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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 21: Bad Habits, pt. 2
I left Tonks and Bill in a compromising position--they've been drinking wine and Tonks lets out a little of her worry that she's not going to be able to figure out how to get the pups away from Greyback. Bill is comforting her when Fleur surprises him by dropping in saying, "Happy birthday," just as he and Tonks are physically very close.

I think I'm going to change the title of this chapter, as it's not going where I intended it to go. I don't know what I'm changing it to, though, so I'll leave it alone for now.

Bill smiled brightly. "Fleur!" he said, going to her with his arms open. "I thought you were stuck in France."

"I... er... Madame Cuvier was feeling better, so I... eh... for you birthday..." She looked at Tonks in a confused sort of way, then lowered her eyebrows and glared at Bill. "Am I eenterupteeng?"

Bill laughed heartily and shook his head. Looking at Fleur, Tonks supposed she knew why it would be a laughable subject. "No," he said. "We were just talking about Order business."

"Over wine? And ze fire?"

"Yes," Bill said, still amused as he led her to the sofa. "I'm afraid so. Tonks was over for dinner with Mum and Dad, and we all got talking over wine afterward. Mum and Dad just went upstairs."

"I'm sorry, Fleur," Tonks said. "I suppose that did look horrible."

Fleur gave her a tight little smile. "Yes. A bit."

Bill sat down beside her and kissed her cheek, then laced his fingers through hers. "I'm glad you came back," he said. "But I'm afraid I can't provide you with a grand romantic drama tonight. Just talking about werewolves." He raised an eyebrow at Tonks. "Do you mind if I explain what we were discussing? I've never had much patience with those stories where everyone misunderstands everyone else, and all anyone needs to do is sit down and map it out."

"Do you really want to involve her in it?"

"If Bill is eenvolved, I am eenvolved already," Fleur said.

Tonks nodded. "Fair enough. I'm the last person to argue with that reasoning this year."

Bill did most of the talking, Tonks interrupting him only long enough to fill in some of Greyback's history. He skirted the issue of Tonks's muddled relationship with Remus, for which she was grateful. Fleur listened attentively, and when Bill finished, she frowned.

"And why deedn't you talk to me?"

"Well, Greyback is very dangerous and--"

"And I can 'elp." She shook her head. "When will you learn to ask me for 'elp?"

"How can you help?" Tonks asked. "I mean, not to interrupt your scolding of Bill, but how?"

"My grandmuzzer," Fleur said. "After she married my grandfazzer, she did not, eh... how to explain..." She bit her lip. "Ze Veela did not want 'er again. And after my grandfazzer died, she wanted to go back to ze mountains. So she went alone. But ozzers found her. And zey... zey have a... mmm..."

"A sanctuary?" Tonks suggested.

"Yes, yes. Sanctuary. Some veela, some 'ouse elves 'oo were turned out, a few banshees. A vampire comes and goes. Eet is a village in ze mountains. Ze French Ministry knows very leetle about it, and zey ask no questions."

Tonks considered the information, kicking herself for forgetting Fleur's veela grandmother--she would have paths into the world of dark creatures. Of course, the children were only dark creatures once a month, and veela and banshees and vampires... "These are children," she said. "And at least one will have his parents with him. Are they... safe?"

"Safer zan werewolves," Fleur said acidly. "Especially zis Greyback you spoke of." She sighed. "I wish I 'ad known before I went 'ome. I could 'ave visited and asked."

"I'll consider it a lesson learnt," Bill said. "When in doubt, talk to my fiancée."

"I can think of certain people who could benefit from that lesson," Tonks said. She sighed. "Well, I doubt many of the children know French, but in the scheme of things, I imagine it won't be the foremost problem on their minds. You're certain they would be in no danger while they're purely human?"

"My seester stays zere for two weeks every summer. Sometimes with a friend. Zere 'as never been a problem." She thought about it. "Ze vampire... eh. Ze older people geeve 'im some blood. 'E does not take eet."

"And the veela tempers?" Bill asked, cocking an eyebrow at her.

She stuck her tongue out at him. He winked; she blushed. And all was well.

Tonks felt suddenly weary. "I'm going to go home," she said. "I'll... well, Fleur. Perhaps we can talk about this?"

Fleur gave her a vague nod. "Yes. I will talk to my grandmuzzer."

"Yes... I..." Tonks stopped at the door, taking her cloak from the peg beside the door. "I don't know if she has any contact with other werewolves, but if she does... please make sure she doesn't mention it. I don't know how far Greyback's contacts go."

"Of course I would tell her this," Fleur said irritably. "'ow foolish would I need to be to not do so?"

"I'm sorry," Tonks said. "I'll go. I... happy birthday, Bill."

"Thank you." Bill stood up and walked her to the door. "I'll... er... well, we'll all talk soon." He gave her a sort of helpless smile. Fleur floated over to stand behind him.

Tonks smiled at her. "You have nothing to worry about," she said, and went out into the night. She Apparated back to Hogsmeade and looked up the hill at the Shrieking Shack. There was an extra bedroom she'd been meaning to get to work on, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. Instead, she went back to the Hog's Head and played with the cat for awhile--Granny was standoffish at first from being left alone too often, but she warmed to a gentle game of batting a foam ball around--then fell asleep to the warm purring against her chest.

She woke up early and was halfway down to the morning briefing before she remembered that she had the day off. Dawlish glared at her when she sat down to join them anyway, but no one had any pressing emergencies. Aberforth told her that Dumbledore was staying put for the moment, and since she and McGonagall had cleansed the valley at the far end of the lake, the Dementors had been scarce on the ground. She went back to her room and sat in front of her mirror, trying to find some way to tie her too-long hair up. She'd got a bit too used to making it coarse when she needed to hold it in place, and she was all thumbs when it came to making it stick to its pins. She'd never bothered to learn the charms the other girls used, because she'd never needed them.

Frustrated after fifteen minutes of this, she gave up and just made a short pony tail at the base of her neck, then spent some time concentrating as hard as she could on morphing the color of her eyes. She managed to lighten them a bit, but they darkened again quickly. She tried her nose for a bit, but nothing at all happened. Granny, sitting on the floor, watched all of this with some interest, lazily batting at hair pins that Tonks had thrown to the floor. Tonks picked her up and cuddled her. "I guess this is it, isn't it? What d'you think, Gran?" Granny didn't express an opinion. "Yeah, I know. Not awful, I suppose. Not someone to cheat on Fleur Delacour with--not that I would--but, it could be worse, couldn't it?" She sighed and kissed the top of Granny's head, getting a mouthful of graying fur for her trouble.

"Oh, no," someone said at the open door. "It's hideous. Really, Tonks. Brown hair? It just makes you repulsive."

"I thought you found me repulsive anyway, Sanjiv," she said. "I also thought you had a job."

"It was a contract. I finished it." He Conjured a chair beside hers and sat down in it backwards. "Dumbledore spoke to me yesterday. He told me how to get to headquarters. I guess I'm really in this mess now."

She looked at him suspiciously. "When I went to visit you the summer after sixth year, why did I leave early?"

He blushed. "Because too much truth-telling wasn't healthy for us. And I'd rather not relive it."

Tonks nodded. That wasn't something anyone else, including Daffy and Maddie, would know about. "Dumbledore's not sending you on some mad assignment, is he? Infiltrating the Muggle-born Artists For Voldemort or some such thing?"

Sanjiv cocked his head thoughtfully. "Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I actually tried to start such a thing. Put ads in the Prophet, make posters..."

"Well, it would probably draw Aunt Bella out, but let's not try it, all right?"

"He said you could show me the place when you have time." Sanjiv produced a note on a small bit of parchment, signed by Dumbledore, to this effect. "As you've got the day off...?" He shrugged. "What do you say?"

Granny gave an imperious meow and stalked over to the window.

"Does that cat actually understand us?" Sanjiv asked.

"Don't they all?" She got up and scooped the cat off the floor and set her on the windowsill--the jump was too high for her these days--and looked across the village. There were still pockets of Dementor-induced fog, but they were shrinking in the daylight. "Do you think children would be safe around a Veela?"

He shrugged--she caught the movement out of the corner of her eye--and said, "As long as they don't cheat on her, I'd think so. They're all about men."

Tonks nodded, stroking the fur between Granny's ears. "And they don't have much use for other women."

"They only hate the beautiful ones, so you're safe."

"Oh, thank you so very much."

"You know I live to reassure you." He winked. "You know perfectly well you'd be hated by every Veela in Bulgaria. Are we going to London or not? You can take your cat if she's feeling abandoned."

"What d'you say, Gran? Care to visit my ancestral haunts?"
11 comments or Leave a comment
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: April 3rd, 2006 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I think your Fleur is perfect.
caitie From: caitie Date: April 3rd, 2006 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree. I liked Fleur a lot. Looking forward to the next part!
From: tunxeh Date: April 3rd, 2006 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never had much patience with those stories where everyone misunderstands everyone else, and all anyone needs to do is sit down and map it out.

Me neither. Very amusing line, though a bit distractingly meta. And good to see Sanjiv again.
rainingtulips From: rainingtulips Date: April 3rd, 2006 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I rather like your Fleur. She's perfectly likable, intelligent, and there's just enough flaws in her personality to make you understand how the Weasley women's over-protectiveness could morph her into some heinous French monster.

And, also, more Sanjiv! Your OCs are quite fantastic!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: April 3rd, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with Hexnut - I am heartily with Bill's sentiment in wanting to clear things up, but his actual words are a bit too meta, and therefore, jarring. Also, I'm unclear as to whether Fleur now knows about Dora and Remus being a couple (they still are, of course they are, no matter how muleheaded Remus is)... You say Bill skirts the issue of the "muddled relationship" but is it just the muddled part he leaves out or is it the relationship altogether? Since you made a point of openness between couples here, I don't see the reason why Fleur shouldn't know that it's Remus that Dora is interested in.

Otherwise it's a great chapter. I loved how Bill handled Fleur's "walking in" on him and Dora. I like Sanjiv, thought I forget if you've told us about the uncomfortable-honesty incident. Is Sanjiv gay? (I don't know why I have that idea, but I do. Weird.)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: April 3rd, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
And did you take your W.O.M.B.A.T.s yet???

:D How cool is that?!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: April 3rd, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you mind if I explain what we were discussing? I've never had much patience with those stories where everyone misunderstands everyone else, and all anyone needs to do is sit down and map it out.
Oh my god, I *love* you. Ha!
hamletti From: hamletti Date: April 3rd, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


I have enjoyed both Shifts and Shades. You actually made sense of parts of OotP that made it more believable as a story. I took a chance on you having a lj. So glad I did! Is it alright if I friend you?

sunsethill From: sunsethill Date: April 4th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Do you mind if I explain what we were discussing? I've never had much patience with those stories where everyone misunderstands everyone else, and all anyone needs to do is sit down and map it out."

I haven't been reviewing much as we go along, but I had to say how much I like this line. I'm not sure what the concerns about it being "meta" mean above (maybe it just means you need to rework the phrasing some?), but I think it illustrates Bill's down-to-earth nature quite well--as well as being funny. I also really like that Fleur can actually contribute something to the problem and I think you make us remember that she should actually be quite an accomplished witch.
From: ironicsarcasm Date: April 4th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hello, I'm currently reading "Shifts" and I'm hoping to finish it quite soon so I can start on "Shades"..

Now, one question: What ratings are Shifts and Shades? Can't find them rated anywhere and I would very much like to know.

Great fics anyway, so keep it up!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 4th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Shifts is PG-ish. Shades... mostly PG-13, though parts of the werewolf chapters are probably pushing an R for themes.
11 comments or Leave a comment