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Shades, Chapter 33: Make Me Whole, Pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 33: Make Me Whole, Pt. 3
Tonks and Remus lead a rescue of the children in Greyback's captivity, but at the last moment, they realize that their ally, the Muggle priest Jerome Montgomery, is in grave danger, because Greyback knows about him. Remus decides that the best course of action is for him to go, transform, and challenge Greyback. (This lack of logic may have had something to do with being only a couple of minutes from the moon...) He goes there, but it's too late to save Father Montgomery, and, though he is able to save Montgomery's brother and sister-in-law, their son jumps into the fray, and Greyback kills him. He injures Remus gravely.

Meanwhile, Tonks has to stay behind to play her part in the rescue, and by morning she's totally frantic. She rushes onto Hogwarts grounds through the Whomping Willow tunnel, and is promptly thumped by the branches. Madam Pomfrey doses her and she's out until noon, at which point she sneaks out of the hospital wing to find Dumbledore, but runs first into Harry and then into Draco. Draco takes her to the adults, and McGonagall tells her that Dumbledore found Remus and has healed most of his wounds, and he's sleeping at Grimmauld Place. Tonks uses McGonagall's fireplace to Floo there, and sprawls out into the kitchen.

This section includes the evolution of a drabble I did for the rt_challenge. Well, a drabble and a longer, drabble-like prequel to it, which was partly covered in Remus's chapter.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"Nymphadora!" someone said, and then Mum's arms were around her. "Oh, darling, we've been so worried. Sanjiv and Daffy needed to stay in France to help the children settle in, but Maddie's been checking everywhere, and your dad's been scrying for hours! Poppy didn't have a chance to tell us!"

Tonks tried to catch hold of her thoughts. "Remus?"

"He's resting in the third floor guest room. Dumbledore is with him."

"I need--"

"Of course."

Tonks thought about all the stairs between here and the third floor. It sounded like more energy than she had, so she just Apparated up.

Dumbledore didn't look up at the faint pop.

"I'm glad that we've found you, Nymphadora. I'll speak to Madam Pomfrey about notifying people when she's taken in a patient who isn't a student anymore."

Tonks went around him, and there was Remus at last, sleeping quietly, his graying hair spread out on the pillow, the covers revealing the edge of a nasty, but healing, gash on his chest. She took his hand in both of hers and held it against her heart. Feeling his pulse, she was able to clear her mind somewhat.

"Why didn't Madam Pomfrey tell whoever brought Blondin?"

"Valeska Delacour was guarding young Mr. Blondin," Dumbledore said, an odd, faraway look on his face. "It's not in her nature to reassure, and I would imagine that it did not occur to her to ask about a closed off bed. Madam Pomfrey was somewhat disconcerted by Mr. Blondin. It seems he was somewhat disoriented upon transformation, and performed some accidental magic."

"Blondin's a Muggle!"

"No. Muggle-born." Dumbledore frowned. "An awfully big coincidence, don't you think? For Greyback to have taken random offense from a woman who happened to be the mother of a Muggle-born wizard?"

Tonks shook her head, not particularly caring.

"Unless," Dumbledore said, "Greyback had reason to believe Blondin was a wizard. Greyback or someone close to him. Someone who had access to a particular list."

Tonks supposed all of this made some kind of sense or ominous threat, but at the moment, she only felt Remus's hand in hers, and was too relieved to open another puzzle just now.

Dumbledore's face cleared. "But the security of Hogwarts is my concern," he said kindly. "I'll not trouble you with it today. Perhaps when you've come back on duty, I'll bring it up in a professional capacity. Today... Well, I believe that when Remus awakens, he will welcome your face above all others, even mine." He stood and gave her a quick bow. "He called for you until he fell asleep," he said, and left, closing the door quietly behind him.

Tonks squeezed Remus's hand, then let go of it briefly to retrieve his wand from under her robes. She set it on the night table, then picked up his hand again. "I brought your wand back," she said quietly. "Montgomery had it. He used it to help keep the others back."

Remus's eyelids fluttered weakly, and she paused, waiting. Nothing else happened.

She caressed his fingers and kissed his knuckles. "I haven't checked on them yet, but Blondin was the only one who seems to have got hurt, and it was just a bit of gnawing. Probably did it to himself. I think they're all right. I think we did it, Remus. I think they're safe."

There was no response.

The night's terror and tension pushed against the vagueness in her thoughts, tried to break through. She swallowed hard. It did nothing. The light broke into trembling prisms, and she fell forward onto Remus's poor, marked chest, sliding her hands as gently as she could under the bony hooks of his arms.

"I was so scared," she whispered. "Oh, God, I was so terrified. I thought you were gone."

She'd expected no response, but she wasn't surprised to feel his hand move lightly at the base of her neck.

"Hush," he said.

She shook her head. "You're awake."

"I think so."

She raised herself up, looking down into his dear face, and she touched his cheek. "Are you awake?" she asked. "Am I?"

He reached up slowly with both of his hands, cradled her face in them. "I'm sorry I frightened you," he said. "I'm sorry for everything."

She shook her head. She didn't want any more apologies from him. "I thought they'd put you in Azkaban."

"They didn't."

"I thought Greyback had torn you into so many pieces that I couldn't even see you when I went there."

A faint smile. "He didn't."

She drew her hand down the side of his face. "You're all right, Remus? You're really all right?"

He seemed to examine the question. Even while she'd been here, the lividness of the marks on his chest had gone down. He moved his legs under the covers. "I am," he said. "I thought I was dead, too. But I'm here. Nothing hurts. If there's a heaven, I doubt it's at Grimmauld Place. And you wouldn't be crying. But if there's a hell, you wouldn't have come. So I think I'm alive."

To Tonks's surprise, she felt a smile playing around her mouth. "I'm glad you thought that all the way through," she said. "A lot more than I would have. Or anyone else." She bit her lip, and the tears came again. "God, Remus, I can't lose you. I can't live without you. I can't--"

He pulled her to him and kissed her, stroking her face and her shoulders. "Dora, I love you, b--"

She didn't let him finish. She kissed him again, slowly, deeply, and desperately.

He moved his hands. Whether he meant to touch her or push her away, she never knew, and wondered many times later on whether he did. But his hands found the tender flesh on her sides, came up to her breasts, caressed.

She whispered his name.

There were no more words.

When Tonks was aware of herself again, it was late afternoon, edging toward evening. She had slept for a time in his arms, and he was still sleeping. In the dim, shadowy light, his body was marble, cool and white, shot through with the twisting shadows a lifetime's scars, the fading gashes of last night's battle traced on his skin as if they'd been drawn by a clumsy toddler. He slept quietly, still and at peace, the frantic, grasping touch of the afternoon almost unimaginable, except that naturally she imagined it, and shivered and caressed her own arms, not wanting to wake him, not yet. He'd wake up soon, his mouth full of apologies she didn't want.

She could smell him in the sheets, in the draperies around the bed; she let herself drown in the scent, afraid it would fade all too fast.

He opened his eyes.

At first, he just blinked at her serenely, seeming to trace the curves of her body with his eyes. She felt this like a warm, welcome touch.

Then, abruptly, his eyes widened in horror. "Oh, God, Dora," he said. "Oh, dear God. What have I done?"

She tried to be philosophical, tried to tell herself that it was good that there had at least been a moment before this, but she was tired and she felt new and fragile, and something in that horrible phrase, that terrible look on his face, shattered her.

She burst into tears.

She felt him trying to touch her, to comfort her, but she pulled away from him, wrapping herself in the blanket and sliding off the bed to sit on the floor.

"Dora, please, I didn't mean--"

"SHUT UP!" she screamed.

She might as well have hit him with a Stunning Spell, and for the first time, Tonks tried to remember if either of them had bothered to put an Impervius charm on the door. The scream certainly hadn't brought anyone running, but then, if they'd been hearing all along, they might not be in a great rush to get involved.

She wiped her face on the corner of the blanket and looked cautiously over her shoulder at him. He was sitting on the corner of the bed, the blankets pooled in his lap, looking awkward and ashamed. He opened his mouth and got as far as, "I'm sor--" before he stopped, looking utterly confused. He shook his head sharply. "Dora, it shouldn't have happened. You know it shouldn't have happened. If I can't say I'm sorry, what can I say?"

She sighed. "It's not about whether it should have happened or not, Remus. It's that you didn't do anything to me. We did something together. Right or wrong. Don't you understand that at all? Do you really think I was... what do you think I was doing? Being charitable? Maybe I ought to be the one apologizing. I'm the one who apparently keeps forcing you to do what you don't want to do."

"No," he said. He started to say something else, then just shook his head and repeated, "No."

She leaned forward and pressed her cheek against her knees. "What happens now?"

He didn't answer.

I feel a bit...: nervous nervous

57 comments or Leave a comment
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marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 31st, 2006 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeeeeeee!! Yay for... yay!!

Also, am now quite intrigued about Blondin. Yay for you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 31st, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 31st, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
What she said.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: August 31st, 2006 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh goodness - and for a minute there I thought he'd come to his senses... but no. This is so characteristically Remus that I can't see any other way it could have gone, but I still want to beat up on him some more until he realises what's important in his life. I have this ghastly feeling that it's going to take losing Dora before he wakes up to what he could have... and the fact that I've read HBP is the only thing stopping me from being terrified that that's what you're aiming at ;)

Interesting thought about the Hogwarts list - it never occurred to me to think that Greyback might be collecting his pack for deeper purposes than revenge before. I remain boggled by how you can fit so many plot twists into the frame of a single story :) Nice work.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remain boggled by how you can fit so many plot twists into the frame of a single story

Heh, thanks, though from my perspective, it's more like, "EEP! This had to happen in March, but there are two more months until the end of HBP, so how am I going to start building up to the book's main finale, which has been so separate from what we've done so far?! PLOT! I must do PLOT!" ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2006 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my God. This is amazingly powerful. Great writing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 31st, 2006 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
You're really incredible, you know that? I liked Dora's little outburst at the end there. She's right, and I wish he could just see it, but I know he can't yet. Having canon to fit into really stretches out the torture, doesn't it?
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 31st, 2006 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
And I was just thinking about how...prescient isn't the right word, I don't think, but I can't think of anything else...it was when Dora was worrying in Shifts about how their relationship was so angst-and-fight-free. She just needed to wait a while longer yet, and then BANG! problems with a vengeance.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - both for not feeling pressure to force their relationship to progess to this point earlier, and for not being afraid to let them get there when the time was right. This chapter was beautiful and heartbreaking at alternate moments,and sometimes all at once. I particularly love Remus's reasoning about heaven and hell - and of course that last segment was just devestating. Amazing job.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Let's say, I'm not entirely sure the time was right...
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Let me think. Who could have looked at the list and told Greyback? Let's see, people on the Hogwarts staff with histories as Death Eaters and possibly using the term "Mudblood." Now, who could that be?

Of course, the obvious suspects aside, there has been a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher every year, and Muggleborn wizards do stray bits of magic all the time. The wrong act in front of the wrong people could set events in motion, not that I'm betting on it.

And Remus is an idiot. Speaking as a conservative type with the heart of a puritan and one who was raised within a subculture that still takes a firm stand on no sex before marriage, Remus is an idiot. Even assuming his view is valid and that Tonks was not responsible for anything that happened (yeah, right), what does he think it does to a girl's self-esteem to seduce her and then look at her the next morning as though there's a ravening monster in his bed? As a werewolf, has he had any experiences whatsoever that he can relate to that idea?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, but how could it be damaging to her self-esteem to acknowledge that he is utterly unworthy of her, that he was presuming to a higher station than he has any right to, that she is a goddess and he a mere mortal who has had the gall to defile her...?

Yeah. Remus... shut up. ;)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 31st, 2006 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok, I've come back to this story at least seven times tonight, including rereading both of the previous sections and this one again.

You've said in the past you're not confident of your ability to write a love scene. This proves you wrong. It's delicate, turns deep and hinting of enough passion that the fade to black works, and then raw and painful, all in what? 500 words?

Beautiful, Fern. Just beautiful.

lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: August 31st, 2006 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. What she said. That was very tastefully done and effective. As for you not being sure it's the right time for that; well, neither are they, so it's okay.

This is just an amazing story. I'd buy your original fiction from a bookstore any day of the week.
From: tunxeh Date: August 31st, 2006 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm finding it much easier to get started reading each of these now that we're past the impending doom of things going bad in the rescue operation, the kids all seem to be safe, and we just have Remus being stupid until we get to the impending doom of the Hogwarts invasion.

I liked the way you incorporated the canon in the previous segment, btw — you made a very convincing backstory for Tonks showing up in such a daze.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! A lot of Shades, actually, was written trying to figure out how a smart young Auror got to be quite that freaked out. When Harry realized that it was right after the attack on the Montgomery boy, it seemed like a good thing to build a lot of stress-points around.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2006 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
This entire chapter has been fantastic! It was hard to have to read in parts, though now I'm going to put all three parts together and read it as a whole and I've no doubts that it'll still captivate me from beginning to end.

I'm so glad the pups got through all right, though I hope this won't be the last we get to see of them! And that bit about Greyback targetting Blondin ... it's scary to think of Greyback having motives other than revenge, because that plot line could get pretty scary.

Remus, SHUT UP indeed! I certainly felt like knocking his head against something hard! Poor Tonks!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll get us to France at some point to check up on them.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: August 31st, 2006 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Tonks showed great restraint in not smothering Remus with a pillow.

The Greyback plot is fascinating - I'm glad we haven't seen the last of him yet.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, and now he's going to really be pissed. Not just the pups, but the men as well.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: August 31st, 2006 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Remus, you fool. You complete and utter fool. He has maybe a ghost of a point, in that it's probably a bad idea to let your passions run away ahead of you like that - though given the amount and sort of pressure they're under, it was probably all but inevitable - but he's dealing with it in almost the worst possible way. And he has to stop thinking of Tonks as a passive victim (the worrying sort-of-subtext is that it implies part of him still thinks of her as an irresponsible child).

Someone who had access to a particular list.

Now that is intriguing - and worrying.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
And he has to stop thinking of Tonks as a passive victim (the worrying sort-of-subtext is that it implies part of him still thinks of her as an irresponsible child)

I thinks she would be offer a hearty "Yes, please," to that sentiment. (On his behalf, of course, he did have some responsibility for her during her childhood, and part of the guilt he feels is not just that he'll hurt a kind woman, but that he's betraying the trust of a child who doesn't exist anymore.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2006 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)

OK I think this is not going to be popular but here it goes...

OK I love both Remus and Tonks and the way you write there interactions. And yes Remus is still being a big martyr of a git. But I do not agree that it is all his fault. I think everyone is as blind sided as I was hours ago when I first read this update.

I thought Oh God! Poor Tonks how could Remus do this to her! I just wanted to hit him with something until he came to his senses. I was even hoping that someone would come in and intervene they seemed to need some sort of intervention. Then it just got me thinking about if Sirius was there and that made it worse.

Then I reread the three updates together and let them stir my brain a bit. I just thought Oh man. Poor Remus and Tonks.

Remus was under great stress too. Just moments from transforming and realizing what could happen to the Montgomerys then moments before his change he went and managed to Apperate, then have the power of will to keep himself from looking at the moon long enough to cast a spell to keep the other werewolves at bay, and I think he gave Ralph his wand. Then it seemed as though Remus was even able to force a bit of himself on "his wolf" and challenge Grayback and try to keep his attention.

Now Remus had just come inches from death has probably been dosed with potions and spells to keep him alive and is just starting to come around...he is probably thinking he is dreaming Tonks there...Dumbledore did say he was calling for her till...I think "they" got him to sleep. Then he is barely stiring he even says he is not in pain! I am guessing that he is at least up to his eyeballs in some sort of pain killing potion. Just because he seems to be logical does not mean he is full in his faculties. I do not think he is aware enough to realize "his dream" Dora is not a dream.

And Tonks, after all the stress of having to stay, get the pups through safely, go look for Remus, think him either dead or in Azkaban, get beaten by the damn Womping Willow, stunned, dosed with potion be out of her mind enough to go wandering through the school out in the open...Not quite and Auror way to go. Then she runs into Harry gets away from him before she loses it. Getting so lost in Hogwarts that she just sits down is not even able to cry she is so distraught. Then she is even manhandled by Snape and does not react...I think she would have normally read him the riot act just as she did with Dawlish. Then she is so over come with emotion that she thinks Remus is in his right mind enough to be consenting to her advances...I don't think she was thinking clearly at all.

So I think this time Dora might be more at fault than Remus...And of course his shocked reaction was terrible for both of them. Of course I think he could have handled the whole situation much better. So the last bit when he tries to apologize stupidly that is totally his fault. But Dora did already know before he woke up what he would say no matter how much she hoped he would react differently...he can only be himself.

(Note to Tonks...like the saying says..watch out what you wish for. You wanted a bit of angst...I guess Karma did not get the memo that it was minor angst you were looking for.)

OK, I think I have rambled enough. Thanks again for your great writing Fern. I look forward to your next update ;)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: OK I think this is not going to be popular but here it goes...

I agree that it was probably more her fault than his, and even that she knows it on some level, though he did initiate the physicality with the first kiss. I think what's making hre furious is that Remus won't even give her that, won't grant her the freedom of will to make a bad choice. He's still too self-loathing for that, and she turns out to still be a bit of a basket case. In other words, despite the implicit promises of her beloved romance novels, nothing got fixed.
dadaginny From: dadaginny Date: August 31st, 2006 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grr! I just want to smack Remus at the end of that wonderful little scene!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, me too. I'd like to sic Mrs. Higgins from My Fair Lady on him: "I should not have thrown the slippers at him. I should have thrown the fire irons."
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: August 31st, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

I really hate Remus right now.. He couldn't be less considerate of her feelings, could he? And the insufferable man thinks he's doing just the opposite.

One nitpick, though: Dora saying "What happens now?" in the end somehow doesn't fit. I think it makes it seem like she's moved on from the preceding conversation too quickly, and given the context, it also seems somewhat melodramatic. I think she'd reach the "what happens now" point a little later, when she's had time to digest the experience.. asking that question now casts her in the role of a heroine in a Victorian romance, almost, looking to the man for direction after an earth-shattering event.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that was an afterthought. It's more of a question of, "Has anything changed?" than waiting for him to give directions, but I don't like much how it came out, either.
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