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Shades, Chapter Nine: Patronus, Part 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Nine: Patronus, Part 4
Well, I decided to take a day off from NaNo today. I'm enough ahead on words that I could afford it. So I can do a Shades section.

Remus hadn't reported back immediately after his transformation, and everyone worried. He finally showed up at the Burrow, and Molly told Tonks that she'd hold him there until she (Tonks) got there. They talk--Remus reveals that Greyback has him teaching the children to read, but more inconveniently for the sake of check-ins, he's struck a deal with Greyback, so that Greyback will teach him how to control his thoughts transformed. Tonks also realizes just how deep Remus's concerns about her age run, when he wonders how he is different from Greyback, who also becomes intimate with women he knew when they were children. Logic proves not particularly helpful on the subject. Remus returns to the pack.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

She stayed for lunch with Molly and Arthur (Arthur had taken to Apparating home for his lunch hour when he could; he claimed convenience but Tonks saw worry), and got back to Hogsmeade in the early afternoon. Proudfoot commented on her absence, but Tonks didn't rise to the bait. She did have time off, and she could spend it as she liked.

Feeling a bit low and tired, she tried Sanjiv's, thinking he might be able to distract her, but he was gone. Madam Puddifoot downstairs told her that he had got work for a Muggle, doing some sort of drawing for advertisements, and he was off to show his work or some such thing. "Looked right sharp for it, too," Madam Puddifoot said. "He's a homely thing usually, but he put himself together today."

Tonks thanked her for the information and didn't stay to order a coffee.

She asked Dawlish if there was anything that needed doing since she had some extra time on her hands, and he snapped at her for bothering him--"It's not my job to keep you entertained!" Madam Rosmerta was doing an inventory, and of course the Hogwarts contingent was otherwise occupied during the school year. She managed to make half an hour's guarded conversation with Aberforth about the missing items from Grimmauld Place--Aberforth agreed to keep an eye out for Dung--but even he had other things on his mind.

She didn't precisely decide to go to her parents' for dinner, but she found herself in the back garden Apparition shelter nonetheless. Bludger, poking around after a mouse, meowed a surprised greeting. She picked him up and carried him inside.

Mum was apparently still at work, and Dad was in the cellar, in the room they kept aside for Muggle gadgets that ran on electricity. Magic was strictly forbidden here. Dad was at his computer, making one of his periodic attempts at learning something other than electronic card games, and as he turned the screen off as soon as Tonks walked in, she guessed he was trying to write up reports on his patients.

"Dora," he said, getting up and kissing her cheek. "What a pleasant surprise."

"I'm glad someone somewhere is actually somplace I know to look."

He smiled and led her to a sofa. "Hard day?"

"It could have been worse. How are you? How's Mum? Are you still arguing?"

"Are we still...? Oh, that. No. We both backed off. I'm just working through my contacts, making sure everyone's on board. And Mum..." He paused, and then spoke carefully. "She's not quite as keen to go after her sisters."

Tonks frowned. "Not that I'm not glad to see her back away, but why on Earth would she?"

Dad sighed. "Your Aunt Narcissa came by," he said.

"Oh, please. After everything she found out last year? After she found out Aunt Narcissa and Aunt Bellatrix tried to... well, did... stop her from having any more children?"

"I know. And I'm afraid I was less than civil. But Narcissa is Andromeda's baby sister, and she seemed quite upset about something. She wouldn't tell Andi what, but she was over for several hours drinking tea and talking about their childhood. Andi tried to throw her out at first, but you know your mum. She started worrying."

"Right. Mum worrying is Mum dropping everything else."

"Mm-hmmm. And for what it's worth, Narcissa managed to be civil to me. Almost. Well, at least she spoke directly to me, which is progress of a sort."

"I don't suppose she happened to leave a forwarding address for Bellatrix?"

"No. But your mum did try. Asked her straight out if she knew where Bellatrix was."

"What did she say?"

"She just sat there glaring until Andi dropped the subject. Why are you here, Dora?"

The change in subject was so abrupt that Tonks almost missed it, continuing to sit and wait for more about Narcissa for several seconds before she realized that Dad had asked her a question. "I, er..." She shrugged. "I don't know. I saw Remus this morning."

"Oh." Dad had arranged his face into the kind of bland, disinterested expression he wore with his patients. "It didn't go particularly well?"

"I don't know. Are you still angry with him?"


"Will you pretend not to be for a minute?"

"If that's what you need."

"It is. I hate you and Mum being angry with him. It's not his fault. He's got this bloody assignment and I can't tell you everything about it, but it's awful. It's the worst possible thing for him. And now he's got it in his head that he's some sort of... I don't know, he thinks there's something wrong with him. About me. You know, about how we knew each other before, when I was little. And... I mean, he's said it before, and I always told him it was silly, but now he's thinking about it all the time and--"

"Is he with Greyback?"

Tonks stopped. "I can't tell you that."

"And I can't tell you how I happen to know the name. How much do you know about when he was bitten?"

"Not a lot."

Dad hissed to himself and muttered about "keeping bloody secrets that aren't his damned fault," but didn't elaborate. He shook his head. "If he ever gets around to letting you back in, get him to actually talk to you. I can't speak to the subject any further."

Tonks took a moment to process this. Dad was a good friend to the people in his circle, but he wouldn't keep a confidence he thought foolish to keep unless it had been given to him in a professional capacity.

Remus had been a patient of Dad's at some point.

Dad didn't tend to deal with physical ailments.

"When?" she asked.

"A very long time ago, and--"

"And you can't even pinpoint it."

"No. But I think you know Remus has some weaknesses."

A thought dawned on Tonks for the first time, though as soon as it occurred to her, she wondered why it never had before. "You and Mum thought the same thing. That's why Mum was upset with him last year."

"No. No... I..." Dad got up and paced across the room. "Part of our job is to worry about the kinds of situations we put you in. We always thought Remus was perfectly safe--"

"Seeing as he was."

"--and we were right, but just for a moment, realizing that he could see you that way... I was uncomfortable about it."

"And Mum?"

"Was going through a lot of other things last year, and was expecting to be betrayed. She got over it. We both did. But Remus is a lot harder on himself than anyone else is."

"I can't believe it even crossed your mind," Tonks muttered.

Dad put his finger on her chin and made her look at him, just as he used to when she was small and trying to get away with something. "You listen to me, Nymphadora," he said. "You had the easy part in all of this. You decided what you wanted right off, and you never wavered. Bully for you. Little girls have that privilege. The adults in their lives are the ones who have to make adjustments when they grow up. It's not easy to stop thinking of that line as the Great Uncrossable, and now that Remus has crossed it, he's questioning everything. So did Mum and I. I'm utterly shocked that Sirius didn't, but then he was away for a long time."

"Molly and Arthur--"

"Only met you briefly as a child. They know you as a lovely young woman who makes a good man happy. Which is probably a clearer viewpoint," he conceded. "I know your first instinct is to lose that Black temper of yours and be frustrated with the lot of us for worrying about ridiculous things that have no grounding in reality. But sometimes feelings don't, and you just have to let them run their course. If he can't make the adjustment, it's better he knows now."

"But he did make it," she said. "Dad, I can't tell you everything, but I just can't let him start thinking about things like this. He has to hold on. He'll vanish. Daddy, he's vanishing right in front of me and I can't stop him."

"No, you can't."


He held up a hand. "Remus needs to deal with this, and maybe he needs to vanish for awhile to do it. But I know him. More important, you know him. He always comes back."

"I'm afraid. I'm afraid he won't. He says he's not going to."

Dad laughed abruptly. "I would note that he seems to say that in the midst of very personal conversations that he keeps having with you."


"Dora, he has his absurd fear. And you have yours. And you both think it sounds eminently reasonable. It might even look that way to someone else. But I know you don't want him to give in to his fear. Are you planning to give in to yours?"

"But I can't seem to hold onto him. That's what I always did when he tried to vanish before."

"It was never you he was vanishing from. And it's not really Remus you need to hold onto. He's yours. And he'll come back. It's something in you that you need to hold onto."

"I don't know how."

"You'll figure it out. Now, tell me about Hogsmeade."

Slowly, she warmed to talking about her job and her room, and the odd clientele that frequented the Hog's Head. Mum arrived home in time for dinner and didn't ask a lot of questions about why she was here. Tonks told her about the missing items at Grimmauld Place, which was good for a long rant about Bellatrix and her obessions. Just before sunset, Tonks kissed her parents goodnight and Apparated back home.

She paused outside the Hog's Head, looking up the hill at the lonely house at the edge of town, which had never been haunted at all... at least not by the sorts of ghosts people knew how to deal with. The shutters were falling and the grounds were overgrown.

She went through the security wards and into the back of the house, entering the shattered kitchen. The chair she'd fixed on the night she'd come here with Remus was lying on its side in the doorway; she supposed she'd knocked it over in her rush to get back to the school on Sunday night.

She righted it and pushed it to the cracked table, then drew her wand and repaired the crack.

She paused, listening to the humming silence in the Shrieking Shack, and then slowly, methodically, began to clean.
15 comments or Leave a comment
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: November 10th, 2005 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I really hope nothing happens in book 7 to invalidate your vision of the Tonks family, because her parents are just so right for Tonks. That talk with her dad was just what she needed. It was nice to see Ted in a bit of his professional capacity, almost. I expect Tonks tends to forget sometimes that he's not just Dad but someone who does this for a living and may be more perceptive than she gives him credit for. Which can be a very useful, albeit sometimes frustrating, quality in a parent. I really liked this section--no action, but some good discussion that was due, and handled in the usual expert manner. Good job.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 10th, 2005 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Yes, I have to admit, I'm really hoping we don't meet Ted and Andromeda in book 7. I'll adjust if we do, but I've gotten used to thinking of them this way, just because there's no canon input to contradict me. I'm sure I'll pout if some comes along. ;)
sophonax From: sophonax Date: November 10th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, I love your Ted, and you've set up some nice suspense with the Narcissa thing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 10th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Narcissa seems pretty genuinely upset in "Spinner's End," so I thought it might be reasonable that she'd seek out her sister.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: November 10th, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... you know, I think Narcissa has potential to turn. Honestly, I do; probably never in a way that Andromeda would prefer, but she's not all evil.

Ted was great. :) Interesting about Remus having been one of his patients, but I thought Andromeda was the Healer?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 10th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Andromeda's a conventional Healer, but Ted works with mental damage--he combines his Seeing with Muggle psychology. I had him working with Lockhart in Shifts.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: November 10th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, the part with Ted was too subtle for me. Is that getting clarified later, or am I just confused?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 10th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It depends on what you were confused about. :)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: November 10th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cryptic chapter, but despite that, it's a very satisfying one. I liked seeing Tonks try and reach out to people around her for support... that she went back home without even thinking about it. And you mirrored the same sentiment in Narcissa when she reaches out to her estranged sister... which nudged me out of my comfort zone. I don't know what to make of it. It's also slightly unsettling to see Ted telling Tonks to let Remus vanish if he has to.. I guess I'm in Dora-mode, too, I keep wanting to reach into the story and hold on to Remus (or failing that, slap him around a little). In short, I think you succeeded in making me feel exactly the things you wanted me to feel as I read this, you evil, evil creature.

I'm beginning to pick up on some of your subtle clues and hints - that table lying on its side in the Shireking Shack wasn't Dora's doing, was it? But other things just whooshed over my head: What is it that Dora thought when "A thought dawned on Tonks for the first time..."? I didn't quite get what they were thinking. And what did Ted mean when he said it was something in Dora that she needed to hold on to, that it wasn't Remus?

olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: November 10th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and Fern, you might want to fix this part: "Remus needs to deal with this, and maybe he needs to vanish for awhile to do it..."

That should be a while rather than awhile. One of my pet peeves, sorry. Awhile is used without the preceding for ; the two-word version, however, can be used with or without the for.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: November 10th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent, if somewhat uneasy, end to the chapter. Fantastic idea, Narcissa coming to visit at this point. Of course she would.

I was a bit taken aback by the idea that Remus had been a patient of Ted's at some point, but it makes sense. And I am ridiculously proud of Ted for frankly discussing the momentary fears he'd had, and why they were silly, and generally being the voice of reason that his daughter could really use right now. *hugs Ted*
clumsymaniac452 From: clumsymaniac452 Date: November 11th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
"the lonely house at the edge of town, which had never been haunted at all... at least not by the sorts of ghosts people knew how to deal with"
Ooh. I really like that line.
I love all the little bits that make me go "Wha?" they're smal enough to be very sneaky, but still noticeable. Much better then one big DUN! moment. Although if there is one, I won't complain, as there's undoubtably(tadly? sp?) lots of stuff I've missed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 17th, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

from Violet Azure

I know I'm a bit late, but good chapter. This part was a little confusing:

["When?" she asked.

"A very long time ago, and--"

"And you can't even pinpoint it."

"No. But I think you know Remus has some weaknesses."]

Is this in reference to him tutoring her when she was a child? What does Ted mean by "weaknesses"? It almost sounds like Ted is saying that Remus has a "weakness" for children, in a rather squicky sort of manner. Also, I think there's a spelling error here:

[which was good for a long rant about Bellatrix and her obessions. Just before sunset, Tonks kissed her parents goodnight and Apparated back home.]

Is it supposed to be obsessions? Possessions?

Anyway, hope things are going well with NaNoWriMo! Enjoy the Goblet of Fire movie this weekend!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 18th, 2005 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: from Violet Azure

What does Ted mean by "weaknesses"? It almost sounds like Ted is saying that Remus has a "weakness" for children, in a rather squicky sort of manner.

Eep, no. Ted wouldn't have let someone with that weakness around his little girl! No, just his tendency to back off and cut off contact when things get too intense for him, which in the particular case Ted was talking about had been blown to huge proportions when Remus simply remained in bed for days after a transformation. (It's mentioned in Shifts at one point.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 26th, 2009 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, this is such an amazing chapter. I love how you write the relationship between Tonks and her parents.

Just one question. Ted's speech about crossing the Great Uncrossable line was really powerful, but can you explain what the line is? Sorry, I lack the emotional depth to understand it :)

And what did he mean when he said that Sirius never crossed the line?

Great job, fernwithy. I look forward to reading the rest!!
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