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Shades, Chapter 31: Comfort Food, pt 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 31: Comfort Food, pt 2
Tonks and Remus are having a comfortable couple of days, even getting into a flirting routine. For Remus's birthday, they decide to go to France and see the new area being set up for Greyback's pups. They are, erm, a bit frustrated when Sweet/Vivian shows up, claiming that she saw their plans "in the water" and wanting to go with them to see the place.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Remus sighed and ruffled Vivian's hair. "Can you give us a minute, Sweet?"

Vivian nodded, catching sight of Granny and running happily after her. Tonks went over to Remus. "I have to admit, I was sort of thinking of this as just us..."

"I know. So was I. Which is problematic. We shouldn't..." He looked at Vivian. "It concerns her. And we could probably use a chaperone."

A brief giggle rose in Tonks's throat, and she shook her head. "All right, Vivian," she said. "Remus wants you to be our chaperone, though..."


She stuck her tongue out.

"What's a chaperone?" Vivian asked.

"A little girl who gets to go France today," Remus told her.

She clapped.

Tonks frowned. "All right. She can't go out on the street in Hogsmeade. I don't want to take the slightest chance of anyone guessing she's anywhere in the vicinity."

"I can get her in and out of the house," Remus said. "Can you give me the coordinates and let me bring Vivian along?"

Tonks gave a dramatic sigh. "All right. The whole side-along business was a ruse, anyway."

"I know."

Vivian looked between them, aware that she was missing something, but merely curious as to what it might be.

Tonks gave her as warm a smile as she could muster, then wrote down the coordinates for Remus. "It's a clearing with evergreen trees," she said.

Remus nodded, and Tonks went out beyond the Apparition point, truned, and spun onto the French mountaintop where Valeska Delacour kept her sanctuary. It was still cold, but there was a definite scent of the coming spring in the air. Most of the snow that had been here on her earlier visits had gone.

There was a pop, and Remus appeared beside her, Vivian grasping his arm tightly with both of her hands. She swallowed hard and stepped away. "That's not any better when I'm not frightened," she said.

"You'll get used to it," Remus said.

Vivian looked up the mountain, and her face broke into a bright smile. "I've seen this!" she said. "I saw it in the water!" She ran for the path.

"Vivian!" Tonks called. "There's a gap partway up. You need to wait so we can get you across."

Vivian waited at the base of the path, nearly bouncing like an energetic puppy. Tonks and Remus glanced at one another, then followed her up the path. Tonks hadn't thought to bring a broomstick, so they Apparated across the gap. They reached the last bend in the path, and the two emancipated French house elves scurried out to them and started to chatter.

"Their names are Migna and Migno," she said. "And I had to get those from Valeska. I can't understand a word."

"Nor can I, and my French is passable."

"According to Valeska, their mistress told them not to produce any new house elves. After the third, she decided that clothes would be a good idea."

Vivian was walking ahead with them, apparently not caring that she couldn't understand them. They were pointing down paths and at various rocks and trees that all looked alike to Tonks. She supposed that Vivian, having grown up in a forest, would notice what was special about each thing she was being shown.

Just before they reached the main settlement, Migna and Migno took a sharp turn to the left, and headed down into the steep-sided valley that Valeska had chose for the transformation sites. When Tonks had come in December, they had been rough-hewn and bordered with unlovely slats of wood. Now, the two areas carved into the valley were deep bowls ringed with evergreen boughs. From above, they looked like two giant bowls, one of which was occupied by a small army of workers.

"There's Fiona," Tonks said, pointing to the woman in a red cloak, with short blonde hair. "And Roald. I think the children are there, too, up in that tree..."

She led them down without the house elves' house, her heart beating somewhat faster than usual, casting glances behind herself to see what their faces would show her. Remus, as usual, looked no more than vaguely interested. Vivian, however, seemed utterly enchanted.

Fiona looked up as they reached the entrance at the top of the bowl, and waved eagerly, running up the steps (which would be vanished on full moons) and greeting Tonks with a firm shake of the hand. Her clothes were dirty and off-kilter and there were twigs in her hair, but her eyes were sparkling as she introduced herself to Vivian and Remus. "This is a good place," she said. "I always hated those bloody cages we use for Registration. I wanted the Ministry to build something like this, someplace less... "

"Horrid?" Tonks suggested.

"Horrid," Fiona agreed.

"It would be a bit difficult to take samples in an open area," Remus pointed out.

"That's what they always said." Fiona grimaced, then shook herself off. "But there are no samples to be taken here."

"What are samples?" Vivian asked.

"They take some of your hair, a bite mark, and, er..." Remus blushed. "Well, they look at... various waste products."

"Ew," Vivian said. "That's disgusting."

"It's to help them find werewolves who actually do something wrong instead of punishing all of them indiscriminately," Remus told her. She looked confused. He frowned. "Let's say, someone is bitten, and goes to St. Mungo's rather than having Greyback pull him away. He doesn't know one werewolf from another. By registering, they can look at the bite and compare it to yours and say, 'Well, it wasn't Vivian Waters who did this, so we'll leave her alone with her books.'"

"Oh. But what do they need your dirt for?"

"I have absolutely no idea."

"It's purely research," Fiona said dismissively. "Come, let me show you what we've been building."

"Are you Alderman's mum?" Vivian asked.

"Yes. I'm Bobby's mum."

"Bobby?" Vivian repeated, giggling. "I'm going to call him Bobby from now on."

"His mum can call him what she likes," Tonks said, "but you stick with what he likes, all right?"

"You know him?" Fiona asked.

Vivian nodded eagerly. "Alderman taught me how to catch a bluebird with my bare hands and break its neck before it even knows I have it."

She shared this piece of information with no apparent idea that it might be disturbing. Fiona, to her credit, maintained her polite smile, though Tonks could see a dazed look in her eyes.

A small figure ran up, and it took Tonka moment to recognize little Electa Crowler, who was smiling and energetic. "Who's this, Mum?" she asked.

"I'm Vivian Waters," Vivian said. "Are you Alderman's sister?"

"I think so."

"I'm coming to stay here."

"You are? Come on, I'll show you around!"

Vivian looked at Remus, who waved her on, then ran down the hill after Electa.

"And this one speaks English," Fiona said. "I'm glad to hear it. I thought she'd speak nothing but French by the time we were done here."

"She's learned French?"

"Some variety of it. The Delacour girl comes quite often, and Electa is mad to impress her. She spends a lot of time with Valeska. I think they've been practicing the language." She shook her head. "When is Robert coming?"

"They'll be here this moon," Tonks said. "The arrangements are made."

"The spells are done," Remus said. "There's a difference."

"What other arrangements do you need?"

"I need the gate in the Forbidden Forest guarded, for one thing," Tonks said. "I was hoping you'd help. Your experience in Werewolf Capture--"

"Done," Fiona said. "But it's my last full moon on duty."

"Fair enough. There will be about twelve werewolves coming through. How many people will you need to contain them?"

Fiona sat down on a decorative bench someone had set into the stone. "Do they transform large or small?" she asked Remus.

"Alderman's full-size," Remus said. "Some of the littler ones are smaller, but none of them is precisely small."

She frowned and rubbed her head. "Can you get me twelve? One per child. I'd normally assign two per werewolf, but I somehow doubt you can get me twenty-four."

"I'm sure Bill and Fleur will help, and Sanjiv, and Daffy. Perhaps the Weasleys--Arthur and Molly, that is." Six. "Oh, McGonagall. I'm sure she'd help. I don't know if Dumbledore would be there. Do you suppose Valeska would come along?"

"I could ask."

"My parents. I'd say Maddie, but generally it's either her or Daff, with Francis to look after..." She sighed. "Yes. I can get you twelve. It may take some doing, but I can do it."

"And you?"

"I'll be on the other end, getting them through."

"By yourself?"

"I'll be there until moonrise," Remus said, for all the world as if they'd discussed it and made a plan. "I can keep from looking at the moon long enough to get them to the gate, then Dora can destroy it. I'll just roam about the forest until morning after, I suppose."

"Or, you could go through with the rest and not be padding around waiting for Greyback to rip your throat out," Tonks said. "You know. Just a mad thought."

"Not to interrupt," Fiona said, "but I'll need to meet with the guard team to train them." She raised an eyebrow at Remus. "And you'll pardon me, I'm sure, if I have doubts about a plan that requires you to put off changing."

"Robert thinks that Greyback will be away," Tonks said. "We'll try to get them to the clearing long before moonrise."

Fiona gave her a doubtful look.
18 comments or Leave a comment
tru_jedi From: tru_jedi Date: August 14th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
happy day!! two updates!

just one thing: "A small figure ran up, and it took Tonka moment to recognize ....."

unless she has morphed into a toy truck, I think you're missing something here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 14th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Thanks. Definitely no toy morph.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: August 14th, 2006 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Bad timing, Vivian. :) I think Fiona's got a very sensible attitude about the risks of their plan ... I suppose if Dumbledore was there that would make up for a shortage elsewhere!

A typo and a quibble: "beyond the Apparition point, truned, and spun". Also, no bluebirds in England. :) (I believe they're confined to the Americas? I'd say 'blackbird' or 'thrush' would be the equivalent thing here.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 14th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Sad part? It started out as "blackbird" and I changed it for no reason whatsoever. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 14th, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bluebird does convey the disturbing image slightly better, IMO, but that might just be because I hate blackbirds...
(Deleted comment)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: August 19th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or a bluetit, though I'd think a blackbird - which I like, as they sing so beautifullly - would be easier to catch, since they like to skulk about on the ground or perch on open spots to sing, rather than just keep in trees. I wouldn't give anyone much chance of catching a wren, and it's not like there's much eating on them. Though a greenfinch or a crossbill might be more plausible, since they've been hanging about in woodland.

Oh dear. I think I've just put myself off the idea of dinner.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: August 14th, 2006 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Now, the two areas carved into the valley were deep bowls ringed with evergreen boughs. From above, they looked like two giant bowls, one of which was occupied by a small army of workers."

Bowls that look like bowls? Really? :P

Great installment :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 14th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you. Life lesson about dropping a sentence in the middle and picking it up about half an hour later!
dadaginny From: dadaginny Date: August 14th, 2006 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excitement is building. I hope everyone makes it through ok, but for some reason I doubt it.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 14th, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tonks went out beyond the Apparition point, truned, and spun onto the French mountaintop

kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 14th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
She led them down without the house elves' house,

Hmmm. I don't understand.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 14th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oof, many, many mistakes in this section. Glad to have them caught. Should have been "without the house elves' help."
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 14th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to check the book and figure out where things are in relation to Aragog, but why didn't Tonks think of Hagrid? He's huge, used to dealing with things like werewolves without getting hurt, and his giant blood may give him some degree of protection (we know it gave him some protection when he was attacked by Aurors, and it may or may not be that only humans can become werewolves [we haven't heard of giant werewolves and it would seem that they might be even more vulnerable to werewolf bites than humans because a werewolf couldn't do much more than nip a giant. They have far less reason to be afraid of them, are trained not to show fear anyway, and are probably living in the same isolated areas werewolves would be more likely to be found in during a full moon]).

Of course, giants might also be the basis of those stories of giant wolves in Norse myth if they DO become werewolves, and you wouldn't want one of those in the neighborhood.

buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: August 14th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was rushed this morning and didn't have time to comment.

The suspense really is building... I hope everyone comes out of this alive.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 15th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Great installment! I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. You're really keeping my on tip-toe.
*bites her nails*
zyprexia From: zyprexia Date: August 15th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)


ohh, bad timing for vivian! i wanted to see tonks and remus at least have a good time in france. :(

great job though. i'm definitely on pins and needles for the next bit.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: August 16th, 2006 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I have finally -- finally -- FINALLY caught up with this story... and wow. I didn't think anything could top Shifts, but this just might. Your Remus still breaks my heart and makes me want to strangle him at the same time. I love literary guys like that. :)
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry if others have pointed out any of the typos I am pointing out. I jus realised I have not been checking.

She led them down without the house elves' house, her heart beating somewhat faster than usual

With out the house elves' help?

18 comments or Leave a comment