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Shades, Chapter 35: The Hogwarts List, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 35: The Hogwarts List, pt. 1
Dumbledore is concerned because the "Muggle" boy in Greyback's pack turned out to be a Muggle-born wizard, and several other Muggle-borns in his year have been killed or injured. He's convinced that someone saw the Hogwarts list. One of the Muggle-borns escaped an attack, and her parents abruptly picked up stakes and moved to the American southwest. He wants to talk to them, and has asked Tonks to accompany him.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

There was no time change in the Floo to Dublin, but the Portkey to Reykjavik took her back an hour, and the second Portkey, to Julianehab in Greenland, took away three more. It was light again. Another hour had disappeared when they got to Salem, and it was a sunny, but chilly, late afternoon. Two more hours had melted away by the time they Flooed through Chicago and into a white adobe room in Albuquerque. It was further than Tonks had gone with no breaks before, and by the time a witch in pale-colored Muggle clothes greeted them with a stack of bureaucratic paperwork, it was two-thirty in the afternoon and her head was spinning.

She looked dully at the paperwork. "Is this really necessary?"

"Well, you are coming in from a foreign country," the witch said. Her tone was apologetic, her accent slow and a bit nasal.

"And one with some rather undesirable elements in it at present," Dumbledore said. "I would urge due diligence in most cases, but as it happens, Miss Tonks is an Auror. She has some diplomatic leeway."

"And Professor Dumbledore is traveling with me," Tonks added.

The witch's eyes widened. "Dumbledore? You're Dumbledore? Wow. Cool. I'm Julie Trujillo. We get the Daily Prophet here, at the library. I know lots about what's going on. Are you after the one that they won't print the name for?"

"It's a matter I cannot discuss," Dumbledore said. "But perhaps you would be kind enough to contact the local leader of the Bureau of Magical Investigation? I believe Agent Aragon will be able to verify our identities."

Julie Trujillo made a fuss of bustling over to the fireplace and making a call.

Tonks sat down on a wooden bench that looked like it had been scrounged from a church. There was a strong cooling charm set up around the fireplace, and the room was actually a bit chilly. "Why do they have trouble identifying Muggle-borns?" she asked.

Dumbledore shook his head. "They don't. It's locating them that's a bit problematic. People are very mobile here. A child born and registered in Alabama might find himself here in Albuquerque, while a child born in Santa Fe could find himself in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix by the time he reaches school age. The school system is somewhat fragmented. Quite a few Muggle-born children, whose parents don't know to look for the magical authority, are lost along the way."

"How horrible!"

"The advantage is that there is generally a school for every child. If one school rejects werewolves, another might well open simply to accept them. The lack of a unified system also makes it quite a lot easier to hide someone."

"You think Meredith Dunstable and her parents are being hidden? Deliberately?"

"That is what I intend to find out."

Julie came back, looking frazzled. "Agent Aragon is on her way. Herself." She rushed off and started putting the papers on her desk in order, and straightening the portraits that hung on the wall.

The flames in the fireplace flashed green, and a moment later, an elegant, dark-haired woman appeared. She was wearing yellow robes with red trimming, with a symbol on the shoulder--a red circle with four sets of parallel lines radiating out from it. She dusted herself off, stepped past the barrier of the cooling charm, and came to Tonks and Dumbledore. She held out her hand. "Professor Dumbledore? I'm honored to meet you."

He shook the proffered hand. "Agent Aragon. I read the article you wrote several years ago for International Investigations about the search for our fugitives."

"That was a long time ago," Aragon said, smiling. "I was in training. There was a great deal of resistance to the idea of capturing people on suspicions and sending them to face Mr. Crouch."

"Can't argue with that," Tonks muttered, thinking of Sirius.

Aragon turned to her. "You must be Nymphadora Tonks. I'm Ana Aragon. I spoke to Robards before I came. You'll have our full cooperation, if we can give it. Please, come back to my office. I have a cauldron of green chili stew on the fire; that ought to wake you up a little."

Together, they Flooed to another building--Tonks supposed it was still in Albuquerque--this one obviously more concerned with function than appearance. Rows of filing cabinets stood on stained carpets beside plain stone walls. Metal desks sat among them at intervals, with BMI agents buried in paperwork at them. It made the Ministry offices look attractive, but it was still an atmosphere Tonks recognized perfectly well. Aragon led them through, flashing her badge repeatedly and saying, "They're with me," while pointing to Tonks and Dumbledore. They finally reached a dingy little office in the far corner, with a window that looked out on the roof of a Muggle shop. Something was simmering deliciously over the fire, and when Aragon ladeled out a bowl for each of them, Tonks decided to get the recipe for Molly. (Molly would undoubtedly declare it far too spicy, but Tonks thought she would enjoy trying it out.)

"Dunstable," Aragon mused, then raised her wand. "I wondered if anyone would ever come looking. Accio Dunstable file." A file flew over to her and she opened it. "They came here four years ago. The wife had some story about a job offer with one of the local laboratories, but she had put in for the transfer herself, and she and her husband prodded little Meredith until she lost her temper and made her father's head blow up... er, well, expand. Obviously, she didn't blow him up. We noticed."

"I thought they would have wanted to hide," Tonks said.

"Did you?" Aragon's voice became sharp. "What finally tipped you off?"

"We learned of a werewolf attack," Dumbledore said. "On a boy who would have been Meredith's classmate."

Aragon nodded. "We guessed from what they said that the Dunstables got away from a werewolf themselves."

"I'd like to talk to them," Dumbledore said.

"I'm sure you would." Aragon snapped the folder shut. "They wanted us to watch for anyone looking for them. Werewolves aside, someone scared the hell out of them. Fed them a line about not being safe anywhere. 'Even in the wild west' was apparently part of the conversation, which is why they came here. I have tried to explain that so far, your problem children have stayed where they are, but I have a feeling they won't take too kindly to folks from the Mother Country dropping in on them."

"Do they intend to let Meredith come to school?"

"They've already started taking her to one of the Pueblo centers. They treat it like piano lessons--something to be studied for an afternoon a week."

"That's an interesting alternative," Tonks said.

Aragon snorted. "Yeah. Keeps us busy, cleaning up bad spells, mis-brewed potions, and magical temper tantrums, anyway. It's not like we have any real work to do. No crazy, cauldron-bangers down in the Magic Maze. No political freaks trying to undermine the Statute of Secrecy. We definitely have lots of time to go chasing after undereducated Muggle-borns who don't know a wand from a bullwhip."

Tonks shifted uncomfortably. "Agent Aragon, we very much need to speak to the Dunstables. Do you know where they are?"

"Yes, of course. They're up in Madrid"--Tonks marveled that the name of this town was in fact pronounced "MADD-rid"--"not far from the Richards School. That's the main school for the Four Corners states. We're hoping Meredith will watch the Quodpot games and pester them into letting her go there." She pushed the folder over, and pointed to the address. "I just wanted to warn you. They've made their peace with us because we're watching over them, but I don't think they're likely to give you a warm welcome. Someone on your side of the world pushed them a little too hard."

"Is this address close to a Floo point?" Tonks asked.

There was another snort of laughter, less bitter this time, more rueful. "Miss Tonks, this is as close as you're going to get by Floo. We've got a Floo network in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe, and one down in Roswell that's caused us no end of trouble--idiot kids trying to see what would happen if you lit fireworks in a Floo powder fire--but for the most part, if you want to get from one place to another around here, you have to Apparate. You can rest for a while if you think you need to." She tapped the paper. "The coordinates are right here, and that poster on my wall--the one with the folk singer?--is right at the Apparition point, if that helps."

Dumbledore, who had picked up the folder and was scanning it carefully, frowned thoughtfully and put it back on Aragon's desk. "Thank you, Agent Aragon," he said, then gave her a smile. "I can't speak for Miss Tonks, but I found your stew quite invigorating to be going on with. Nymphadora?"

Tonks nodded, wanting to ask if she might have a look at the file, but knowing tha the didn't want to wait any longer. "I'm fine," she said.

"There's an Apparition point in the courtyard," Aragon told them. Just walk past the fountain and look for the yellow line. You won't need to go through the checkpoints to get out; just take my staircase. Would you like me to come with you?"

"No, thank you," Dumbledore said. "I appreciate the offer, but I would prefer that we speak to them alone. Unless you're insisting?"

"I'm not. Trust me. I've got a maniac who's been Cursing buildings in Taos. I think he's connected to one of our local gangs. It takes priority right now."

"Very well," Dumbledore said. "Nymphadora? If you would?"

She followed him out into a hot, brilliantly sunny day, and they crossed the yellow line that marked the Apparition border.
31 comments or Leave a comment
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: September 6th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, what a contrast to England! Great chapter, and I'm glad you explained why Muggle-born children are "lost" in the Southwest.

Do you know what a treat this story is for me? I work late, and sometimes the only way I can motivate myself to hurry and finish up is by promising myself that I can check for an update when I'm done with my work. And more often than not, to my utter delight, there really is an update by the time I check. :)
cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: September 6th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Yet another brilliant update. I must admit that my curiosity about how the pups are settling in had been nagging me, but here we have something even more interesting. I didn't expect this turn in the story at all, what with Blondin being a wizard and his classmates being targeted, but I find it fascinating. Kudos to you for coming up with it.

"...but knowing tha the didn't want to wait any longer."

I'm guessing that should be "but knowing that he didn't want to wait any longer." Just a simple Oopsie there with the space key. Cheers
From: tonkstipied Date: September 6th, 2006 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm not sure if you spell that in English like that and MAD-RID? lol. Priceless. My sister lives there and I'm from two hours north of the genuine Mad-Rid in Spain. I always found it funny when you get on the plane to that destination and in your bags it says you're going: MAD. But your spin was very funny for me. Thanks again.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: September 6th, 2006 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I was theorising all kinds of strange magnetic activity as to why kids would be easy to lose in the American south west, but the simpler explanation of a mobile and growing population plus a struggling bureaucracy makes much more sense.

Tonks is in an awkward position here - Dumbledore introduces her as an Auror and yet keeps information from her, plays on his fame rather than the legitimacy of their mission, and generally runs things entirely his way, as he is used to doing. I hope Tonks gets a chance to investigate for herself.

Another great chapter, and the Roswell incident was hilarious.
From: marciamarcia Date: September 6th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Dumbledore and his know-it-all/control-freak/god complex. It makes him much more interesting as a leader, than if he were just this benevolent being in a funny hat.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 6th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a lovely contrast to the chapters in Britain - and the explanation for the Roswell Incident is hilarious.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 6th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Voldemort being reduced to "the one that they won't print the name for". I also loved this rather different take on a magical community.

Dumbledore's take on this strikes me as kind of interesting. He knows his security's been breached but he doesn't know who by or why. I'm assuming Snape deliberately got this information and deliberately passed it on to reduce Muggleborn numbers at school with at least a fair idea what would be happening to them. The fact that a potion was used makes me wonder if he wasn't directly involved in at least one death, if not more. The car accident seemed somehow his style, relatively subtle and based on a fair understanding of how the Muggle world would react.

However, Dumbledore doesn't like to jump to conclusions. For all he knows, the list was leaked by a helpful House Elf who was conned into thinking it was the right thing to do. Dolores Umbridge hated half-breeds and may have hated Muggleborns and half-bloods as well. Barty Crouch, Jr. also may have had access to the list. The possibility that it may have been Snape and, regardless of what reasons he might give (as a double agent, he has some arguing space), he DIDN'T tell Dumbledore he'd done it has got to be highly disturbing.

kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 6th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
but knowing tha the didn't want to wait any longer. "I'm fine," she said.

Missing a spare t and a spare y, I believe.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 6th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had work to do this morning! But your summary was so appealing that I just had to read your last installment. Now I'm on pins and needles.
matril From: matril Date: September 6th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is interesting! A nice take on one section of the American wizarding world. And it's good to see Tonks doing Auror work, in spite of all the emotional garbage she's been going through. Glad that she won't just be sitting around moping till June. The distraction's probably good for her, actually.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 6th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like Tonks working. Tonks needs to work more. (Work just gets tedious to write about too awfully much.)
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: September 6th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't the American wizards use owls, then? They seemed to be able to find Harry (and Sirius in hiding, etc)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 6th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, they probably wouldn't in the southwest. A lot of the local Native Americans consider the owl a particularly bad omen (to the point where my mom's museum has to put away the taxidermy owls when schools from the reservations come in), so I doubt they'd be regularly used. (A kid of my acquaintance out there was freaked out by Hedwig, and I made up a story--which I never wrote down--about how a bunch of good owls got away from their sketchy counterparts and flew east to become post owls.) But it's a good point; I should probably put that in there.
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From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 6th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is more a comment on me than anything else, but I kept reading 'Aragon' as 'Aragorn', and being confused that she was female...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 6th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, yeah. I got used to it--it's a pretty common name, and an important family there--but when I first moved out to the SW, I kept hearing that "R," even though it wasn't there. The fact that it's properly pronounced "ar-a-GOHN" rather than "Ar-a-gon" didn't help a bit. ;)
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dalf From: dalf Date: September 7th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)

If I read one more story that involves "the american ministry" I think I will cry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 7th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
The scary part is how many of those come from American writers. I mean, when have they ever listened to the news and heard anyone talking about the "American Ministry" of anything? We have departments and secretaries here, guys. The Secretary of Magic is probably a top-secret member of the cabinet, probably listed as Secretary of something really boring for the general public's consumption. (It does bring up the interesting question of when the President would be informed of the magical community!) Ah, but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. Maybe I'll do a post on that.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: October 17th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
As someone who grew up in Albuquerque and currently lives in a small town elsewhere in the west, I laughed long and hard at the kids in Roswell and their firework antics. The combination of New Mexican drought-driven paranoia of fireworks and the deadly boredom of the small-town youth... I'd have been surprised if they hadn't been experimenting with the combination. I do hope the damage wasn't too extensive.

One small nitpick: in that context (as in most others), we tend to spell it green chile stew, not green chili stew. Chile = spicy vegetable, while chili = bean stew that may or may not be spicy or include chile. (on a related but irrelevant note: Chile powder = ground up dried chile peppers. Chili powder = mostly ground cumin, but perhaps including some or a lot of chile powder.) Very probably you know this already, but I hope typo-catching is a service rather than an annoyance.

I love your stories, and am fannishly delighted to see this one poke a nose into my corner of the world.
_bowles_ From: _bowles_ Date: November 19th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh green chili. I really don't like New Mexican food.

Now, Tex-Mex, on the other hand...

(I'm just happy you mentioned Dallas.)
31 comments or Leave a comment