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Shades, Chapter 26: Living Arrangements, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 26: Living Arrangements, pt. 1
Okay. Creaking back to work now.

Tonks and Remus left Sweet with the Lady of the Lake for safekeeping, though Remus was a bit wary. When they get back to the Shrieking Shack, they kiss.

BTW, the day I went off on vacation, sannalim posted illustrations--yay! She did the "Trick of the Firelight" scene, and the drawing that Remus made for Tonks's Christmas present in Shades. Lovely as always... sorry it took me so long to see it!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far





When Remus pulled away, Tonks expected that he would turn and leave. Instead he caressed her face, then kissed her again--slowly, deliberately, almost carefully. After, he held her face against his shoulder and stroked her hair. "Dora," he whispered. "Oh, Dora. God help me."

She sighed. "Remus, if God Himself came in here and offered to help you, you'd shake your head and say, 'Thank You, really, but You just don't understand.'"

Remus chuckled. "Yes. I suppose I might. Though if there's a God, I somehow doubt He's got time to worry about one old werewolf."

"I seem to recall something about every sparrow..."

"Perhaps I should make an effort to turn into a man-eating sparrow once a month."

"That's an incredibly disturbing idea." Tonks smiled and leaned back against his hands, burying her fingers in his hair. "It feels good to be together."

He reached up and brushed a bit of hair from her forehead, started to say something, thought better of it, then kissed her hairline. He made another strangled sound that might have been the beginning of a word, but stopped again. Finally, he just let go of her and went into the parlor. He started to pick up the broken glass on the floor.

Tonks watched him for a little while, then went upstairs and started working on the office. The desk responded sluggishly to her repair spells, but it finally did come together again, and she put the drawers back where they belonged and tried to sort their contents back into them. A spill of Smeltings letterhead fell out of a folder. The top sheet had a scrawled note in Alan Garvey's handwriting. "Sat. cards? Joe'll be there, maybe Blythe. Let me know." Tonks sat down on the floor and read this several times.

"Do you suppose they still play?"

She looked up. Remus was lurking just outside the door, his toes barely touching the threshold. She tucked the papers back into the folder and put them into a drawer. "They'd been playing for years before we showed up. I imagine they still play. Joe's working again, isn't he? They don't even need to bring in a new man."

"Joe's working," Remus said. "I assume he is, anyway. He was going to."

"Maybe we should go. We could say we're up for Christmas from Australia. Maybe I could morph if you were there. I mean--" She sighed. "God, that's pathetic."

"No. No." He squatted and looked across at her. "Don't push yourself, Dora. Why this is happening... there's some reason for it."

"I miss you. That's the reason."

"I'm sorry."

Tonks sniffed disdainfully. "Well, you always wondered why I wasn't a Gryffindor. I'm not very brave about things that actually scare me."

"I don't think this about being scared," he said. "Or brave. Or me. Though I don't imagine I'm helping much."

"What do you think it's about?"

"I don't know. I've barely seen you this year. I just... don't know."

"Right." Tonks turned back to the mess. "I suppose it would be a bad idea to go see Alan and Anna anyway," she said. "We'd have to explain why we're not writing, and why we can't come back for all sorts of holidays, and..." She sighed. "Would it sound horribly frivolous if I said I'd really like to find some people to play bridge with?"

"What about your friends?"

"Maddie hates cards. That would just leave Daff and Sanjiv and me. Odd numbers don't work in bridge."

"I remember."

"Besides, you're my bridge partner." She bit her lip. "I wonder if Molly and Arthur play. Perhaps..."

He smiled. "Perhaps. Later."

"All bridge games have to wait until after the war?"

"If people waited for the ends of wars, no one would ever play anything." He shook his head. "I'd just like to wait until... well, with Molly and Arthur, until they understand that... that is, until you understand that..."

"I might understand better if you didn't kiss me every time we see one another."

"A good point."

Tonks winced. "Oh, please don't think I'm asking you to stop."

"I know you're not. Nevertheless..." He stood up; she could hear his knees popping. He turned his head and looked at the battered bedroom. "Dora, you know what happened here last night. You know that I just keep hurting you. You know that I'm a selfish bastard, and I'll keep being a selfish bastard as long as you let me. I'll use you up until you're gone."

"Everyone uses everyone, if you want to look at it that way. I don't mind you using me to lean on."

"I have nothing to give you in return. I'll just keep taking."

"I'm not keeping an account ledger."

"I am. And my debt to you is far too high. I'm very bad for you. And that... I won't destroy you. I won't hurt you any more than I already have."

Tonks thought about pointing out what she considered some fairly obvious gaps in his logic, but she was suddenly weary of the conversation. She got to her feet. "I need to go back to the Hog's Head and get ready for work," she said. "My shift starts at one. I'll bring dinner by later."

"No."

Tonks looked at him sharply.

He shrugged. "When Vivian was here, I was going to stay with her. Make sure she was all right. But if she's going to stay in the Forest... well, there's no need. We both know it would be uncomfortable. I'll go to headquarters."

"You can't. It's horrible there."

"Molly's been cleaning it. And the others are in and out."

"It's horrible there," Tonks repeated, and went back to cleaning. A moment later, she heard Remus head down the corridor to work on another room.

Granny wandered in from some mysterious cat-errand and picked her way through the office supplies Tonks hadn't gathered up yet and looked at her curiously. She meowed.

"Yes," Tonks answered, "it would be easier with magic, wouldn't it?"

Granny nodded and started to play with a loose paper clip. Tonks cleaned around her--without magic--until ten minutes before she had to leave, then picked her up and carried her to the spare bedroom, where Remus was putting together a wardrobe he'd shattered the night of his transformation.

"Can I leave Gran with you?" she asked. "I'll come back for her after my shift."

"Dora--"

"At least let me help you get settled in at Grimmauld Place," she said. "We can bring a few things over from here. And maybe Gran could stay with you there. I don't want you to be alone, and I've been horrible about spending time with her this year. Will you take her for me and look after her? Play with her a bit?"

"I don't want to leave you alone, either, and she's your cat."

"Please." She held Granny out to Remus.

With a great deal of hesitation, he took her. "All right," he said. He tried to smile at the cat. "You be good now, and try not to be ill while I've got you."

Tonks nodded and couldn't seem to find a smile. She went downstairs and culled her cloak from the floor beside the trapdoor, where it had fallen while Remus had kissed her. She wrapped it around herself and went out into the December snow.

Robards had come for his monthly check-in, and the first two hours of her shift were spent in a dreary meeting, in which everyone reported failures on nearly every front. She wasn't entirely comforted by the knowledge that the London office wasn't having any greater success than they were having here in Hogsmeade.

"I tried to stop Dumbledore and ascertain his business," Dawlish said importantly. "He hexed me. I think we really need to keep a closer--"

"Oh, just stop it," Tonks said.

"Your job is to enforce the law," Dawlish said. "Not to enable vigilantes to--"

Robards held up a hand. "Let Dumbledore be," he said. "Rufus will find some other method to keep track of him. I daresay you have quite enough problems here in Hogsmeade without harassing Albus Dumbledore." He made a curt gesture. "I'd like to speak to Miss Tonks about a London case now," he said.

Dawlish made a disgusted, knowing sort of sound, and gestured theatrically for Proudfoot and Savage to follow him away from the table. Robards watched him steadily until he was gone.

"What is it?" Tonks asked.

"I spoke to Travers."

"What?"

"Travers. A Death Eater--he helped murder the MacKinnon family? I thought--hoped--that perhaps he'd escaped Azkaban after last year's mass escape, and just hadn't been noticed. But he's right there. Starting to come up from the Dementor damage. Charming gentleman." He grimaced.

Tonks looked at him, puzzled.

"He doesn't have any relatives with the same name."

"I don't understand."

"The Vance case," Robards said, irritated.

"Emmeline...?" Then Tonks remembered. "T-R-A. Not Travers."

"Not any known Death Eater. I think we have to assume it was meant to be 'traitor.' And I've found no evidence within the Ministry."

"Maybe she meant it was Pettigrew."

"Or maybe he's not the only one your people have." Robards reached across and touched her wrist. "I've given it entirely to Dumbledore. And that is not on the record. But I thought you should know. You were there at the start. I wanted you to know that I hadn't forgotten her."

Tonks shook her head, her eyes feeling hot and full. "I had," she said. "What's wrong with me?"

Robards gave her an uncomfortable sort of pat on the head, then headed back to London. She went about her duties in a daze, and when she finished, she walked to the Shrieking Shack, her footsteps matching the slow, dirgelike pounding in her head.

I feel a bit...: complacent complacent
Soundtrack: The Adventures of Huck Finn

23 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
lady_moriel From: lady_moriel Date: June 18th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, first comment? Awesome.

She sighed. "Remus, if God Himself came in here and offered to help you, you'd shake your head and say, 'Thank You, really, but You just don't understand.'"

Remus chuckled. "Yes. I suppose I might. Though if there's a God, I somehow doubt He's got time to worry about one old werewolf."

"I seem to recall something about every sparrow..."

"Perhaps I should make an effort to turn into a man-eating sparrow once a month."

"That's an incredibly disturbing idea." Tonks smiled and leaned back against his hands, burying her fingers in his hair. "It feels good to be together."


That's an incredibly cute exchange. I adore these two. (Well, of course, or I wouldn't be reading this, I suppose!)

"I don't think this about being scared," he said.

Missing an "is"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Missing an "is"?

Apparently so! Thanks.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
"Granny wandered in from some mysterious cat-errand"

I love that.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 18th, 2006 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the sparrow/werewolf exchange as well - excellently done! (I like the way you weave religious subjects into HP - not forcing it in, but just showing a possible manifestation of religion in the Potterverse, like that one fic you did a while back with, I think, Rowena Ravenclaw being in a cloister? Um, anyway, sorry to digress :)).

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always feel like I should put warnings on the passages that contain potential religious material. ;) For some reason, I like semi-religious Tonks. I think it's just because it's counter-intuitive with her preferred costuming!

The Rowena fic is here.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 19th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm enjoying reading it again :).
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 18th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh silly Remus, thinking he has nothing to give Tonks. It's one of the things so lovable about him, that he doesn't realise how much people value about him. I like the way Tonks is fondly remembering the bridge games. One of the things I noticed about HBP was how upbeat it seemed at Hogwarts (love affairs and quidditch etc), compared to Harry's fifth year when Umbridge was present, and yet in the outside world it was exactly the opposite with Harry's sixth year being very grim. Yopu've really shown how things have deteriorated this year in "Shades". I'm glad you've had a good break but even more selfishly glad you've got another episode up for us to read!

TDU
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's a really flipped perception--Harry spent a year fighting to get everyone to notice they were in deep trouble, and once they all did, he got one more year to relax before the final battle, while everyone else had to face the problems.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: June 18th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Another enjoyable chapter - Tonks and Remus work so well as a couple when they're doing something, but they can talk themselves into the ground given the chance. Mostly Remus's fault, there, I suspect!

The only thing that felt odd was Robards giving Tonks a pat on the head - he's been kind but professional previously, and this seemed weirdly adult to child.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
but they can talk themselves into the ground given the chance.

No kidding!
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 18th, 2006 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Great stuff, especially the opening conversation.

I think I agree with the other poster who said it seemed a bit patronising for Robards to pat her on the head, though I think I can see what he's trying to do - make a comforting gesture that is clearly ust to do with friendship or being part of the team (a hug would clearly be inappropriate, in the circumstances, especially as Dawlish appears to think they're having an affair). Maybe he could pat her on the shoulder instead? - which I think is more what he might do to another man, rather than to a child.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Shoulder's a good idea. Dawlish is right that Robards' interest isn't entirely professional, but he's not an idiot.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 18th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dawlish is right that Robards' interest isn't entirely professional, but he's not an idiot.

Yes - if he really was just an innocent friend, he might have hugged her in that situation...
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: June 18th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
The man eating sparrow bit is pretty disturbing, but I love that conversation!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: June 18th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, low self-esteem, thy name is Remus (or something). Nice chapter. I wonder how things are going to work out after the last werewolf crisis...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Given the hospital scene, I'd have to wager on "not well." ;)
From: oicrylic Date: June 18th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good! You started writing again! yay!
It's interesting as usual and I hope that you write the next chapter fast and post! ;-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I should get back to usual speed pretty soon. I just need to limber up a bit.
From: oicrylic Date: June 19th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
awesome
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 18th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just curious, ever read Nostrilia by Cordwainer Smith? Try and imagine science fiction with some underlying religious symbolism as viewed through Alice's looking glass after being filtered by The Far Side with economy of language.

Anyhow, Smith brought in a mad, killer, twenty kilo sparrow to attack his main character and it did play on the image of God being aware of every sparrow's fall.

Ellen
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: June 19th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice chapter--I'm so glad you're back!
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: June 20th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, more Shades! A lovely, understated moment -- I'm glad Remus gets a cat to keep him company.
23 comments or Leave a comment