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Shades, Chapter Fourteen: Self-Control, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Fourteen: Self-Control, pt. 3
Tonks is in London, forced to take time off. While there, she runs into her Aunt Narcissa, who tells her what happend with Fenrir and Remus. Her parents are busy, so she heads over to Grimmauld Place to check in on the business with Mundungus Fletcher. To her surprise, she finds Remus there; Mad-Eye more or less abducted him from the pack and put him to sleep upstairs. They talk. He feels trapped. She thinks he would feel less so if she helps him rescue the pups from Greyback. He's of a split mind about it, but tells her that he has Bill looking into things. She goes downstairs to see Moody and suggests that he join them, as it would do him good to talk about other things.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Moody was sitting at the kitchen table when she got there, using his magical eye to closely examine what was, by any appearances, a fancy pair of ladies' knickers. She raised an eyebrow at him.

"Found 'em in an alley," he said. "Thought they might be cursed."

"Oh. Are they?"

"Not as far as I can see."

"Er... why did you think they were cursed?"

"Well, they looked a bit fancy to be lying about in an alley. Brand new, as well, with the price right on them. Thought someone was trying to set out bait. Happens all the time, you know--Muggle-baiting."

"Don't tell me... you know someone who was once cursed by red lace knickers."

"Well, why else would they be there?"

"Reckon some girl nicked them, then realized she didn't want her mum to find them in the laundry."

"Huh. I never thought of that. Well, if you want 'em, they are brand new."

"Toss them in the fire, Mad-Eye. Bloody things scractch in places I don't want to talk about."

"If you say so." He Banished them into the fireplace. "Shacklebolt told me you went up to see Lupin."

"Don't worry, I told him you didn't send me."

"Found some little girl pounding at the door of this shack he's been staying in, and him not letting her in. Just didn't seem Lupin-ish. I thought he could stand to get his head together."

"Thanks, Mad-Eye. I appreciate that. I told him to come down and join us to talk about Dung."

"That'll do him good, too, so I guess I'll let old Dung keep breathing awhile longer."

Tonks smiled and sat down. "How've you been?"

"Same as ever. You?"

"I'll probably live."

"Want me to hex Lupin for you? I've got some good ones that don't last long, but'll bother him pretty well for a while."

"No, but thanks for your concern."

"I'm fond of you, Tonks. Always have been, ever since Dumbledore dragged me up to the school to talk to you." He shrugged. "Reckon I'd have liked you when you were a little thing, too, if I'd stopped to talk to you when we were watching your family. You've got spirit."

"It doesn't seem to be especially prominent at the moment."

"Oh, it's flashing in your eyes right now. I can see it right through that mask you've got on." He winked grotesquely with the magical eye.

There was a shuffling sound at the door, and Remus came down the steps. He'd grabbed someone else's shirt (Tonks could tell, as it was in one piece and unpatched) and was buttoning it as he walked. He left it untucked. "What are we talking about?" he asked, affecting a casual tone of voice that didn't go well with his constantly shifting eyes. "I'm a bit out of the loop."

"Dung's been selling off headquarters," Tonks said. "An heirloom at a time."


"Dung's being Dung."

"Right." Remus shook his head. "Well, it's not as though Sirius didn't tell him a dozen times that he could have nearly anything he wanted. I suppose he decided to take advantage of it."

"My guess is that the buyer is Bellatrix." Mad-Eye rolled his eyes in disgust. "Not that Dung would know it. He probably just doesn't care."

"So we're trying to track him," Tonks added.

"Oh. Right."

"He hasn't done anything in London," Mad-Eye said. "At least not since I started watching him. He's got to have quite a horde by now. And I'm thinking he's going to go for Hogsmeade."

Tonks frowned. "Why?"

"We put out the whole collection of goblets Sirius offered him--the ones with the family crest--and he took them two days ago. He'll definitely be looking for a place to get rid of them. School visit next weekend. Place will be crawling with them. Easy to slip a few more extra people in. It's always been a good time for shady deals. No one's paying attention."

"If Harry catches him at it," Remus said, "he'll be paying a lot of attention. We should warn him."

"Mail's being checked," Tonks said. "The Ministry isn't going to care about tracking him; they'll just have us arrest him on the spot." She sighed. "Dammit, I'm on duty next Saturday. I'm going to have to track him while I'm pretending not to see him."

"Take my cloak," Mad-Eye said, pulling it from his satchel and handing it to her.

"No. I'll just..." Morph came to mind, but that wasn't a sure bet. "I'll Disillusion myself. Hide from Dawlish as well as Dung."

"Now, you see, that's my girl," Moody said. "I told you those marks in Concealment weren't just because of a fluke of nature. You've got a good brain for it as well."

"Of course she does. She knows that," Remus said. He sounded moderately irritated, and Tonks realized that Moody must have been lecturing him about her own state of mind. She felt her face go hot. Remus crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair. "I think you'll do fine hiding--why would Dawlish question that?"

"He likes being a visible presence."

"Then let him go out there himself," Mad-Eye muttered.

"The point is," Remus said, not really acknowledging the issue of Dawlish, "that there shouldn't be a problem with you being Disillusioned, or in disguise, or flying around on your broomstick overhead if you think it would help. The problem is Harry. We need to let him know."

"The village is going to be crowded," Mad-Eye said. "That's the whole point. It's crowded, and I doubt Dung is going to be setting up a booth on the street. I'm sure he'll have the things hidden, so even if Harry does see him, there's no reason for him to lose his head."

Tonks looked between them. "I can watch for Harry," she said. "I'll see if I can draw him aside while he's there."

Remus nodded, and they talked a bit longer about the logistics of it. Some of the distance in Remus's manner began to fade, and Tonks thought she noticed him smile at a joke of Mad-Eye's toward the end of the evening. Close to seven-thirty, Mad-Eye excused himself to go spy on Scrimgeour--"Never did trust him much"--leaving Remus and Tonks alone in the kitchen where they'd spent so much of the previous year.

"Did you want supper?" she asked. "I could go out and get some curry."

"No. I need to go back." She started to protest, but he held up his hand. "I need to go back, or Greyback will miss me. I've been gone for nearly two days. And there's a little girl to whom I owe an apology. I imagine Mad-Eye told you about that."

"He said someone was hammering on your door and you weren't letting her in."

"I've been doing that all week. Trying to distance myself. I don't think Greyback's buying it anyway."

"Remus, no one would buy that from you."

"I suppose not."

"I wish I could somehow help. I wish I could be in touch with you."

"Well, you can always become Narcissa's pen pal. I'm sure she'll be full of gossip." He sighed. "What an odd combination. I can't imagine Greyback sitting across a table from Narcissa, sipping tea and gossiping about his packmates."

Tonks frowned. "It is strange, when you think about it. Not exactly the Malfoys' sort, is he?"

"To put it mildly." He turned to go up the stairs. "Thank you for... Thank you."

Tonks caught his hand. "Marry me."

He didn't turn around. "I have nothing to bring to a marriage. Even when you set aside... what happened. I have nothing. No job, no money. I'm so much older than you are. You're young... beautiful. You can have everything good that there is in life. I was selfish to ask you."

"All I need in the world is you. And without you, the rest of it doesn't matter."

"It will." He turned around and cupped her chin in his hand. "I'm no one special, Dora. You'll see."

She thought he might kiss her, but he didn't. He let go of her and went up the stairs alone. She didn't follow. Somewhere above, she heard the door open, and she knew that when she went up, he would be gone.

She stayed in the kitchen for a long time, running her fingers over the splintered edge of the table and thinking of Sirius sitting here, prying up the loose bits of wood and lining them up, flicking them into the fire with a lazy wave of his wand. Sirius would have got him to stay. Or would have found a way to go back to the woods with him. Sirius would have got him laughing about a tea party with Greyback and Narcissa. He wouldn't have followed it up with a proposal and another reason to argue.

Well, at least not in earnest.

No, he'd start going on about Narcissa and Greyback, perhaps putting a little silk bow in Fenrir's imaginary hair, and having them leaning conspiratorially over their teacups to hear all the latest gossip. He'd make jokes about Greyback fumbling around all of the Malfoys' dandified old heirlooms. Oh, yes, dear Fenrir... do try not to crush Grandmother Malfoy's crystal water goblets...

Tonks frowned as she got up and headed out. What was that about? Voldemort used Greyback to terrorize and intimidate. Why was he with Narcissa? Was she using him to threaten those who would take what Lucius had managed to leave her with?

She went into the square, the house disappearing behind her, and stopped cold beside the lamp-post.

Or was he there to watch her?

The chill of the evening seeped into her bones. If Greyback was watching Narcissa--if all the gossip was there because Voldemort wanted her to know that Greyback was in claw's reach of her--then it raised questions that Tonks was quite sure Sirius would have dismissed as wishful thinking, but for Tonks, it wasn't hopeful at all.

Because if Narcissa was on the edge of disloyalty, then she was grabbing for the people at closest reach, and if she was being watched, then Greyback knew it. He knew in whom she was confiding, at whose house she sat for hours.

Tonks ran for the alley, and Apparated home.
18 comments or Leave a comment
From: tunxeh Date: January 2nd, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Your writing continues to be excellent and draw me into the story, so that I want to react to Tonks in the story rather than to you. I trust you to know where you're going with this, but I don't trust Tonks to be thinking straight:

Voldemort used Greyback to terrorize and intimidate. Why was he with Narcissa?

Tonks is thinking too hard. If Voldemort wanted Tonks terrorized and intimidated, or even watched, hints through Greyback and her aunt are way too indirect. Isn't it more likely that Voldemort wants to make sure Narcissa herself is kept in line, and doesn't much know or care about Tonks?

And why would Greyback know where she is past the Fidelius?

Sirius would have got him to stay. Or would have found a way to go back to the woods with him. Sirius would have got him laughing about a tea party with Greyback and Narcissa. He wouldn't have followed it up with a proposal and another reason to argue.

Thinking too hard again. It seemed a sweet and bantering enough way of making clear her continued interest and reminding Remus of the proposal he made her in your previous fic. That Remus chose to shrug it off is more about him and less about Tonks' merits vs Sirius.

Still, some attention towards self-preservation (her reaction at the end to her thoughts of Greyback) seems like a good idea.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2006 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
If Voldemort wanted Tonks terrorized and intimidated,

Hmm, need to be clearer about that. She's just realized that Greyback might be there to intimidate Narcissa--that Voldemort is sending him because he's keeping a very close on Narcissa. (In other words, she's getting close to the idea that the Malfoys are in trouble with Voldemort, of a particularly unpleasant sort.) She rushes home because it occurs to her that if Greyback is supposed to keep Narcissa in check, then the sister she keeps turning to is in danger. I'll try and work that out in a re-write, and certainly clarify in the next section!

But yes, she's way overthinking, and also over-idealizing how Sirius would respond.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 2nd, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I understood that she's worried about Andromeda, so it's not completely unclear.

I was glad to see that they're thinking of warning Harry about Dung's activities. At least they're in the mindset of telling Harry things. :) It's too bad they won't have the chance.

It's good to see Remus interacting (fairly) normally with Moody and Tonks, too.

I don't comment often, but I love Shades!

olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 3rd, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh! I thought this was getting connected to *Snape* in some way (the person Narcissa turns to for help), though of course, in Shifts, it is Andromeda that Narcissa spends a lot of time with. I guess Snape just isn't available that much during the school year, hmm?

Great chapter - and some nifty plotwork there!
_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: January 2nd, 2006 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been wanting to say this for a long time, but I think you've done a brilliant job weaving the plot you set up in Shifts into post-HBP canon. At first it seemed impossible that Remus would be pushing Tonks away by the end of Shades, but now his excuses are entirely believable. I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the year. And of course, this chapter was as amazing as ever; I'm relieved that Remus is finally willing to just sit in Dora's presence for a few minutes.
From: underaloggia Date: January 2nd, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Still loving it! Love Moody, love Tonks' proposal, love Remus even though he's being difficult. And I know she's overthinking, but it all sounded totally logical to *me*, and I *never* do stuff like that, oh no... : )

Also, you mixed up "horde" and "hoard". You want the latter.

It's fantastic! Happy New Year!
(PS. You've inspired me to make my own set of resolutions, which I almost never do. Thx!)
From: myxginxblossoms Date: January 2nd, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The biggest reason I started warming up to Tonks/Remus after book 6 (I was rather staunchly Remus/Sirius only before then) is because they remind me of my very favourite literary couple of all time. Tonks gets to be Josephine March in my mind, and Remus is Friedrich Bhaer. And this part of the story, with the proposal, etc, definitely brought the ending of Good Wives slash second-part-of-Little Women (whatever you want to call it) to mind. Lupin's doing the whole "I have nothing to offer but these empty hands"--except he's refusing to let Tonks put hers in his and say "Not empty now."

So, brilliant job with this part. I especially liked their relationship here, as you can tell. ;)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: January 2nd, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lupin's doing the whole "I have nothing to offer but these empty hands"--except he's refusing to let Tonks put hers in his and say "Not empty now."

Okay, that's a brilliant little comparison. I haven't thought of that moment in years, but you're right, that's the exact vibe here.
faeriemaiden From: faeriemaiden Date: January 3rd, 2006 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm awwing like the fangirl that I devoutly pretend not to be. What a fantastic comparison--never saw it before, but...aww, you've got me all teary-smiling. Professer Bhaer is one of my fictional heroes, and that quote would fit--the main thing about the romance between Jo and Friedrich and Remus and Tonks is that they're comfortable together, and despite the angst, it's not all pining in tower rooms and such nonsense.

(All right, Banui, snap out of it!) Now I'm searching frantically for my copy of Little Women; this is all your fault!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 3rd, 2006 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Now, there's an unconscious influence! But LW was the first whole book I read all on my own, and Jo and the Professor have a big impact on what I like to see in a romance, so I think you're calling it right!
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 2nd, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
"To put it mildly." He turned to go up the stairs. "Thank you for... Thank you."

Tonks caught his hand. "Marry me."

He didn't turn around. "I have nothing to bring to a marriage. Even when you set aside... what happened. I have nothing. No job, no money. I'm so much older than you are. You're young... beautiful. You can have everything good that there is in life. I was selfish to ask you."

Aww, poor Remus. And poor Dora. Sigh.
humantales From: humantales Date: January 2nd, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been following this since you started it, and I love how you've continued Shifts in the light of HBP. I'm always thrilled to see a new piece and then look forward to the next.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: January 2nd, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I realize I haven't been commenting as much as I did on Shifts...not because it's not as good (if anything, maybe the other way around), but strictly because the emotional tone is so depressing (aside from brilliant little bits like the possibly-bewitched red lace knickers, *snort*) that I'm not sure what to say!

Keep up the good work. I look forward to Remus coming out of his funk at least a little bit...and your plotting, btw, is working into HBP quite well so far. Brava. [and I knew what you were getting at re: Fenrir, Narcissa, and Andromeda...what a way to leave us hanging!]
faeriemaiden From: faeriemaiden Date: January 3rd, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus seems so...tired and empty in this piece, and the way he keeps fumbling for words is--well, I can't find too many synonyms for "heartbreaking", so I'll leave it at that. And I love your little subplots--you've really done a fantastic job of making the war seem real and urgent and very, very present in a way JKR couldn't in the relative safety of Hogwarts. Also, like everyone else, I love your Moody--though he keeps speaking in my mind with either a Boston or a New York accent; don't know where that's coming from!
sophonax From: sophonax Date: January 3rd, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
More Mad-Eye, please! He's great.

I like that even in Remus' broken state, he's still capable of being worried about how Dung's thieving is going to affect Harry.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: January 5th, 2006 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty late to the game but I read all the parts I'd missed over Christmas last night, and it was a very compelling 20 pages. I know you've said you are much more comfortable in Remus's head, but it seems like you are getting more and more at home with Tonks, and I'm fascinated by how this story feels incredibly uncomfortable and everyone is miserable, yet I can't wait to keep reading and there is always just enough hope or humor. If we were seeing this year from Remus's POV I think it would be overwhelmingly miserable—I hate reading the interludes because they're just so sad and creepy, though they do add amazing drama.
Anyway, I really love how you've filled in Tonks as a character, and made her so nuanced. Not that that's any kind of new feedback.
From: maxzook Date: January 10th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Toss them in the fire, Mad-Eye. Bloody things scractch in places I don't want to talk about."

Great line, but scratch is misspelled, and it probably should read: "bloody things itch in places ..."

(I confess I'm so jealous of your stuff, and especially your prolificacy, that I take perverse pleasure in being the first to find a misteak ...)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 10th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, there are usually plenty to be found on the LJ version. It's a regular sport. ;)

I think "scratch" is what I meant--those cheap lace panties are like wearing Brillo pads--but I certainly didn't mean "scractch."
18 comments or Leave a comment