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Shades, Chapter Six: The Unforbidden Forest, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Six: The Unforbidden Forest, pt. 3
Tonks and McGonagall were in the Forbidden Forest, and came to the conclusion that the Dementors weren't hiding out there. Things were going reasonably well, until they left the Forest, at which point they were attacked by a large number of Dementors. Tonks, battened on by four of them, is nearly kissed before McGonagall is able to get away and get her out of there. Tonks awakens later, feeling woozy, and senses someone else in the room with her, but he's gone when she wakes up.

(Note from Fern, re-reading the last part, it seems a bit uninspired, to say the least; any suggestions for revving it up a bit would be welcome.)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Mum arrived unannounced on Wednesday night, another cauldron of a different sort of potion sealed and held under one arm. Dad appeared a moment later with a box full of Tonks's favorite toys from childhood. Granny, who had installed herself on the bed by Tonks's head and kept batting at her her hair in a worried sort of way, looked up at them and mewed plaintively to them.

"Don't even think about getting up," Mum said, setting down the cauldron and sitting down on the bed beside her. She drew her wand and started doing diagnostic spells.

"Mum, I'll be all right. I just need..." But Tonks couldn't think of exactly what she needed. She wanted rest, but she didn't want to send her parents away so she could get it. "Thank you for coming."

"Minerva McGonagall told everyone in a ten person radius from you," Dad said. "Except Remus, of course. No one seems to know how to reach him these days."

Mum made a kind of hissing sound, but didn't say anything about this. "I was on duty. There was a rather large accident today--a drunken uncle at a wedding tried to do a dancing charm on the guests, and they all ended up bound into their shoes. I didn't get the message until an hour ago. Dad was with a patient. I'm so sorry. We shouldn't have left you alone."

"I don't think I was. I think Remus was here."

"You think?"

Tonks thought about explaining this, but it seemed to require a great deal of energy, so she let it go. The diagnostic spells swirled around her, and Mum watched them with badly feigned clinical detachment.

Dad pulled a chair over to the bed and reached over to take her hand. "Your hands are like ice!" he exclaimed, rubbing her fingers rapidly. "How close did the bloody things come?"


Mum touched her forehead, smoothing back her hair. "I don't see anything permanent, but it looks like you have a residual trace of them on you. It will take time to get it out of your system."

"Oh. Wonderful. So, what can I expect, Healer Tonks?" Tonks smiled, and it felt like drawing a smile in frost on a windowpane.

Mum took her free hand and started rubbing it. "It looks like it was able to take a bit from you," she said clinically; Tonks had the feeling she was using her St. Mungo's manners to keep herself steady. "But the part of us that Dementors feed on--the soul--can regenerate if it's not entirely gone. I think the cold will hold on a bit; it usually does. I think it will mostly affect your mood. I..." Abruptly, she bent down and hugged Tonks. "Dora, God, Dora, I hate this job of yours. I hate it. Those damned things could have sucked your soul out of you."

"They didn't," Dad said.

"I'll be all right, Mum," Tonks said.


"I'm not going to be locked away from it this time, Mum."

Mum looked miserable, but nodded. "I'm all in favor of courage," she said. "I'm just not sure how well I like it being yours. Being injured twice in two months... I wouldn't mind if it were me."

"Well, I don't like it being either of you," Dad said. "But none of us made the call on this."

Mum sighed. "And we have to do what we have to do. I know. It's just a lot more difficult when it's you doing it than when it's me."

"Speak for yourself," Tonks said. "If you were doing this, I'd be going absolutely mad."

"The pair of you always were a matched set," Dad said.

Mum smiled and fretted a bit more at Tonks's hair.

They stayed the night with her, conjuring a mattress to sleep on the floor of her room, and in the morning, she felt considerably better for their presence, though Dawlish's snide look at seeing her breakfasting with her parents dampened it somewhat. Tonks didn't introduce them to him, partly because she didn't care to, but mostly because she was afraid Mum would try to put health restrictions on her at work, and Dawlish would never let her hear the end of getting safety directives from her mother at work.

Mum did try to talk her into staying off work on Thursday--"You were attacked by four Dementors, for heaven's sake!"--but as Tonks had enough paperwork to complete to keep her out of the field all day, she was finally mollified enough to go. Dad waited until Mum had Apparated out, then kissed the top of Tonks's head. "Your mum loves you."

"I understand."

He hugged her. "Don't think I was any less worried. Or that your mum's the only one who wishes you'd found your calling in magical accounting."

"I know."

"Be as careful as you can be."

"Yes, Dad."

"And if you need us... I know you're having a hard time. If you need us, we'll be there."

"Thanks, Dad."

He kissed her cheek, then left. Dawlish put a pile of incident report scrolls in front of her, and she settled in to work on them.

By Friday, she was feeling up to doing her normal patrol. She was strongly advised against investigating the stretch of road outside the school by herself, which was unnecessary, as she found nothing there when she went anyway.

There was a letter waiting at Molly's when Tonks arrived with Ginny's birthday present on Sunday. Molly handed it to her with pursed lips. "I told him he'd best not say anything rude," she said. "You've had quite enough trouble this week. Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm all right. Thank you, Molly."

"Are you sure?"

"Mum checked me over. If Mum's satisfied, I am."

Molly didn't look convinced, but she turned away to let Tonks read the letter (though she remained in conspicuously easy reach).

Tonks broke the seal and decoded the scroll.

Dearest Dora--

I won't tell you to be more careful, because I'm quite certain everyone else already has. Mad-Eye came looking for me on Wednesday and sent me off to you as soon as he found me. He's quite annoyed that I didn't take his Invisibility Cloak off when I got there, but I seem to cause you quite a lot of distress lately, and I thought you'd probably had enough of it for one day. I just needed to see you for myself, and know you were safe. I didn't mean to wake you when I touched you. I'm not entirely certain that I meant to touch you, for that matter.

Tonks rubbed her eyes and took a deep breath, then continued reading.

Molly tells me that you worry about me. If so, please know that I am reasonably safe here, certainly not in the dire danger you imagine--not even as much as you are. I'm not living comfortably, but I've found a dry, decent place to go at night, and I've got a much better grasp of my compatriots' expectations this month than I did last month, so I'm not making nearly as many mistakes. I've found some willing to listen to a point of view different from Greyback's, but I'm approaching the subject with great caution.

In other words, Dora, I am being careful and you can stop worrying about me.

"Right," Tonks muttered. "I'll do that. No problem."

Molly looked at her quizzically, but said nothing.

I want you to be careful as well, both for yourself and for the Order. I don't like the idea that the Dementors are haunting the road around the Forest. It's close to the route the carriages take from Hogsmeade station to the school, and that strikes me as a reasonable target. Dementors have a strong effect on Harry, and Voldemort would know it by now. Will you keep an eye out for Harry for me, to make sure he gets in safely?

I'm sorry--it sounds quite cold doesn't it? 'So sorry you were hurt, now do a favor for me.' I don't mean it at all like that. There are a hundred things going through my head, and most of them don't have words. I suppose I want to tell you that I trust you to look after Harry, that Sirius would have as well, and I thought it might mean something to you to know that. I'm really quite bad at this letter-writing business.

Please take care.



Molly raised her eyebrows when Tonks rolled up the scroll.

Tonks smiled. "Awkward and stilted," she said. "But not at all rude. Where is Ginny? I wanted to give her her present."

Molly sent her up to Ginny's bedroom, where Ginny and Hermione were having a discussion about how best to get the attention of a thick-headed boy--Ron and Harry, who Tonks strongly suspected were the boys in question, were up in the orchard shooting Quidditch goals--and asked for Tonks's experienced input. She suggested persistence and good costuming, and presented Ginny with a box of brightly colored scarves and hats, of the sort she'd been most attached to from Tonks's own wardrobe. These were promptly piled onto all three of them, and Tonks spent a pleasant hour enjoying their company.

Her mood started to flag when they began discussing the kisses they'd each had, so she wished Ginny a happy birthday and slipped back downstairs. The boys were still out, so Tonks just said goodbye to Molly and Arthur, then headed home. Late that night, she wrote a long letter to Remus, telling him everything about her life, as she had when she was a child.

She sealed it, held it to her heart, then Vanished it.
31 comments or Leave a comment
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: September 26th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
The last line killed me. Also, I really should be asleep right now, but Shifts, I think, is more important. And I'm still dead from the last line.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, the being dead part helps with the sleep-getting, anyway. ;)

Glad you liked it. Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 26th, 2005 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I normally just lurk since I don't have livejournal but something in this chapter just made needed a comment to be written about it. Everybody always goes on about Remus' dangerous mission. It is a very dangerous mission and being a werewolf is dangerous. You do a wnderful job portrayig just how dangerous it is not only to him but also to Tonks.However, many people also overlook how dangerous Tonks' job is and here you don't. You show that. The letter where Remus says basically that her job's more dangerous ( datable but, to him ot the point....) oooh! So good! it just seemed so ...wow... to think that he must have gotten a message that she nearly had her soul sucked out and he felt he couldn't even touch her. Wow. *-^!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think that's partly me getting into pet peeve territory (I must tread carefully). It's true that I would have rather seen a bouyant Tonks in HBP, but the whole "she's just fretting over being rejected, how stupid" thing really gets to me. Why does everyone forget that she's an AUROR? She's got plenty of danger in her life, she's on the front lines, and as well as being rejected, she's also worried sick.

izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: September 26th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't much to say, though I loved this whole chapter...but that last line.... *criez*

Keep up the good work!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tonks knows perfectly well what she needs--to be with the people she loves--but she's shooting herself in the foot by essentially giving in (for now) to Remus's rules.
bronells From: bronells Date: September 26th, 2005 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I can see where you're going with the Dementer attack... linking it in with the "depressed" Tonks we see in HBP. Very nicely done. The last line of both this chapter and the previous gave me shivers.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: September 26th, 2005 11:07 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I hadn't thought of it like that - but you're right. Yes, Fern, good one. (If sad).
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: September 26th, 2005 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Dora. On another note, I feel bad for Ted and Andromeda - it must be hard, their only daughter (not to mention fairly young one) being in this position during a war.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think there's a reason so many story heroes are orphans. Parents would go absolutely crazy about what heroes have to do.
sreya From: sreya Date: September 26th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah! Tonks! If you can't send letters you could at least stick them in a sealed, magicked shoebox for him to read later on!

(Not a complaint about the writing, mind, just want to slap the character a bit :~p )

The snide looks from Dawlish about her parents being there were absolutely cringeworthy, and I'm sure if Tonks had been feeling any better she'd have been a bit more embarrassed, though obviously she really needed their presence. It's so awful the other aurors are treating her like that after a dementor attack. Probably in better times, an attack like that would have had her in St. Mungo's, not simply resting for a day and then back to work! (And I'd like to see Dawlish handling post-dementor depression. Like he'd do any better, grrrr.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Tonks has picked up a case of the common stupids from Remus. ;)

She is more embarrassed than she lets on, but she wants her parents there, and also doesn't want to hurt their feelings. Her parents, curiously, are more important to her than Dawlish. :) But yeah... let's see how they handle it!
ella_menno From: ella_menno Date: September 26th, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
The last line made me slump a bit in my chair and let out an audible whimper. I just want to give the poor girl a hug.

Not that all of this story hasn't been outstanding - because it has - but I think you really nailed it with Remus' letter to Dora. It sounds like his voice, but it does have that touch of awkwardness to it, and (now that we've had an interlude from him) we definitely know he's hedging with what he's telling her.

I like how you're taking the depressed!Tonks of HBP and giving her solid reasons for her mood. (Though I am weary of people complaining that her character has been "ruined" and that she's "not strong" anymore. I mean, hello? I think anyone who found herself in that situation - fighting a war/losing a loved one/working a stressful job/dealing with idiot boyfriend who by the way is endangering his own life every day - would be a bit on the wonky side.

Okay, I'll shut up now. *embarrassed at talkativeness*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not that all of this story hasn't been outstanding - because it has - but I think you really nailed it with Remus' letter to Dora.

Oh, thank you. I've struggled with this chapter more than any of the others--I know, it's an odd one to have serious troubles with!--and to have something from it pointed out in particular as good in it feels nice. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
As always, I enjoyed the latest installment. One comment, you have Andromeda saying that the Dementors managed to drain some of Tonk's soul but that it will regenerate- am I understanding that part correctly? If so, how does that differ from Voldemort's split soul which, according to Dumbledore, definitely did not regenerate but, rather, left Riddle with a "maimed and diminished soul"? You might be getting into some tricky distinctions with that section.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 27th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, you're right. I was going for a thought on depression as a curable disease (or at least a recoverable one), but that doesn't work quite right. I'll re-think.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
dalf From: dalf Date: September 27th, 2005 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually liked this bit a bit more than the last one. The last one had a sort of compressed feeling like you were feeling aorund for plot, and thrwoing in everythign you found. This one paced a bit better and made the last part feel less like that. I think they will read really well together. Remus is .... not doing a very good job of distancing himself, if I were Tonks I woudl be out of my mind too.

In anyevent I really lioked this bit. I think maybe the overreaching Hogsmead plot whatever it turns out too be could be worked into the last two sections or into the next, including an actual conversation with Dawlish and crew. Though I would leave them out until they are part of the story.

The Soul regeneration thing seems to go agsint what we know of horcruxes. One a bit of yoru soul is gone it stays that way (and you lose that much of your humanity, or at least in voldemorts case). Though if what the dementor did was more a precurser to actually sucking her soul, thus dammaging it but not actually tkaing any of it ......
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 27th, 2005 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
including an actual conversation with Dawlish and crew

Heh, my problem with the "crew" part is that I don't know whether I should use "he" or "she" pronoun families with Proudfoot and Savage! I'll try to give her a conversation with Dawlish at some point before Dumbledore hexes him again.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 27th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice chapter. I agree with whoever said before that the writing in the last two parts you wrote seemed a little forced, even though they were actually very good, plotwise.

However, you have certainly got your groove back in this section. :D Loved it to bits. Ted's admission that he wishes his daughter was a magical accountant - LOL. (Wonder how that would work - a swish of the wand, and lo! everything balances.) The last line was the sort that makes me want to reach into a story to smack a character. You're right, Dora is getting Remus-ified, because it's usually Remus that I want to smack.

Remus's letter was very good, but I got the impression that you only made Dora say the letter was 'stilted' and Remus say he wasn't much of a letter-writer because *you* had trouble writing this bit, and thought the letter wasn't very good.

I don't like meta-commentary, usually - for example, in The Body, King has the narrator say that the first real story he wrote (the one you mentioned a few days back) wasn't very good, had characters only a child would write, etc etc. That felt quite fake to me, even if his criticisms were valid.

At its worst, this sort of thing is only one step better than author's notes in the middle of a sentence, because it's there for the same purpose. What you wrote is not that bad, but I do think you should just stop at Remus saying he's not very good at letter-writing, and have Dora comment on some other aspect of the letter, like perhaps how Remus didn't actually give her very much information while managing to sound like he was.

Sorry for being so nitpicky... This was just something that stood out as the only iffy thing in an excellent chapter.

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Chappie 6.3

I really love your work! (Forgive my ramblings and I hope they make sense) I just wanted to comment on the soul part thingy. I don't see why the partially sucked soul should be a problem against the idea of Horcruxes. To me a soul is alive, and a very vulnerable yet resilient entity. I don't see why you can't have a Dementor have such a strong influence against your soul that it damages it, requiring for your soul to regenerate itself. I could even picture a Dementor being able to take a small part of your soul, and if you are 'rescued' in time, your soul will regenerate because it wasn't 'split'. I feel like I'm not explaining myself very well here, grrrr.
I'm thinking of a plant. I have this plant in my office that I accidentally broke a branch, and I so not wanted it to break that I taped it together and to my disbelief it glued itself back together. Had I 'murdered' the plant and 'ripped' the branch out completely so that it was separate, it would never grow back again.

I think that you could have a Dementor suck part of your soul, but because the soul isn't 'ripped' into two separate pieces of soul, that whatever little the Dementor takes, the soul regenerates because it is in fact still 'whole'. Committing murder and splitting your soul, not to mention putting separate pieces of it in an object would be enough trauma that would completely destroy any regenerative properties of a soul.

I'll stop there 'cause I'm probably not making sense. Just my two sickles worth.


From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if this will help but I see the horcrux/dementor soul division as being different to each other. I think the horcrux takes a section of the whole soul, so that each part has all the components but only a seventh of the strength (would "look" a little transparent and thin) but the dementor would just take a bite from the part of the soul that it got to first; I'd expect this to be the happiness section. This would leave Tonks with the ability to empathise, feel emotion etc but be rather depressed. This could fit with the regeneration idea, as another reviewer said, it could work like a plant regrowing a cut-off stem.

It's always a good starrt to the day when I find a new segment of "Shades" to read!

clumsymaniac452 From: clumsymaniac452 Date: September 29th, 2005 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry--it sounds quite cold doesn't it? 'So sorry you were hurt, now do a favor for me.'
Oh, Remus. I like this line (and, as others have said, the last one) very much. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the last two parts, although I had some trouble understanding the wall next to the forest? It just seems a bit odd to have a wall there, but I suppose it also makes sense in keeping all the creatures and so forth in. I didn't really understand the part with the demi-guise, either - the portal? Perhaps it's lazy reading on my part. Maybe to jazz up the last part, you could have the fairies take a shing to/have some interaction with McGonagall and have a very Minerva response to it. Maybe if you're able to slightly compress the last two parts they would feel quite different - I'm not sure where you'd make the cuts though. I continually love your use of "Mum" and "Dad" in lieu of rheir names. It just fits nicely.
Oh, and that Dawlish needs a good SMACK.
hymnia From: hymnia Date: September 30th, 2005 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi! Delurking to say that I am enjoying reading Shades very much. I like the last bit of this section where Tonks vanishes the letter.

One nitpick--it seems a bit off for Ginny to be talking about Harry in terms of "getting his attention" at this point in time. We know now that she liked him all along, but at this point she is technically dating Dean, and it would be strange for her to be talking/scheming with Hermione about getting the attention of a different boy when she already has a boyfriend. Mixed feelings are one thing; deliberately planning to snag a boy while she's still "taken" is another. I hate to say it, because that little girl talk scene is so cute, but I just don't think the timing of it works.
31 comments or Leave a comment