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Shades, Chapter 22: French Leave, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 22: French Leave, pt. 1
Oh, dear, it's been awhile.

Remus missed his monthly check-in, but Moody was able to ascertain that he wasn't injured, though they couldn't talk. Tonks and Bill discussed the rescue of Alderman and the other children, and Fleur, rather annoyed that she hadn't been consulted earlier, proposed sending them to her grandmother in France, if they could get them out. Tonks welcomed Sanjiv to to the Order and brought him to Grimmauld Place, where her cat knocked over a box containing Sirius's teeth, which she realizes can fill a function in a dark spell... if it turns out to be useful.

Question help: What's a good mountainous area of France which is remote, not touristy, and a likely place for Fleur's grandmother and her weird little commune to hang out without being noticed?

When Tonks returned to Hogsmeade, there was no chance to follow up on dark spells or free werewolves or Sanjiv's curious questions about life in the Order. Christmas presents had started to drift in for Hogwarts students, from old friends or more distant family than they'd be returning to, and the school had been sending out regular reminders that packages would be checked. Everyone had apparently came to the conclusion that it would be wise to send things at the beginning of December, and boxes were piled up at the post office. An ill-tempered Dawlish snapped at Tonks that she'd have to add a shift doing this, as the rest of them were. "Half the damned senders have left us nasty notes about opening the packages. You'd think they'd be glad someone was making sure that no one was slipping cursed-damned-opals to their little darlings and using a blocking or disguising spell in the paper." He pulled one such note out, scanned it, and tossed it to the floor. On it, Tonks could read, ...and mind you don't jostle it, it's breakable...

Tonks sighed and sat down across from him. "Well, no one likes their private things gone through when they know full well they're not sending anything dangerous."

"And of course, we know it's really from who it says it's from, and that we can trust everyone sending packages."

Tonks picked up a brown-paper wrapped package addressed to "M. Belby," and resigned herself to the search.

The packages flew in at an alarming rate over the next two weeks, and between that and guard duty for the Ministry and for Dumbledore, who absented himself from the school again, Tonks had next to no time for scrubbing at the Shrieking Shack or addressing the matter of Robert Alderman and his family. She spoke briefly to Dumbledore about helping them disappearing--preferably long before Robert did, so that Greyback wouldn't make the connection--offering Fleur's suggestion as a destination, but he was also in and out of Hogsmeade, and she didn't expect him to do anything.

She certainly didn't expect him to kill Fiona Crowler and her entire family two days later.

"It will be an accident," he said gravely, staring out the window of her room at the Hog's Head. "Rowan Lovegood has agreed to print such an outlandish take on it that no one will question that it was an accident."

"The Quibbler...?"

"I am not above learning from my students," Dumbledore said. "Lovegood's daughter, Luna, hides nothing from him, and he has been trustworthy with the information she gave him while they traveled last summer. I thought he would be a likely ally in this. And Miss Granger demonstrated the usefulness of having friends in the press."

"What's he going to do? Suggest that Stubby Boardman killed them?"

Dumbledore grinned. "I imagine it will be something of that nature."

"Why not just make it look like the other disappearances?"

"Because, alas, Lord Voldemort is well aware of those disappearances, and would certainly find it suspicious if the family of one of Greyback's victims matched the pattern when he knows perfectly well that he didn't arrange it." He checked his pocketwatch. "I'll need to hurry," he said. "Are you off duty this evening?"

"For once."

"Good. Make sure that no one is watching the Shrieking Shack. And ask Miss Delacour to join you there." He left.

Fleur arrived importantly thirty minutes later, looking pleased with herself, and engaged Tonks in an animated conversation about the club they were allegedly going to visit together, at least until they were out of earshot of the Hog's Head. Then she grew quiet. "I spoke to my grandmuzzer," she said as soon as they'd reached the Shrieking Shack and cast spells to keep curious eyes and ears away (it was closely related to the one used to protect the pitch at the Quidditch World Cup, not nearly as strong, but modified to include witches and wizards). "She and ze ozzers are 'appy to 'elp."

"Thank you, Fleur."

Fleur gave her a guarded look. "You'll come with us zis time?"

"If it's all right."

"Yes, yes. She is... curious. She 'as never met a mayta... er... I'm sorry. I do not use zis word often. Metamofe--"

Tonks laughed. "It took me seven years to learn how to say it, and I needed it. 'Metamorphmagus.' But I don't think I'll be able to entertain her much this year."

"I'm sorry," Fleur said sheepishly, an unusual and oddly attractive expression for her. "My grandmuzzer sees it all as a grand adventure. She 'as not 'ad much to do seence my grandfazzer died."

"How did they meet?" Tonks asked. "Your grandparents, I mean."

Fleur shrugged. "Eh. It is not exciting, really. My grandfazzer was studying ze Veela in Bulgaria, and my grandmuzzer took a liking to 'im." She smiled faintly. "'E was not so quick. 'E thought she was only one more Veela. She decided to show 'im. She does not like being dismissed. Zey fell in love and went back to France. She tried living 'uman for a bit, but--"

The night was broken by three quick pops, and a high-pitched, terrified wailing.

"Shh," Fiona Crowler said, picking up girl with fine blonde hair. "Oh, shh, shh. It's all right."

"I'll take her," a man said, reaching for her. He was already carrying a small boy on one hip, but he had big strong arms, and there was room for both of them. The girl went easily. The man looked lost, checking his children repeatedly, as if to make sure they were really there.

"Fiona," Tonks said.

Fiona bit her lip and nodded.

"Er... you said you would do something. What was it?"

"I said I'd cover Lupin's registration," she said. "And what did you tell me to cover for being there?"

"Werewolf attacks in the Orkneys, though anyone could have heard me say that."

Fiona's lips quivered. "I'm sorry. I'm not thinking clearly. I--"

"Shh," Tonks said.

The little girl continued to cry, and her father continued to soothe her. Her brother patted her wrist.

"Fleur," Tonks said. "Open the house."

Fleur did the spells quickly and let everyone into the garden. A cold drizzle was starting. The girl looked up at the many boarded windows and wailed something about ghosts.

"It's just for a while," Crowler told her, though he was also looking at the place suspiciously.

"It's not haunted," Tonks said. "Any more than you're all dead. Come in."

She led them inside, glad that it was in better shape than it had been. She'd repaired most of the chairs in the parlor, and she led them to it. Fiona looked for a long time at the drawing above the fireplace, but said nothing about it. "This is my husband Roald," Fiona said. "And my children, Jason and Electa." She burst into tears. "It's done, isn't it? It's really done."

"I want Miss Vera!" Electa said. "I want Miss Vera and she burnt up!"

At this, Jason started to wail.

"Miss Vera is her doll?"

"Our cat," Fiona said. "And she didn't burn up, Ellie. She went out, and Professor Dumbledore will bring her to us." She gave Roald a guarded look.

He nodded. "You'll get Miss Vera back," he said.

"M-m-my BOOKS!" Electa cried, and Roald winced. "I want my books!" She fell onto the floor, weeping into the carpet.

Fleur stepped tentatively into the room. "'ow did... eh...?"

"An accident," Roald said numbly. "We staged an accident. Potion. Explosion. The house..." He fell silent again, then frowned at Fleur. "Who are you?"

"This is Fleur Delacour," Tonks said. "She's got a safe place for you to go."

Roald nodded. "Yes. Dumbledore explained. Of course. Thank you. Veela. Fascinating." He blinked. "I'm a magizoolist," he offered.


There was an awkward silence, except for Electa's continued tears, and Tonks looked uncomfortably at Fiona. "We're going to get Robert soon," she said. "We want to pull the others out as well. We're afraid that Greyback will hide them once Robert goes."

"He will. Will their families come?"

"Probably not."

"When are you going to try?" Roald asked.

"I need to speak to someone," Tonks said. "Find out what we have to work with there. Hopefully, it will be January." She sighed. "But we'll need to make sure that Greyback doesn't suspect anything when you drop out of sight. If he starts watching Robert too closely..."

"You'd stop doing it?" Fiona interjected shrilly. "After--?"

"No, no!" Tonks assured her. "But it may take time to deflect any suspicion. We'll see. Maybe he won't suspect a thing."

"It will give us time to settle in," Roald said.

On the floor, Electa's tears had finally trailed off, and she crawled over to her mother. "I want to go home," she said.

"And so you shall."

Tonks looked up. Dumbledore was standing in the doorway, a gray and white cat in his arms. He carried to Electa, and lowered it into her arms.

"You'll go to a new home," he said. "Miss Delacour... if you would lead the way?"
14 comments or Leave a comment
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: April 16th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
"This Fleur Delacour,"

Needs an "is"

I thought that Fiona and family really did die. Gave me quite a start.

Happy Passover, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 16th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Got it, thanks. :)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: April 16th, 2006 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
The Basque area, between Spain and France. Notoriously unfriendly to strangers, except along the St. James pilgrimage route, it may serve your needs.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 16th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Also offers possibilities for playing with Salazar's name being from that region, though I understand the details are off. ;)
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 16th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also the setting of a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery involving a lot of magic by Lord Peter which he later explains in proper, Scooby Doo fashion as trickery and science.

Just thinking that the same story works if it was about a witch or wizard rescuing the Muggle wife of an abusive wizard and who then has to rationalize the events to her Muggle friends. Also, it has the same basic theme of danger and faked disappearance followed up by having to take refuge in foriegn climes. Of course, in the story that meant going from Basque country to England, instead of the other way around, but I find myself wondering if anyone in Fleur's grandmother's neighborhood would recognize this story?

hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: April 17th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, it's called something like "The Surprising Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey," and that's one of my favorites! Basque country was my first thought, too.
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: April 16th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Caught a typo... "Everyone had apparently came to the conclusion".

Poor Tonks. Is she getting constant migraines yet? ;)

I'd love to see them use part of the old Maginot Line for this...but...I really don't know how we'll that'd work, seeing as it's man-made and probably visited by tourists on occasion.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: April 17th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
She certainly didn't expect him to kill Fiona Crowler and her entire family two days later.

Ha! That's a great line. Well done, and glad to see more updates. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2006 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fern,

coming from the spanish Basque Country, the french side is not a bad recommendation, but I would move a bit further east. You were talking about a remote, montanious area where the kids wouldn´t attract a lot of attention, and I would vote for the area between Tarbes and Carcasonne. I know it´s a lot of ground, but with the new low-cost airlines flying from Great Britain into Toulouse, it´s becoming pretty easy to reach, and not so touristy as it might sound. I have met a couple of english people who have bought very, very cheap small farms in order to renovate them, so people in the area wouldn´t find strange to find some Brits living there almost cut off from the civilization.

It is also an area that has always served as a refuge, either to the cathars or to fugitives from the spanish civil war or people being persecuted by the Nazis ... so it wouldn´t be so strange for Fleur´s grandmother to have found refuge there maybe sometime during the II World War and then have built her little haven. It would also have been a fine place for french friends of the Delacours to have allowed their kids to go on holidays, thinking that it would be less touristy and the nature less spoilt than in the basque country (although there you can have plenty of beaches and great surf championships ...).

A couple of links :


And ... I just want to tell you that I love your stories. I found "Swifts" in SQ, and I began to follow you almost religiously ... I was so happy when I found your LJ ... Last week I was on holidays in Cordoba, and I didn´t check the internet, so the first thing I did yesterday upon returning home was checking the mail and checking if you have updated "Shades". Thanks a lot !

Rgds, Cova
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that sounds perfect, especially with the nice historical connections! Thanks!
sannalim From: sannalim Date: April 17th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tonks picked up a brown-paper wrapped package addressed to "M. Belby," and resigned herself to the search.

Is there an HP reason why "Belby" is setting off bells in my brain, or is it from something other than HP that I'm finding the name familar?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2006 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's in the Slug Club (uncle invented Wolfsbane Potion, actually).
From: maxzook Date: April 22nd, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)


Should that be "magizoologist"?
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 1st, 2006 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent extention, though we all know Stubby is actually Regulus and you should be careful not to "out" him!

Mini boo-boo:
"Shh," Fiona Crowler said, //picking up girl with fine blonde hair\\. "Oh, shh, shh. It's all right."

14 comments or Leave a comment