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Shades, Chapter 28: Interlude (7): Dreams, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 28: Interlude (7): Dreams, pt. 3
Oops, got sidetracked by my talking kitty-cats (I read nine books in the space of three days or so, and will give them a full review later, but am hissing uncontrollably that the last two volumes of the second series have the nerve to not be out yet) and left Remus and Dora in the middle of an uncomfortable scene.

Remus has dreamed several times about the night he was first bitten, and has remembered that Greyback had his pack with him, and a challenge from one of them was what distracted Greyback enough for his parents to rescue him. This feels important to him somehow.

Meanwhile, it's February fourteenth, a significant day for Remus and Tonks, but of course, Remus is an idiot this year. Tonks was going to just pussyfoot around it, but it turns out that they're the only ones available for guard duty at the school--and I'm absolutely certain that she checked every single person on her list *coughcough*--and Dumbledore has gone away. Tonks has pointed out the day and Remus has internally confirmed the anniversary, but doesn't actually say anything to her, other than "I'll take Gryffindor and Ravenclaw; you hit Hufflepuff and the Great Hall." She heads down to the tunnel.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Remus followed Dora down the tunnel toward Hogwarts. Hunched over in the low and narrow space, she seemed to be charging the shadows like an enraged erumpent. She muttered under her breath from time to time, but didn't say anything to him directly.

They reached the Whomping Willow just as Remus could see the red of sunset coming up between its roots. Dora reached up with her wand to jab at the knob on the trunk, but Remus caught her arm.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Oh, please, not again."

"No, I mean... I'm sorry I didn't say anything myself when you first came. And that I didn't... well, you know."

She sighed and ran her hand down his forearm (tracing lightly over his old bite scar, though he doubted she remembered), then squeezed his hand. "Sorry to be acting like a schoolgirl with a bad crush." She rolled her eyes and mocked herself. "Oh, darling, you forgot our two-and-a-half week anniversary from the first time we had mashed potatoes together in the Great Hall! Next time, you'll forget about our hand-holding anniversary, and then what will--"

Remus stopped the self-mockery with a kiss. He knew he shouldn't. It was the worst possible thing he could do for her, today of all days. But Dora was not the problem. Dora was making light of her own feelings just to make him feel better, and that... wasn't right. So he kissed her.

It was a long kiss. She curled herself into his embrace and snaked her long fingers up his back, drawing him close. He thought he could feel the motion of the earth turning, and half-expected the sky above the Willow to be dark when he finally pulled away from her, though of course it wasn't. He could feel the waves of heat coming from her body and wanted to sink into it, but their business was above-ground, in the cold February evening.

"The only thing I want in the world," he said, "is for you to be happy."

She smiled. "At this exact moment, you have your wish. So, you know... don't take it away from yourself by saying something foolish."

Remus thought of a dozen things to say, each one of which would make Dora unhappy for the moment (though she would be happier in the long run if she would listen to him). He just sighed and cursed himself silently for opening the door to this; he had no one to blame but himself.

They Disillusioned themselves, then crawled up through the branches of the Willow. Remus kept waiting for Hermione Granger to meet them at the door with a list of times she'd seen the Willow suddenly go quiet, and how they corresponded with times Dumbledore had left, and did they really think they were fooling anyone... but Hermione seemed not to have spent any of her mental effort on the problem, and only Minerva and Severus were waiting in the staff room. As Remus had expected, Severus insisted on watching Slytherin himself. Minerva offered to take Gryffindor, but Remus could see that she was under strain, and when he assured her that he could handle patrolling Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, she admitted that she had a very large pile of essays to mark and needed the time.

"You might consider letting up on the homework a bit," Dora tweaked her.

Minerva gave her an irritated frown. "The purpose of the school is still the classes," she said. "I find it all too easy to ignore the duties I signed on for in favor of this business, but I will not allow this situation to change the way I run my classes."

They fanned out to to their corners of the school.

Remus went to Gryffindor Tower first, largely because that's where his feet still tended to carry him. The portrait hole was open, Colin Creevey leaning out of it and calling to a younger boy.

"Dennis, hurry--can't leave it open all night, now can we?"

The younger boy--who had to be Colin's brother, Remus thought--was dragging his overloaded book bag up the stairs. Several library books fell out of it and Colin went to help him pick them up.

Remus checked the scribbled bit of parchment he'd put together to replace the Marauder's Map and saw no danger nearby, but a part of him could still have cheerfully knocked the Creevey boys' heads together for leaving the door to Harry's home open and unlocked. Another part of him craned his neck to see into the place that had been a part of his life for so long. He could only see a slice of the circular Common Room, but it brought back a wave of warm, firelit memories. He saw a flash of red hair over the top of one of the chairs and realized it was Ron. Lavender Brown suddenly bounded over to him and dove into his lap. Remus raised his eyes and was unsurprised to see Hermione sitting at a table, glaring at the pair of them over the top of her book.

The Creevey boys ran past him, laden with Dennis's books, and the portrait hole swung shut. The Fat Lady frowned at the apparently empty corridor. "Is someone there?" she asked. "I can alert--"

"That won't be necessary," Remus said. "I'm here on Dumbledore's orders."

"Oh, yes. The patrols." She nodded. "All of the Gryffindors are accounted for and inside."

"Don't let anyone out until morning."


Remus shook his head. The portraits all let anyone with the password in; it was how their charm worked. And he didn't think she could do much about people coming out. She certainly never had when he'd been a student.

He turned and trod the less familiar path to the opposite tower, where the Ravenclaw students made their home. They were shut in for the night, but their door wasn't quite as sound-proofed as the Gryffindor door. He could hear some shrieky laughter, and someone shouted, "Hey, sneak!" only to be told to stop that right that instant. He tried to imagine his old students, especially dreamy Luna Lovegood, curled in their usual places, but nothing came.

The watch was uneventful, and just after midnight, Minerva said that she was satified with the safety of the school--all the students were accounted for and all the entrances checked. Remus went to find Dora, who was patrolling aimlessly near the kitchens.

"Minerva says we're clear."

"I think we should stay."

"Did you see anything suspicious?"

She shook her head. "No, but..." She rubbed her head. "I'd like to check Slytherin."

"Severus will get his nose out of joint."

She snickered. "Er... so to speak."

"I think he's in my office," Remus said, then winced. "Er, his office. We can ask if he saw anything unusual."

"Can you check your map?"

Remus opened the parchment scrap again. Severus was in the Defense Against the Dark Arts office; the dormitories all seemed to be full of their appointed dots (though one or two students, including Ron and Lavender, were still milling around in their common rooms). "I think Minerva's right."

"There's no one out in the corridors?"

"Just us."

"All right," Dora said. "Let's go see Snape."

She led the way to the office, and he was momentarily sorry that she'd never come when he lived here. She would have liked--

He shook it off. The anniversary, such as it was, had ended. He couldn't start making up excuses to lose himself in thoughts of her again.

Severus was reading through essays with a sour expression on his face, and invited them in with an impatient flick of the hand. "I was under the impression," he said, "that you had been dismissed for the evening."

"I just wanted to know if you saw anything unusual at Slytherin," Dora said.

"I would have reported anything unusual. I assure you, Bellatrix Lestrange did not visit her dormitory tonight. If the social pleasantries have ended, I have homework to mark." He glanced at a paper with thin handwriting. Remus could see Luna Lovegood's name at the top. Severus took his quill, ran it through nearly half the page, and gave her a mark of sixty-four out of one hundred.

Dora tugged on his arm. "He's just marking as he always marked," she said under her breath as they went outside. "I promise, the students are used to it from Potions."

"Why does he do this job if he hates it so much?"

"It's what Dumbledore wants him to do," Dora said reasonably. She descended into the tunnel and led the way back to the Shrieking Shack without saying anything else. She helped him up and they closed the trapdoor.

She bit her lip. "I finally got your Christmas present," she said. "I love it. I've put it in a frame in my room at the Hog's Head. But it's up inside my wardrobe, so you don't have to worry about anyone else seeing it.

"I'm glad you like it."

"I noticed you charmed the portrait in the parlor," she said, glancing to her side.

"I've been very bored."

"Just what every girl wants to hear," Dora said, smiling ruefully. She crossed her arms and looked away. "I was thinking a lot on patrol tonight."

"You were?"

She took a deep breath. "You know where I stand, Remus," she said. "It's never changed and it's not going to change. But I don't want to push you into something you don't want..."

"It's not something I don't want," Remus said. "I wish it were that simple. It's just something I can't have. And I want you to have something better than a man who gives you nothing but misery."

She shook her head irritably. "I've heard this, Remus. You're an idiot if you think that you don't give me anything. But I'm not having that conversation again." She turned and headed for the kitchen door, going toward the exit from the back garden. She stopped, her back to him. "All I want to say is, it's your call. I've done everything I can to tell you what I want. But I can't just decide that for myself. It has to be what we both want."

She left.

Remus sat down miserably in the parlor and looked up at the portrait. It waved its foot flirtatiously at him.

He took it down and turned it to the wall.

A week later, the full moon rose.
18 comments or Leave a comment
hobbitguy1420 From: hobbitguy1420 Date: July 17th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Bit of a nitpick

Incredible, as usual. I read this stuff, and *I* want to give Remus a good fwap across the head. Longsuffering young lady, that Tonks.

Bit of a nitpick: "Bellatrix Lestrange did visit her dormitory tonight" - do you mean "did not?"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Bit of a nitpick

Oops, yeah. That does kind of change the meaning of the sentence,doesn't it?
inkpenpaper From: inkpenpaper Date: July 17th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good as usually. One little thing:

"Minerva says we clear."

Should it be "Minerva says we're clear."?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)

You can tell I was getting tired toward the end. Thanks for the catch!
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: July 17th, 2006 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
It was good to see Tonks make a final statement on her position and put the ball back in Remus' court (where it will sit, and sit, and sit, but that's not her fault). I really liked the efficiency of the patrol and conversations with the teachers, contrasted with the frustration of their personal relationship.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
(where it will sit, and sit, and sit, but that's not her fault)

:shakes Remus:

I know. Frustrating man. But as it isn't Tonks's fault, she definitely needed to inform him that said ball was, in point of fact, in his court.
From: doctorwhohp Date: July 17th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is SiriuslyPotter, I posted a few times on your journal, mostly about 'shades' I had to change my account for various reasons.

Anyway, a new shades segment:

Fantastic as always (I'm so original) I like how Remus is so clearly missing Tonks he really can't keep to himself, yet he is still as stubborn as ever. Seriously, I love Remus, but he needs to get a clue, which he does eventually.

I'm going to stop now before I start rambling.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, welcome back. :)

I love Remus, but he needs to get a clue

That about sums it up, doesn't it?
_bowles_ From: _bowles_ Date: July 17th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Liked both bits about Hermione - how Remus expected her to be standing at the door and then the Ron/Lavender part. Another good update - and only four months to go before Remus stops acting like an idiot.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, stops acting like an idiot for a little while, anyway. Lord knows what mouse-brained idea he'll come up with next to cut himself off at the knees.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 17th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
A really nice segment, I like how you've captured something of the feeling of last year's Valentine's chapter without being too mushy and sentimental (which would have been easy to do at this point). Every time I start to lose my patience with Remus and/or the whole situation, you manage to offer us readers a glimmer of hope.

Also, I finally got around to ready "The Doll Army" today - wow! I had previously shied away from stories where Tonks-the-child interacts with Remus-the-adult but I thought you got the tone just right. Especially the parts where Remus was obviously suprised and embarrassed by the unconditional love he was getting from child-Dora. What can I say Fern, you're supremely talented, and you are my favourite fanfic writer by a mile!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked the Doll Army!

It's easy to lose patience with Remus--I think that's why I have to check into his brain from time to time while he's doing this, because nothing he does makes sense to anyone else!
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 17th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your link to "A Risky Idea" reminded me of something I've been meaning to say for a while. I really like that you now have the Lupins living at the Shrieking Shack instead of Grimmauld Place. It's the line after Remus apparates on the run about his belonging there more truly than anywhere else that makes me like this so much. Not that it wasn't a nice idea turning GP into a bright cheerful family home, but the Shrieking Shack just seems so right! I know this was a plot change forced on you by Sirius's will in HBP but I think it's wonderful.

Good one Tonks! Make Remus do the right thing.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Though I just know book 7 will include the intelligence that the Shrieking Shack is owned by the government, the tunnel was filled in (though that leaves the question of how the Order did get in, given that Tonks clearly didn't have the spells to open the gate), and Remus wants to burn it to the ground. I just know it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you'll be safe on the Shrieking Shack. I suspect it's use has been served and it will be just a shack for the rest of the story. I had always assumed it belonged to the school and that's why Dumbledore could use it with no questions asked but I'm quite happy to think that the Lupins bought it for Remus's transformations so that he and Dora can live there after the war. You've been quite lucky so far. Someone on the Sugarquill described Tonks and Lupin as a lucky guess. I don't think that is quite accurate. JKR obviously meant them to be a couple all along. The story chart she released suggested that she might have intended to add more clues than she actually did. I think the luck was that she didn't decide to ditch it completely, the way she did with Dean Thomas's backstory. The other piece of luck for you, and the other writers of Tonks and Lupin over OotP, was that she never told us exactly what Lupin was doing. (Mind you she didn't for GoF either so there was a fair chance she wouldn't tell this time.)

Still, I love the Shack as a happy family home for Remus, so I really hope JKR doesn't explode this one!

From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hijack a thread but where would I find this story chart that you mentioned... it sounds like a fascinating read!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 18th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Great 1/3 chapter! Can you have the Whomping Willow hit Remus in the head in the next chapter, please? He really deserves it.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Are you sure Snape moved offics? I seem to remember form HBP that he had not. I know slughorn did not move into Snape's old office.

I like how you have the patrols showing the other students. It makes sense that they woudl be just as likley to overhear the patil twins or see the creevy brothers up to some unknwn mischif as it would for them to see Harry and his crew.
18 comments or Leave a comment