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Shades, Chapter 18: The Werewolf Capture Unit, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 18: The Werewolf Capture Unit, pt. 3
Tonks went to the Burrow for Molly's birthday, and while she was there, she talked to Bill about the Greyback's "pups," and learned that Alderman wanted to get away. They decide she has a better chance of speaking to Alderman's mother, Fiona Crowler, an agent in the Werewolf Capture Unit, and try to work out a way to get her in there. They haven't gotten far when Fleur calls Bill away. She asks Tonks to join her shopping over the weekend, but Tonks declines because she has to work. She later notices Fleur watching her with a puzzled expression. That weekend, Tonks has a chance to get to the Ministry, and she takes advantage of it to see Fiona. To her surprise, Fiona is not distant or cold about her son--she thought he was already dead, which was why she hadn't tried to get him back. She tells Tonks her story, and they need to figure out what comes next.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Tonks didn't know what to tell her. If she'd had an idea of how this would go at all, she'd thought there might be some fight to keep Robert where he was to avoid bringing danger to Fiona's new family, but a Fiona ready to help and join the fight needed to know things that Tonks didn't know--how Robert planned to get away, where he would go, and how he would lose Greyback--or couldn't tell (namely, where Remus fit into the picture, though Fiona was quite sharp enough to realize that he was in it somewhere).

"I know Greyback better than anyone," Fiona said, lining up an army of quills along the edge of her blotter. It was an odd nervous habit--in the course of their conversation, she had surrounded the blotter with feathers twice, methoidically removed them twice, and was starting on her third time around. "I've made it my business. I expect there are things I know about him that the Death Eaters don't know. I've sometimes wished I didn't know them."

"I can imagine."

"Can you?" Fiona mused. "I wonder. Do you know how Greyback was cursed himself?"


"He captured a werewolf in human form, kept her in a cage until the full moon, and deliberately took the bite. At sunrise, he killed his captive. She'd served her purpose."

Tonks's stomach turned over lazily. "Oh."

"He wasn't altogether successful at first. Nearly got himself killed the first few months he tried attacking his enemies--he's not very bright. Damn bad aim," she muttered. "And of course, at the time, no one was allowed to use serious curses on werewolves. Dislike them, restrict them... but hurt them? Oh, never. We're far too civilized, aren't we? Or we were, then. Before the first war. When Greyback was just starting to show his colors. Your Mr. Lupin was the first time anyone really understood what he meant to do. The others had disappeared. The Lupins got their son back. That was the first time that had happened, and they'd got quite an earful on the subject. Greyback went to ground for a while after that. No one knows where he took his pack then. My guess is the Black Forest. There've been rumors of feral werewolves there for centuries. The German Ministry denies it, of course, though it's common knowledge that Grindelwald made use of them."

"Imagine that," Tonks said dryly, thinking of Cornelius Fudge and his adamant refusal to discuss Voldemort's return.

"Yes, well." Fiona finished her circuit of the blotter and began to stack her quills as she went around picking them up. "If Robert leaves, Greyback will come for another of my children."

"I don't think Robert knows about them."

"Well, don't tell him. If he's anything like his father, he'll start worrying about it, and not do anything. I want him out of there."

"I think..." Tonks sighed. "I think we need to find a safe haven first. Have everything in place."

"He'll disappear again. You'll lose anyone with him."

"Not this time."

"Ah. Your Mr. Lupin..."

"I can't speak to that. But I don't think Greyback is free to disappear." Tonks chose her words as carefully as she could. "But Fiona... there's a very good possibility that you'll need to. And your husband and children. At least until we've caught Greyback himself."

She paled, and nodded. "Dear God. Of course. I'll need to speak to Roald about it."

"Do it quietly."

"Of course."

Tonks stood up, and Fiona walked her to the office door. "I told your associate--that, er, enthusiastic idiot outside--that I was talking to you about questionable attacks in the Orkneys."

"I'll say you were mistaken and file something with the 'escaped zoo leopard' reports." She smiled wanly. "In a country with no natural wolves left, you'd think Muggles would at least be curious enough to notice them howling. But they never do. It's always bloody escaped zoo leopards. You'd think they were roaming about in prides."

Tonks returned the tentative smile. "And Fiona... don't..." She took a deep breath. "I can't explain things. But don't look for me or mention that we've been talking."

She raised an eyebrow. "Why ever would that be?" she said dryly, then shook her head. "How will we reach one another?"

"I'll get word to you when we've found a sanctuary."

"But Robert... I want to know where he is. I want to see him."

"You will."

"I want to help. I owe Robert that much."

"You know, Fiona... I rather like having more offers of help than tasks that need to be done right now. I wasn't expecting it."

"You're not a mother yet."

A stream of broken daydreams swirled through Tonks's mind, images of empty cradles and lonely age, and she forced herself to smile politely. "No," she said. "I don't suppose I am."

Apparently realizing she'd said something upsetting, Fiona backed away, and sat down at her desk again. "Miss Tonks?"


"I'll file Lupin's registration papers next month. He won't be expected for another three years."

Tonks thought about thanking her, decided that would be too much of an acknowledgment of what they weren't discussing, and nodded curtly. She left, making up another few lines about non-existent northern victims as she went. Fiona responded impatiently and told her not to waste any more of the Unit's time with Muggle rumors.

She let herself out of the Ministry. For early November--especially this year--it was fairly warm, but raining lightly, and she drew her cloak around herself to keep dry. She thought about going to Grimmauld Place, but couldn't face the memories, even if Molly had been trying to make it look homey again. She had a feeling it wouldn't take her long to start looking around for Sirius to see if he had any ideas, and she really didn't have time to go mad today.

Instead, she wandered aimlessly toward Diagon Alley, ignoring the Muggles who looked oddly at her long cloak (one woman asked her if it was for a Ren Fair). She reached the Leaky Cauldron around three o'clock and ordered a meal without thinking about it. Her mind was off on its own, trying to make connections. Most of her clumsiest episodes had come when she was like this, trying to come up with answers and just a bit unplugged from the world, but this time, she managed not to trip over anything. Mousy brown hair apparently did wonders for the coordination. Quite a discovery, that.

Tom brought her dinner and beer himself--he seemed relieved to have a fairly full house tonight, and she picked around the problem as she ate.

What did she have to work with? A ruby from a water sprite (in return for a service she had yet to perform, she reminded herself), a series of gates that wouldn't let dark creatures through them, an inside spy who wouldn't tell her where he was, the Shrieking Shack, Fiona Crowley, and Bill Weasley. She supposed Dumbledore might be willing to help Fiona and her new family disappear--he'd indicated in the past that he had ways to do so--but until they had a good way to get Robert Alderman out...

She frowned.

If Robert went--especially if he disappeared cleanly at the same time as his surviving family--Greyback would try to go to ground. Even if Voldemort prevented him from doing so completely, he would hide the pups who were left. If they were to get out, it would have to be at the same time.

Which didn't make the problem any easier, or give her any fresh ideas.

Well, you could always find one of those gates, kill a child for his bones, bleed a dark creature, activate a dark spell, and let a pack of feral werewolves into the Forbidden Forest. That would work prettily. No ethical problems there.

She rubbed her forehead. Maybe they could find a gate that would work for dark creatures, and send them... where? The Black Forest? For all she knew, that was Greyback's back-up lair. And how would she get them from one place to another, at any rate?

She needed to know more about where Remus was, where the Alderman boy wanted to escape from. She finished her beer and got up absently to go to the bar and get another, and turned directly into a young witch laden with packages.

"Oh," she said. "I'm sorry. And here's me just thinking I was getting better about this--"

A package was snatched out of her hand, and she looked up for the first time at the witch she'd collided with.

Fleur Delacour looked every inch the veela at the moment, and not as an entrancing siren. She looked, in fact, like she was ready to peck Tonks's eyes out.

"Fleur! I--"

"Quite a lot of work you 'ave," she said. "I can see 'ow busy you are." She summoned a fallen package and pushed her way out before Tonks could say another word.
24 comments or Leave a comment
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: March 1st, 2006 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a gate near the female werewolf area that Tonks doesn't yet know about, right? She probably needs to before she can solve this, but does Remus know that she needs to know about gates?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
No... and I've got to figure out how to bring the subject up! Especially since they canonically can't talk until after Christmas!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 1st, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Use Bill?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, at Christmas, Remus says he hasn't talked to anybody for a couple of months. I have holiday plans. It's just a question of stalling a bit.
wychwood From: wychwood Date: March 1st, 2006 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool :) I'm looking forward to seeing how you resolve all this!

Just one thing, though - as far as I know, we don't have "Ren Fairs" in the UK at all. It's a concept I've only ever encountered in American contexts. You could maybe try "fancy dress party" or something instead, if you're bothered.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh-oh. I had Alan and Anna attend one last year; Tonks talked to them at the jousting. (Which isn't Ren, exactly--more medieval--but of course what we call a Ren Faire is largely medieval.) I can probably just take out the reference entirely.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 1st, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, we brits definitely do have re-enactment fairs, that's where I got my own cloak :)
wychwood From: wychwood Date: March 1st, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know we have re-enactment fairs, it's just that in my experience they've tended to be, you know, rooms full of tables and people selling stuff in a fairly jumble-sale kind of way, rather than what I understand to be the Ren Faire concept, which is a proper out-door pseudo-mediaeval *fair*, with everyone in costume and often also in role, with period-style food and entertainment. And if you've ever been to a re-enactment fair like that, I want to know where it is, because I've never seen it! :) Blackbird Leys was *nowhere near* that exciting.
humantales From: humantales Date: March 1st, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I so like Fiona. I just hope she gets her son back.

And I like this paragraph as well: "Well, you could always find one of those gates, kill a child for his bones, bleed a dark creature, activate a dark spell, and let a pack of feral werewolves into the Forbidden Forest. That would work prettily. No ethical problems there."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope Fiona's new husband is an understanding sort of person...
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: March 1st, 2006 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tonks really needs to get Remus's attention now, and he needs to listen.

Fleur... poor girl. But can't she realize that maybe Tonks had taken a break? Though I guess if she's been rejected so much, I can see her overreaction. I mean, I have no problem thinking Molly would purposely do that. Or Ginny.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, Tonks is not only having a casual beer, she's also almost five hundred miles south of where she's meant to be working.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: March 1st, 2006 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
France? Could they go to France?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I'm sure Greyback can have eyes in France--it's not exactly disappearing entirely...

:shuffles to cover some things more decently:
chengiz From: chengiz Date: March 1st, 2006 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice! I like how you've managed to make this relatively short piece of proce multitask so effortlessly: you remind us of what's hapened so far and what "weapons" Tonks possesses, you show Tonks puzzling out things which is quite rare in the fandom, you advance the plot smoothly, and you manage to keep Tonks in the haze of depression and confusion all through it. The Fleur bit at the end is the perfect icing on a delicious cake.

-Olympe Maxime, who again cannot be bothered to sign out of her husband's LJ.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I'm glad it seemed effortless. ;p

I'm actually surprised by how little we see people puzzling things out in fic. Harry spends a decent amount of time doing it in canon.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: March 1st, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the list of what she had to work with. In a longer fic such as this, that can come in handy.

Poor Fleur! She thinks Bill is interested in Tonks!

Oh, and Fern, I'll have you know my friend was exhausted one day last week because I recommended he read Shifts, and he read the entire thing in one night. If that doesn't tell you you're a heck of a writer, I imagine nothing will.

Keep up the fabulous work, and update soon!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Yeah, it's useful for me to remember what I've got on her plate as well. I think it's time for some more leaves to intrude.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 1st, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
First of all, I've been reading your stories at the Quill and now here for a couple of years and I absolutely love your writing. Thanks for 'Shifts' and 'Shades' -- it makes the gaps between books bearable.

Secondly this bit caught my eye:

'Your Mr. Lupin was the first time anyone really understood what he meant to do. The others had disappeared. The Lupins got their son back. That was the first time that had happened, and they'd got quite an earful on the subject.'

But did anyone know about this? No one at school knew Remus was a werewolf when he was a student (i.e. the prank Sirius pulled on Snape) and obviously the public still didn't know in PoA, otherwise Remus wouldn't have had to quit. Maybe the story was known but the names were kept anonymous? I guess Fiona would have access to files and such.

Anyway, thanks again.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 1st, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, my assumption is that their anonymity is protected, but if there's a Werewolf Registry (which is mentioned somewhere or other), then it means they have to Register, so someone in the Ministry knew. The teachers at Hogwarts all presumably knew as well.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 1st, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ren Fairs

I hadn't heard of them in the UK either. There is the Sealed Knot which does re-enactments etc of Civil War battles (English not American, with Cavaliers and Roundheads) and posibly other stuff too (they've got a web site which would tell you) and there's also the Richard III society which I think may do dress-up (but that would need checking).
From: bangcollision Date: March 2nd, 2006 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that his mother has turned out to be so nice and caring and understanding and oooooh.

Oh god I feel so sorry for both Fleur and Tonks. Fleur seeing the woman she knows to be competition for Bill in other's eyes that she reaches out to but the woman declines. Then Tonks being in the sticky situation.

Oh are they ever going to work it out?
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 2nd, 2006 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm surprised they haven't come up with the tried-and-true method of escape: namely faking Alderman's death and smuggling him somewhere under a Fidelius Charm (maybe where he can get private tutoring?) while his mother and her new family go about their lives as usual (at least publicly)and see him whenever they can. Remus would be off the hook and free to come up with ways to rescue the other "pups". As long as Greyback though Fiona wasn't involved he would probably still feel smug that he'd had Alderman all these years while his mother thought him dead.

Greyback's history is creepy and appropriete.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: March 2nd, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I like. So many things going on....

Your Greyback backstory is just...*incoherent noise of discomfort* ("nyuh," maybe? :) ), but it totally works. He seems like just the sort of sadistic monster who would have deliberately done something like that.

I love that Fiona turns out to be an unexpected ally for Tonks, and totally willing to take Robert back, now that she knows he's alive. And then Tonks, who doesn't actually have a plan to present yet, because there's so much that still needs figuring out. And Fiona offering to file Remus' papers -- actions speak, don't they? Having her go from a bit antagonistic about his upcoming registration renewal date to making it easier for him, so he can continue what he's doing. (Okay, maybe not easier in that he has to spend more time with the pack, but...you know.)

And then running into Fleur. Whoops! A total coincidence, but for all that Tonks has a reason to be in London, she can't exactly tell Fleur, can she? Oh, what a tangled web we weave....

Keep up the great work! I hope you're enjoying the writing, even when you're having trouble, as much as we're all enjoying reading the unfolding story. :)
24 comments or Leave a comment