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Shades, Chapter 25: The Lady of the Lake, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 25: The Lady of the Lake, pt. 3
Writing a lot now, because the next couple of weeks are going to be hectic, and I don't know how much time I'll have to log on. (Nothing bad, just hectic!)

Anyway, Greyback tried to trap Remus into hurting Sweet, but Remus got her away and Apparated them both to the Shrieking Shack. He's not comfortable with the fact that he had to protect her from himself, and neither is Tonks, but they are stumbling through. Meanwhile, Remus assumes that Greyback intended him to inadvertantly kill Sweet, so they will take the opportunity to hide her. Tonks doesn't think it's a good idea to bring her to France yet, and they are planning to keep her in the Shrieking Shack until Tonks realizes that there's another place she can go.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

There was no question of simply taking Vivian outside. The crowd near the fences had thinned a bit as people grew bored, but there were at least ten people still watching by the time they'd finished the oranges. Tonks couldn't very well leave or enter the house through the protective charms--appearing out of nowhere would raise suspicions. She and Remus split to clean the house, more to keep themselves busy while they hoped their unwanted visitors to leave than because there was a real need to. Vivian followed Tonks from room to room, shyly at first, but with increasing openness. She'd changed out of her rag of a dress and into a pair of Tonks's pajamas, which were several sizes too big for her, causing her to roll the legs up to her knees. Tonks wasn't sure where to find any knickers that would come close to fitting her, so she just went without.

"There's nearly a foot of snow out there," Tonks said, mostly to have some kind of talking in the room, "and it's cold in the woods. Those shoes of yours aren't going to do much good."

Vivian looked puzzled. "What's wrong with my shoes? I always wear them."

"It's either a miracle or accidental magic that you don't have frostbite," Tonks said. I have some boots I can shrink for you, and some warmer clothes. Though you'd best let Remus do that; I haven't had much practice at making clothes different. I could always just change me."

"You can? Like you did when you were Sister Dora?"

"Yes. I can't... well, I don't do as much of it this year."

"Why not?" Vivian came and stood beside her. "Don't you like doing it?"

"I just haven't felt much like it."

"Does it hurt? It hurts when I change."

"Only if I'm very tired. Then it's a bit like pulling a muscle."

"Is this your favorite way to look?" Vivian asked.

"Not really. It's just the way I actually look."

"I think it's very pretty."

"Thank you."

"What's your favorite way to look?"

"Do you always have this many questions?"

Vivian nodded.

Tonks smiled at her. No wonder Remus liked her. "My favorite way to look is with pink hair."

Vivian giggled. "Pink?"

"Pink. It's my favorite color."

"Are you Remus's girlfriend?"

Tonks's smile faltered. "There's a point when curious becomes nosy, Vivian."

"Oh." She slumped down, suddenly deflated. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to know. I like you."

"Ask Remus sometime," Tonks said.

"Ask me what?" Remus asked, passing by.

"If Sister Dora is your girlfriend," Vivian said. "She said it was a nosy question."

"It's a very nosy question," Remus said.

"She should be. She's pretty."

Remus shook his head. He tried for a casual tone, and Tonks supposed it was enough to fool a small child. "Wonderful. You'll need to meet Fleur and Molly soon."

"Fleur?" Tonks repeated, surprised.

"Yes. You've gained a protective big sister who's four years younger than you."

"Who's Fleur?" Vivian asked.

"You'll meet Fleur," Tonks said. "You'll like her. She's much prettier than I am."

"Not really," Remus said, and shuffled off down the stairs.

It was past noon when the onlookers finally drifted home, and there simply wouldn't be time to do what Tonks needed to do before her shift, so she just went back to the Hog's Head and gathered up whatever clothes she had in a small size, and a few of plush toys that Granny played with. Granny gave her a reproachful look for this, and she muttered something about a "good cause." Granny went to her partially emptied bed and cried pathetically.

"Fine," Tonks said. "Do you want to go in the basket with your toys?"

Granny gave her a disdainful look.

Tonks finished packing a small satchel. On a whim, she threw in a pair of bright red high heels that she'd bought at Oxfam and never worn, along with a plastic tiara (she'd bought it when she was Vivian's age and worn it arond the house for weeks), a handful of bright headscarves, and a pair of oversized sunglasses. None of her books would do, really, which was too bad. Perhaps she could find some later.

She turned to leave, and nearly tripped over the cat's carrying basket. Which was, she was shocked to notice, filled with one aging, gray-haired cat who was looking up at her expectantly.

"All right, then," she said. "You can go stay with Remus. God knows I've been neglecting you lately. He should have time to play with you, and I'll come see you."

Granny's ears perked up at Remus's name, and Tonks felt absurdly jealous.

She put a blanket over the basket, then shrank the satchel and popped it in beside Granny. She darted out of the Hog's Head quickly, avoiding Dawlish, who had taken a seat at the bar, and headed back to the Shrieking Shack, where Remus and Vivian were trying to find all the pieces of a broken picture frame. She only had time to drop the clothes and the cat off--Vivian was far more interested in the latter than the former--before she had to return to work.

As often happens when there are pressing matters outside of work, there was very little that needed to be done on duty. She gathered reports from three witches--sisters--who claimed that their house had been robbed of several key potions ingredients. When Tonks realized that together, the ingredients made a powerful intoxicant, she solved the mystery by checking their dustbins where, sure enough, all three empty vials were sitting beside a broken goblet. A Dementor sighting turned out to simply be a thick patch of low-lying fog. A note from Robards told her that no progress had been made in the Fortescue case. If she hadn't been so distracted by the situation with Remus, she might have been amused at the traces of bright blue feathers still in Dawlish's eyebrows, or at his grumbling complaints about Dumbledore believing he was "above the law," but the day being what it was, it just irritated her.

She got off duty at nine, and entered the Shrieking Shack quietly, thinking that Remus and Vivian might be asleep the day after transformation. It was a wasted effort--they were both resting in the parlor and looked a bit peaky, but they were quite awake. Remus had repaired the sofa and a wide chair, and Granny was curled up on his lap, purring contentedly as he stroked her hair. Vivian had her hand reached out from the sofa and was lightly touching the tip of Granny's tail with her finger, and smiling faintly. She sat up quickly when Tonks came in, then clapped her hand to her head and groaned.

Tonks rushed in. "Are you all right?"

"Yes... I just didn't eat enough before. I barely yesterday before we all started fighting."

"Eating makes it easier the day after," Remus explained.

"Do you need more food now?" Tonks asked. "I brought food from the Hog's Head." She set down a bag, then waved her wand at it. A picnic blanket appeared on the floor, and several kinds of food spread out on it. Granny jumped down and sniffed at it curiously, and Vivian rolled off the sofa onto the floor to tuck in without the slightest hesitation.

"Thank you," Remus said.

"How are you feeling?"

"Tired. Achy. And... well." He sighed. "You mentioned that you had a place to go?"

"Yes. It would be better to go in the morning, though. It's in the Forbidden Forest."

"It's where?"

"Remus, will you trust me?"

He nodded warily.

"I'll come back tomorrow. Gran...?"

Granny didn't respond to her name. She just sniffed at a bowl of stew.

"I think she's going deaf," Tonks said.

"She doesn't have to go!" Vivian said, reaching out to pet her frantically.

"Granny is Dora's cat," Remus said firmly. "She should go home with Dora."

Vivian looked at her hopefully. "You could stay, too, couldn't you? Just until tomorrow."

Tonks looked at Remus, who shrugged. "I repaired both beds, and I can sleep on the sofa."

In the end, all three of them fell asleep in the parlor, Tonks Conjuring a pillow on the floor sometime after midnight. Granny awakened them promptly at dawn, demanding her own breakfast before anyone else's, then Tonks helped Vivian get ready for the trek into the forest. She insisted on wearing the tiara, along with a pair of fluffy purple earmuffs and a heavy green cloak that was half-length on Tonks and full-length on her. The sunglasses hid the worst of her scars, so she immediately loved them.

"You're not going to be able to wear them in the tunnel," Remus told her, taking them gingerly off of her face. "Even with wandlight, it's dim."

"But when we go outside?"

"I suppose you can have them back. But you won't want them in the forest. You know that. It'll be shadowy."

Vivian shrugged.

Remus pulled open the trap door and lowered her into it, then helped Tonks down, though she didn't need it. He squeezed her hands before letting go, then jumped down himself and led the way to the Whomping Willow. A moment later, they heard a light thud, and Granny started padding along beside them, as if she'd expected to go. Tonks sent her Patronus ahead again--this time much to the delight of Vivian--and Hagrid was waiting for them at the end, looking more than a little concerned. He helped Vivian out of the tunnel, and Tonks handed Granny to her.

"Don' know about goin' into the Forest just now," he said. "Aragog's family's a mite restless."

"We'll be fine," Tonks said. "Hagrid, this is Vivian. Vivian, this is a friend of Remus's and mine. His name is Hagrid."

Vivian stared up at him, gape-mouthed and delighted. For all that Remus was beating himself up over it, Tonks thought that, for Vivian, what had happened was the biggest favor Greyback could possibly have done. She looked free.

Hagrid talked their way into the Forest, catching them up on the small gossip of Hogwarts. He tried to engage Vivian with the idea that she might come as a student in a few years, but stopped when he realized that Remus wasn't encouraging it. He led them in a wide arc around a web-draped area and stopped, listening. "It's around here somewhere," he said.

Tonks cocked her ear, and she could hear it as well--the low burbling of an icy creek. She reached into her pocket and drew out the ruby, holding it to the sun. "I need a favor," she said.

Then her feet were soaked in freezing water, and Vivian and Remus gave startled shouts as the current washed over them as well.

Hagrid stepped back as the pool started to spread. "I'll be waitin'," he said.

Then the water splashed up behind Tonks, and strong, cold arms came around her, and everything went dark.
19 comments or Leave a comment
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 1st, 2006 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
"Yes... I just didn't eat enough before. I barely yesterday before we all started fighting."

"Eating makes it easier the day after," Remus explained.

Missing word here, I think.

Great update - I've really been enjoying this. Can't wait to see how you'll tie it all up.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yup... missed an "ate." Thanks for the catch!
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: June 1st, 2006 11:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved all of Vivian's questions. And Remus' response.

And all three falling asleep in the parlour. Very like the morning after the transfiguration duel in Shifts...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they're all just glad not to be alone. And Remus and Tonks have someone to look after together, which makes things better for them.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2006 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
What a place to leave it if you can't manage to update for a few weeks! I'm glad Sweet gets to be happy, at least for now.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to try an do one more update today, so hopefully I'll finish this chapter and get everyone into a good place.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: June 1st, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
"You'll meet Fleur," Tonks said. "You'll like her. She's much prettier than I am."

"Not really," Remus said, and shuffled off down the stairs.

::sigh:: Oh, Remus ...
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: June 1st, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. That's the part that stuck out for me, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Remus definitely has a case of the love-goggles.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, three. Remus can't really hide it, no matter how hard he tries, can he?

I'll echo the comment about falling asleep in the parlour, too - the first thing I thought of was Shifts!

I also really enjoyed:
"For all that Remus was beating himself up over it, Tonks thought that, for Vivian, what had happened was the biggest favor Greyback could possibly have done. She looked free."
Absolutely. I'm so glad Vivian got out.

It's just hit me, too, that "Vivian" is an name connected with "the Lady of the Lake"! I love little things like that! (Or will it be a big thing?)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
More littlish-connection than big, I think. :)
roga From: roga Date: June 1st, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I *heart* sweet. And Tonks makes such a good... mother figure? Older sister? Stepmom? Whatever she is, I love her with the kids.

One comment, though - why would she worry about knicker size for Sweet if she can shrink them?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mostly because she considers herself bad at shrinking clothes and thinks it ought to be left to Remus... and for obvious reasons, Remus shrinking knickers in this particular sequence would be uncomfortable for everyone involved!
vytresna From: vytresna Date: June 1st, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
She can't, actually, not well. It falls under the category of "householdy spells".
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was about two-thirds through when I realized I was two thirds through, and my first thought was "Waah! I don't want this to end!"

Just have to say, I love Vivian. She's a little like Harry getting out from his cupboard under the stairs and seeing the Wizarding World for the first time only she was in a worse situation and had a lot less idea of something better beyond. Harry also wouldn't enjoy playing dress-ups the way she does. I also can't imagine Harry playing little-kid-matchmaker. Is Father Montgomery going to have a chance to tell Remus, "Out of the mouths of babes"?

dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: June 1st, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely! I'm glad we got to see a bit of Granny, I had almost forgotten she existed. And Remus is obviously in luuuuuuuuurve. Can't you resurrect the Marauders so they can make a little fun of him?
I loved how Dawlish grumbles about Dumbledore thinking he's a bove the law. Yeah, right! Sore loser, much?
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2006 12:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I only found this story two days ago and I have been glued to my computer ever since. But now I've caught up with your writing and am desperate for more, so please update soon!

Can I just say that yours is the best Remus I've read anywhere (except for JKR's), and that you really are a fabulous writer. Your skill at interweaving canon with your own plot is beyond comparison, and your use of both your own characters and JKR's is breath-taking to read. Thank you!

_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: June 18th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, Vivian telling Tonks she was pretty was so sweet. I loved the awkwardness that ensued. Great chapter.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 26th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
As always, a wonderful & interesting chapter. Your characterizations are so well done that I hesitate to bring this up, because you are clearly a better writer than I ever will be. However, one thing did pop out at me. How long has Vivian lived with Greyback's group? Since she was very small is my impression. So it seems weird that she would ask Tonks "Are you Remus's girlfriend?" Greyback would have used the word "mate" thus most of his pack would probably match their speech patterns to his.
19 comments or Leave a comment