.

And yeah--Greyback is horribly icky. But kind of fun to write, I must admit.
super_pan From: super_pan Date: September 11th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)


Thanks! It was really bugging me.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Technically the rule is that a possessive is always


for a modern name. (It is, of course, a contration of the Old English genitive, which was "es".)

However, it's simply an apostrophe for a name from Antiquity.


So I'm not sure where that leaves modern characters called "Remus" or "Sirius" ...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)
As they exist in contemporary times, I'd say they get contemporary treatment.
From: underaloggia Date: September 11th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)


Oh, I liked it! Painful, as most of this story is, but dear and sweet and well-characterized. All three (R, T, D) have reasons for doing what they're doing, but, but, but... Tonks's second-guessing of herself (I'm mad, no, I shouldn't be mad, no...) is spot on.

Another edit or two:

You want: "...how deeply this would affect Remus."
Was bannister an intentional Britishism? US/Canadian spelling usually lacks the second N.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Lovely!

Nope, just a typo. :)

Affect/effect: It's going to kill me, and it will be engraved wrong on my tombstone.
katinka31 From: katinka31 Date: September 11th, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aaaaaaarghhhh! *shakes Remus repeatedly*

How, HOW are you able to churn out something this good so quickly? I'm deeply envious. I thought this installment had particularly good characterization of both Remus (could he be more conflicted, poor man?) and Dora ("cute bum" - LOl!). As someone else mentioned, though, I think it would have been more difficult for them the access the Whomping Willow. Maybe Remus could reach the knot first, push it, and then let Tonks approach? Anyhow, really excellent stuff. The tension between them is killing me. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reason Remus waited is that he's meant to be showing her how to do it alone--he can't just go in and do it for her. :)

Tonks probably isn't helping the conflictedness with Remus, as she's repeatedly reminding him that he can have exactly what he wants any time he decides to come back to her.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: September 11th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Didn't I? I sometimes wonder."

Gah! That's the truth in a way, and how he blames himself for Riddle's.... Riddleness.....

Anywho, amazing chapter, and I feel so bad for them, and how amazingly confused they are... :( :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Dumbledore must be thinking about that a lot during the course of the HBP year, as he collects memories for Harry.
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: September 11th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
As sad as the scene in the Shrieking Shack was, this was the bit that really got to me:

"I don't like the things I find myself asking people to give up."

"You didn't start this, Sir."

"Didn't I? I sometimes wonder." He shook his head, then turned to her with a gentle smile.

I love your Dumbledore. Poor man. Will we be seeing more of him?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)
We will absolutely be seeing more Dumbledore as Tonks is assigned as a Hogwarts guard and living in Aberforth's bar. I mean, they won't be braiding each other's hair or anything, but yeah... Dumbledore will be around.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: September 13th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mean, they won't be braiding each other's hair or anything

Oh, that's a terrible art-bunny!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely chapter. I'm amazed that you could write all the wonderful "first day of school" drabbles and still work on this story too.

I thought the use of the shrieking shack was a terrific way to illustrate two of Remus's objections, both the "too poor" and the "too dangerous". I get the feeling that Tonks might do a bit of house cleaning and repair in her spare time this year. Hmmm, I wonder how Remus would react to a clean, fixed up house?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely a question I mean to ask him. :)

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

from Violet Azure

Gah! Like Katinka I'm so jealous as to how you write so much that's wonderful in such a short amount of time. I think you need to take a trip to Scotland and give JKR a hand and encourage her to write some out-takes and prequels. Love how Remus and Dora are just being torn apart and yet are pulled back together again. They're like 2 magnets, no mater how much you try and separate them, they're just meant to stick together.

Small thing: Watch Dumbledore's speech patterns. He rarely uses contractions in the books and he tends to be more...flowery and less blunt. "Didn't I?" and "far less colorful village" are classic Dumbledore-isms though.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: from Violet Azure

Aagh, yes. I'll see what I can do in the next draft of the section. I really need to practice Dumbledore-isms. He is so hard to write--much harder than any other character in the books. No wonder JKR used him sparingly!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 12th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely work, as usual. Minor nitpick, which really only goes to show that I compulsively read works I enjoy far too often--in Shifts, wasn't it Anna, rather than Miriam, who was admiring Remus's posterior?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 12th, 2005 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I realized that on a read-through. For the record, Miriam quite agreed with her, but Miriam's comment was about his eyes.
26 comments or Leave a comment