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Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 2
Remus has snuck away from the pack for Christmas, and is staying at the Burrow with the kids. He leaves there early in the morning to meet Dumbledore in Hogsmeade. Dumbledore fills him in on what's going on with the pups, then asks him to deflect Harry's suspicion from Draco as much as possible, because he (Dumbledore) is worried about trying to save Draco. He asks Remus for blind trust, if necessary, as repayment for the trust he gave Remus himself as a child.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Remus didn't answer immediately. Too many questions were in his mind, too many objections. It was a dangerous game Dumbledore was playing, an incredible gamble on a boy who had shown no sign of wanting this kind of rescue. And Harry, after last year's debacle, had to feel useless and impotent as it was, and--


"I'll consider it," he said.

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "Consider it?"

"Draco Malfoy is in a position to do damage."

"Severus Snape is close to him. Severus will keep him in control."

Remus nodded. "All right."

"Very well, then." Dumbledore raised his wand and waved it lazily. Two brightly colored packages appeared. "The red one is from me," he said. "Miss Tonks has left for a few days, and thought you might prefer to receive her well-wishes in private, rather than receiving an owl at the Weasleys'."

Remus took them, feeling vaguely disappointed. "Thank you," he said. "She's left, then?"

"She gave me the gift for you yesterday."

"I didn't bring you anything."

"You're educating and rescuing several children. That is a gift to any number of people."

"I didn't bring Tonks anything, either."

"Stay alive," Dumbledore said. "For Nymphadora, I expect that will be the greatest of gifts." He stood up. "And with that, I will wish you a happy Christmas. Do try to enjoy yourself. It will make Molly happy if you eat a great deal."

"Happy Christmas," Remus said absently, following Dumbledore to the trap door and helping him down. "Will you be all right getting out from under the Willow?"

"It's not nearly as steep, but thank you for the thought." He started down the tunnel, then turned around. "Remus," he said, "you have become an extraordinary man. I'm glad I had faith in you."

"I wish I shared your faith in Malfoy."

"I'm not certain I would call it faith." Dumbledore thought about it. "Hope, perhaps. If you have room to carry it, I'd be happy to share hope for him."

"Hope hasn't stored well for me this year."

"Might I suggest not throwing it away from yourself with all your strength? It does tend to sour when spilled."

They smiled at each other, and Remus closed the trapdoor. He listened to Dumbledore retreat toward Hogwarts until the footsteps faded entirely, then returned to the parlor and looked at the packages. Dumbledore's was a large, flat envelope; Dora's was unmistakably a book. As he wasn't planning to return before Christmas, he decided to open it. There was a short note on top.

Dear Remus--
Happy Christmas. The big part of my present is that I am being entirely cheerful right now, and I want you to have a lovely time at the Burrow, and not think about all of our nonsense. Well, except for the nonsense in the package, which I hope you will take in the spirit intended--a happy memory of a great deal of fun.
Your own,

Curiously, Remus pulled the wrapping paper away from the book, and grinned as soon as he saw the cover. They'd spent a good portion of the previous spring reading a tawdry romance called Hadria's Hope aloud to one another. Dora, somehow, had located a sequel to the silly thing, called Garabi's Grace. The cover showed a young, brown-haired witch standing on the inevitable rocky seashore, with the fated wind whipping her long, filmy robes around. High on a bluff, Remus recognized a bad drawing of Hadria, the heroine of the last novel, and at the feet of the younger witch--presumably Garabi--a wizard in black robes groveled in the sand. He laughed and turned it over to read the text on the back, which informed him that this would be the story of how Hadria's daughter came to marry and save the wicked Meleagant. Dora had stuck another note onto this, saying, Well, you did say you thought it needed more development.

Still laughing, he put the book in one tattered pocket. "Happy Christmas, Dora," he muttered, and turned to Dumbledore's present.

It took him a moment to understand what he was looking at when he slid the sheaf of official-looking papers out of the envelope, and he stopped laughing as it sank in.

The papers all bore seals from Muggle government agencies, and listed marks for classes such as Latin and Medieval History. All of them were reasonable facsimiles of classes he'd taken at Hogwarts, and the final sheet of paper in the sheaf listed several courses in education. Dumbledore had attached a note to this one. I took the liberty of discussing your educational acheivements with a friend in the Muggle liaison office, and we worked with a Ministerial aide to find the equivalent degrees. I'm afraid, Mr. Lupin, that your abysmal Potions marks do not merit a passing mark in chemistry. But your other qualifications are quite legitimate, and after some bargaining, your apprenticeship was accepted as educational theory, with the article you composed in nineteen-eighty-seven on approaches to mental blocks accepted as a thesis. You are two classes and an examination away from a legitimate Qualified Teacher Status certification. I expect you to use it well. We will discuss the means for you to achieve these last requirements when other matters are less pressing.

Remus looked at it for a long while, the mad idea in his mind that he could take it, that he could teach in a Muggle comprehensive school on a day schedule, earn a living... he could hide his illness; it was only one day a month...

His hands were shaking, and the papers made a rattling sound in the house. Quickly, he put them back into the envelope, ran up the stairs, and put them all in the desk, replacing his wand beside them. Something rattled toward the back of the drawer, and he reached in, groping for the hard object. He pulled it out.

A ruby.

A large ruby.

He had no idea how it had got there, or why in the world Dora would have left it there, so he put it back, setting it carefully beside his wand. He let his hand linger on the papers for a moment, then shut the drawer and Apparated back to the Burrow.

"Bloody-- damn-- !"

He turned his head. Fred Weasley was hopping in the vegetable garden (which Arthur kept magically warm), a handful of carrots in one hand, and a brown garden gnome in the other.

"Are you all right?" Remus asked, heading over.

Fred didn't notice which direction he'd come from, and just passed the gnome and carrots over. "Stupid thing bit me," he said, and tapped his ankle with his wand. "It has sharp teeth."

Remus turned the gnome around and looked at it. "Mine are sharper," he said.

Fred laughed. "Yeah, I reckon they are. Are you just coming in?"

"I had a walk."

"Without your cloak?"

"I'm hopeless that way."

They went back into the house, where Ginny had set herself up in the living room amid stacks and stacks of colored paper, which she was twining into long paper chains. She waved cheerfully. "Do you want to help decorate, Professor Lupin?"

"Perhaps later," Remus said. "And you can call me Remus, if you'd like."

Ginny shrugged.

Fred took the carrots and the gnome, stunning the latter and tossing it to Ginny. "Here. Didn't you say you needed an angel for the tree?"

Ginny laughed, and the two of them settled into the happy routine of decorations. Remus went back up to Bill's room, where he was sleeping, and discovered that Molly had set out a pair of Arthur's trousers and the jumper she'd knitted for him last year. He put them on gratefully, though both were vastly too large for him now. Garabi's Grace fell from the pocket of his robes as he folded them, and he picked it up fondly, lying down on the bed and flipping through it casually. By the first impression, it made Hadria's Hope look like classic literature, and by the time Meleagant told Garabi that he wanted to "stir her delicate pink cauldron," Remus gave up trying to read, because, given the general thrust--so to speak--a "throbbing wand of flesh" was bound to appear at any moment, he didn't want to explain to the whole house what he was laughing at.

Of course, when he went back down to the kitchen and found Molly innocently stirring a cauldron full of strawberries and cream, the laughter came anyway, but he was unable to get further than "delicate... pink... you don't want to know," before he gave up the explanation as a bad job and just set about helping her chop vegetables while she told him about the potions she'd learned in her Kwikspell course.

By the time Fleur wandered in, looking like she'd spent several hours being pampered instead of just getting up from a camp bed in Ginny's room, the conversation had drifted into a more normal range, and Remus felt a bit silly for his laughing fit.

"May I 'elp?" Fleur asked Molly.

Molly smiled tightly. "No, dear. Remus and I are almost through."

Fleur looked at him, her eyebrows drawn together, then turned with a petulant sigh. "'As Bill got word from zat Tonks?" she asked.

Molly's jaw dropped. "No, dear," she said. "I don't believe Bill is up yet, honestly, and there's no particular reason why Tonks would send him word." She looked apologetically at Remus.

Remus said nothing.

Fleur frowned deeply at him, then said, "Well, I suppose she 'as many people to contact. Bill was not expecting to 'ear from 'er until later this week, but I thought she might make an effort to--"

"Later, Fleur," Molly said, and something thudded hard against the wall.

Remus looked down and realized that he'd been pressing the flat of a knife against a carrot stub, and it had flown across the room. He hadn't been prepared to hear Dora's name casually.

And he didn't become prepared for it, no matter how often it was mentioned during the course of the day, once inadvertantly by Molly (who looked horrified) and twice casually by Ginny (who had no idea what was going on), but mostly by Fleur, who seemed to find an odd excuse to mention Dora every fifteen minutes or so, often in a somewhat hostile tone of voice. After several of these mentions, Remus caught her looking at him, as if gaging his reaction. Even Bill looked confused by this. He managed not to respond to it, but by the time the sun had set and Molly had gathered everyone in the living room to listen to Celestina Warbeck's annual broadcast, his nerves were frayed, and the only things echoing in his mind, over and over, were Dora's name and face, the memory of her hands on him, the soft smell of her hair. He sat by the fire, watching the flames dance, shifting their shapes in a sinuous dance, drawing her mutable eyes in flashing sparks...

He was barely aware of it when Harry started talking to Arthur Weasley nearby. If he'd chosen a different spot for the conversation, Celestina would have drowned them out entirely.

But she didn't. And as Harry spoke, Remus realized that he'd finally decided to talk.

And he was talking about Draco Malfoy.
16 comments or Leave a comment
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: May 16th, 2006 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
ahaha, good old Fleur. Shock him, indeed. Hee.
(Love the teaching cert. stuff.)
(I really must start going to bed earlier...)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: May 16th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
How fantastic is Dumbledore, seriously??

I'm still reading, Fern, and still loving it - although not commenting as often. But definitely still reading/loving. :)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: May 16th, 2006 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Fleur. Interesting strategy....

And I love Dumbledore's Christmas present. Good man.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 16th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful segment, as usual. You just made my morning.

One typo--Remus caught her looking at him, as if gaging his reaction

From: underaloggia Date: May 16th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really good, Fern, on sooo many levels. 'stoo early in the morning for me to explain quite why, just--all very in character, and I love seeing how you intersect with canon, the way one person's plot is another person's subplot. (And the whole Malfoy thing just gives me the willies.)

sharonaf From: sharonaf Date: May 16th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)


Still enjoying!
I believe Fleur is guaging Remus's reaction.
Only other comment is that there are a lot of adverbs in the bit where he's changing and picking up the book Tonks gave him when he's at the Burrow.
And I love the image of him teaching at a regular school, with regular qualifications, when this is all over! Possibly not quite as much as I enjoy the image of him sitting in a classroom with other people going for a degree in education, but... :-D
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: May 16th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your Fleur. I absolutely love her. And there's a piece of canon coming up! I'd love to see what was going on in Lupin's head!
the_jackalope From: the_jackalope Date: May 16th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I love Fleur, she's being just wonderful.

I am really enjoying this story. Great work.
matril From: matril Date: May 16th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore's behavior here concering Draco reminds me a great deal of how he explains himself to Harry in Book Five. "I cared about you too much...more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed." And while it's different with Draco, because he's done nothing to prove himself anything but the spoiled son of a Death Eater, yet I think you've expressed it quite elegantly with the word hope. That's really what it comes down to, hope where everyone else has given up. And if that's a great flaw of Dumbledore's, well, it's certainly the most admirable flaw I've ever seen. This is so heart-breakingly good!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: May 16th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you spelled "gauging" as "gaging" somewhere in there (near the end, with reference to Fleur) - sorry, I'm in too much of a hurry to look for the exact sentence right now.

But overall this is a good section, and if it feels like a transitional section, that's probably because you intend it to perform just that function. What I mean is, this whole section seems to be in here for no other reason than to get Remus from time t1 to time t2, you know? Filler. We don't learn much in this, plotwise or character-wise, though of course it was heartwarming to see what Dumbledore is trying to do for Remus. Not to forget the cameo by Hadria's Hope, one of my favourite things about Shifts. (Will you ever be writing it? Pretty please?)

Anyway, I know the above sounds like a criticism (or maybe just a whiny complaint), and maybe you should try to tell us something new and interesting in this section (like in the last one, you showed us Dumbledore making a direct appeal for blind faith, something I really wanted to see happen at some point in JKR's books) - but it's a very well written section nevertheless, and I doubt the "nothing happening" part matters when it's viewed as part of the whole chapter. We LJ readers who get the story in installments tend to see things weirdly.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, that's my utterly pointless review for the day, thank you for your time. :P
sep12 From: sep12 Date: May 16th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
must. have. Shades. ... just a little bit more... I don't have a problem... I can stop at any time... I just need a little - to get me through the week...


I just love Dumbledore's gift to Remus, it seems very right. His faith in Remus never waivers at all, just like his hope for the good in others never ends, despite all the reasons not to have hope in others.

And Fleur is so lovely here, I always feel like she never quite gets a good shake in canon, but she is very likable in your fics.

I have been reading, but the semester has made it difficult to respond often. So, thanks muchly for giving those of us still in the college system a reason to take a break from studying before our brains revolt from facts. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 16th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely </i>love</i> your Dumbledore, and if you keep writing him after this story is done, I might even not mind so much that he died, as he's still alive in fic and all.

"Mine are sharper."

Yay! Remus made a werewolf joke!
From: tunxeh Date: May 17th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
"I wish I shared your faith in Malfoy."

I think it's more his faith in Severus' ability to control Malfoy that should be a concern...
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: May 17th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
A lovely chapter as always, and I love broody!Remus almost as much as I love happy!Remus.

I've been meaning to ask you: did the title of Shades come from Sarah McLachlan's (or Gordon Lightfoot's) Song for a Winter's Night? I was listening to that song on my Zen the other night, and it was just screaming HBP Remus/Tonks at me.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: May 28th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know how I missed this chapter earlier!

I decided two weeks ago to go ahead and start this, and here I am again, waiting anxiously for updates. I swore I would wait till it was done to read it.... *sigh* I have no self discipline. ;)

One teinsty detail. Arthur wouldn't have to place a warming charm on the garden. Carrots are a winter crop. If Ottery St Catchpole is indeed in Devon, as a lot of us surmise, the weather is temperate enough to allow root plants to be kept in the ground through the winter and harvested fresh for meals. (Just FYI from a gardening geek.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 4th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh you do Fleur well also. I really like your 'showing the other side of the feelings' especially Bill's being totally nonplussed by his familys reaction to Fleur. As well as showing that even if she has the tact of a rampaging hippogriff Fleur is very good at heart.
16 comments or Leave a comment