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Shades, Chapter 35: The Hogwarts List, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 35: The Hogwarts List, pt. 3
Tonks and Dumbledore headed off to NM to check on one Meredith Dunstable, a Muggle-born witch whose family was frightened off. A "greasy man" gave them a hint of where to go by saying that they wouldn't even be found in the "wild west," so that's precisely where they headed. During the conversation with the mother, Dumbledore sees a local bully heading up to a mineshaft where Meredith had already told them he'd once hidden her bike. He pauses and says "Of course," then starts making excuses to leave. Tonks follows him.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"Are you going to tell me what you saw?" Tonks asked, scrambling to catch up with Dumbledore near Madrid's main road.

It sounded more like a challenge than she meant it, but Dumbledore didn't take offense. "I saw something which could be of use to me, if I am right about several other suppositions." He smiled. "If my intuition is right, young Mr. Crow did me a great service by returning to his haunt."

Tonks waited for him to explain, but he didn't. "Er, Sir?"

Dumbledore stopped walking. "Are you quite certain your curiosity about this place is satisfied?"

Tonks, who couldn't recall feeling, let alone expressing, curiosity about Madrid, just shrugged.

"There was a time your friends couldn't have dragged you away from a chance to explore a new place."

"That was a long time ago."

"That was last year, when you were discovering Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place."

"It was a long time ago," Tonks said again. "Aren't we in a hurry?"

"Alas, it occurs to me that before I begin the mental exploration young Mr. Crow has suggested to me, I am waiting for a piece of information that Harry is meant to obtain, and without it, all I have is a speculation. I am capable of speculating while eating sopaipillas with honey, if you would care to join me."

Tonks joined him; the sopaipillas--fluffy little fried breads with hollow centers--turned out to be delicious, as were the odd, spicy dishes that came after them, and the shopping area in wizarding Madrid was amusing. She bought a brightly woven wool poncho for herself and started to buy one for Remus before thinking better of it. Dumbledore spoke of many things to her, his monologue ranging from school with Phineas Nigellus to growing up with Aberforth, but he did not discuss whatever he was speculating about with regard to the old mine and the unpleasant Skylar Crow.

It was late afternoon and Muggle cars were passing regularly on the Madrid road, going back and forth between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, when Dumbledore finally sighed and announced that it was time to go home. Tonks judged by her body's internal clock that it was after midnight in Hogsmeade. As they took the strange path of Apparition and Portkeys home, the night became black, the pressure settled in, and Tonks began to feel less disoriented. In Dublin, Dumbledore asked her if she was up to Apparating all the way home, or if she'd prefer to take another Portkey; she opted for Apparition. They arrived outside the gates of Hogwarts, just beyond the limits of the protective spells.

Tonks looked up at the school. "What are you going to do about...?" She frowned, not wanting to say Snape's name, but not sure how to pantomime it.

Dumbledore seemed to understand what she meant. "I shall impress upon him the need to tell me whe he's taken it upon himself to use his position to help, but as this particular incident was four years ago, I see no need for a stronger reminder."

Tonks nodded. "All right. And my un... er, well, the other?"

"He is already in Azkaban. If you would be kind enough to pay him a visit and obtain his perspective on this, I should be grateful to you."

Tonks nodded. "I have a day off next week. I'll do it then."

"Very well." Dumbledore's mood seemed to become more somber, and he sighed heavily. "Thank you for indulging me, Nymphadora, even if you were incurious." He smiled. "I suppose I had hoped to use your neverending curiosity as an excuse to take an hour or two off."

"Oh. I'm sorry!"

"My dear Miss Tonks, as I'm sure you noticed, I took the time anyway."

"I am sorry I'm not great company these days."

"You've been hurt. You will heal. And so will Remus Lupin." He raised his wand at the gate and performed the counterspells to get inside. Tonks watched him until he disappeared into the night's shadows.

The day's long hours weighed on her as she trudged back to the village. She stopped and looked up at the Shrieking Shack, where no window betrayed light inside. He was probably asleep, Granny curled up at his feet. Tonks imagined herself going there, curling up beside him to sleep, waking up to Granny batting at her hair and Remus snoring. Or possibly vice versa. But the nervous fireworks that twisted through her body at the thought told her that it might be a less than stellar idea.

Instead, she went back to the Hog's Head and slept dreamlessly and worked the next four days without more thought than was necessary. She spoke briefly to Remus, almost like a normal, if distant acquaintance. He was going to go to France for the full moon, to spend it with the children. Was she on duty? Oh? Well, perhaps it was better this way.

"Better this way" was rapidly becoming Tonks's least favorite phrase in the English language.

She stopped obsessively checking her body for changes; there were none.

On Monday, all four Hogsmeade Aurors were called to guard the Apparition tests for Hogwarts students who had come of age, though it had originally been Tonks's day off. ("The Chosen One isn't there," Dawlish said bitterly, "but his little friends are. Best not to send them back in pieces.")

Tonks watched Ron Weasley fail by half an eyebrow, then Hermione Granger pass easily, and to the vast praise of the Apparition instructor. To her surprise, Ron didn't look sulky or jealous, but rather pleased and proud, and Hermione was indignant on his behalf rather than triumphalist about it. She caught Hermione's eye as they left the village together, and Hermione smiled brightly and took Ron's hand.

Tonks waved at them, feeling oddly lighthearted about the development, then went back to her room.

Remus was waiting there for her, Granny in his arms.

"Hullo," she said.

"I, er... Well, I've brought the cat."

"I see that. I thought you liked having her there."

"I do. But I may stay in France for a few days, with the children. She is your cat. I've felt like I've stolen her. Among other parts of your childhood."

Tonks reached over and scooped Granny out of his arms, scratching between her ears. "So I get custody of the cat, and you get the house? Should we split up our friends as well? I'll take Bill and Fleur. I suppose you're more accustomed to Molly and Arthur. What of Miriam and Joe and Alan and Anna? Should we work them into the settlement?"

"Stop it."

She sighed and set Granny down in her long-empty basket. "I'm sorry, Remus. I was joking. Not well, but I was." She sat down at her desk. "I left Granny with you because I've been away so much this year, and I thought you could keep one another company. But if you're going away, of course I'm happy to have her back. Right Gran?" Tonks pulled a feather out of her quill drawer and started to bounce it around for Granny to bat at lazily from her bed.

"Of course," Remus said. He Conjured a chair and sat across from her. "Dora, I've been thinking about what happened..."

"I've been trying very hard not to."

"I can't think of anything else." He took a deep breath. "Am I allowed to apologize for handling it badly?"

Tonks smiled. It felt a bit creaky. "I suppose I have made that a bit difficult, haven't I?"

"Just a bit."

"If it will make you feel better, then."

"I'm so sorry, Dora. I'm sorry that the first thing out of my mouth was something hurtful, and I wish I could take it back."

"What would you say instead, if you could?"

"Nothing. You already know everything that counts."

"Let's pretend that's what happened, then. You just held me, and I didn't scream like you were practicing Unforgiveables on me and then cry like a six year old who dropped her ice cream cone."

"I'd say we should pretend that it never happened at all. But I can't."

"Do you really want to?"

He smiled faintly. "No. But it would make my life a great deal easier. Yours as well."

She touched his fingers, remembered them buried in her hair, stroking her legs. She thought it would be a long time before she could touch him casually again. "It would, wouldn't it?"

He pushed the chair back and stood up, but didn't end the Conjuring spell. Standing behind the chair, he smiled ruefully. "You're a wonder, Dora. You know it, don't you?"

"Oh, yes, I'm a prize. What can I say? Nothing quite like a mopey brunette."

"Don't do that, Dora. Don't ever do that." He backed away, folding his cloak over his arms so it draped in front of him. "Are you sure you couldn't come to France tonight? The children would--" He stopped, seeming surprised at what he was saying. "Don't come to France tonight," he said. "Dear God, don't come to France."

She shook her head. "I have an errand to run for Dumbledore," she said. "It's, alas, somewhat less pleasant company than a pack of werewolves at the full moon."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm going to visit my Uncle Lucius."
13 comments or Leave a comment
From: boldsunshine Date: September 11th, 2006 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Another great installment. I'm very interested to find out how this conversation with Lucius Malfoy is going to go!
noneko From: noneko Date: September 11th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, the plot thickens... again...

Hello, by the way. Found this journal through a phantom linker, and was very excited about it. I was suffering from Shades-withdrawal, and then I found out there were 10 or more chapters up here. Thanks for a great read!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, isn't that a great feeling? Happened to me with Shifts. I'm still not entirely convinced that it's better for the story to read it in segments, but I'm just so addicted that I can't wait that long.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 11th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus at the end. Too funny, too sad.

I guess we have to live through this. I'm hoping your alternative storyline for the next couple of months is better than JKR's "million times". Of course it will! What was I thinking?!?
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: September 11th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good chapter. I love the interaction between Dumbledore and Tonks - I think he's almost becoming like a Grandfather to her.

Hm, she's visiting Lucius? Is she out of her mind?
aebhel From: aebhel Date: September 11th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oddly enough, this chapter was really the first time I reached the point of wanting to slap Remus. I'm not really sure why.

Anyway, awesome chapter. Can't wait to see what happens with Lucius...
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 13th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me too! There's only so much passive-aggressive apologising a girl can put up with. :)

~Doris Crockford
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: September 11th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, SQUEE! Ron and Hermione are together! When did that happen - will you be filling us in on the juicy details, Fern?

Lovely installment, though I was rather hoping for more answers from Dumbledore, I thought he sort of indicated he'd be less tight-lipped in the beginning. But... meh. That's Dumbledore, I guess, frustrating as ever.

I'm glad Remus and Dora came almost halfway back to being normal (still a loooooooong way from lovey-dovey). It puts a strain on my mood even to read about these two - your story makes me "get" Tonks's appearance in HBP. Needless to say, HBP and Shades have blended completely in my head, to the extent that I am having dreams that assume it's all canon. The acid test, wouldn't you say? ;D
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 11th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore sees the bully returning to the cave and realizes it's also one of the places he hid one of his "trophies" and it all clicks. I liked that.

But, a question about Lucius. Before, he had some reason to be truthful with Tonks. Does that hold true, now? His wife and son are in danger. He may or may not know that, although a bunch of werewolves who have seen Andromeda, who may have seen Narcissa, and who may repeat something about Greyback (whether or not they understood its significance) that would make Lucius fully appreciate Narcissa and/or Draco's danger even if no one's troubled to keep him up on the news from other sources.

If he knows, he may see Snape as a potential protector of Draco and have no reason to talk. Then again, if he doesn't know about the vow, he may see Snape as one of the Death Eaters who could be endangering Draco, and a very dangerous one at that. He may also think in terms of how anything he says in this direction might rebound on his family.

There's also how Tonks may take anything he says. She's a potential protector for Narcissa and Draco, too. Let's say he was up to his ears in wanting to kill Muggleborn kiddies. Telling Tonks the full truth might make her see him as cooperative and, therefore, make her more likely to watch out for his family. On the other hand, it could alienate her and make her less likely to protect them. Also, he may be willing to risk retribution against himself if it comes out that he told a lot more than Voldemort would approve of, if it protects his family but NOT if it endangers them.

Also, last time, he saw her pretty much as Tonks the Halfblood as in Half-Mudblood. This time, surrounded by very uncouth werewolves, possibly far more aware of the danger his wife and child are in, he may see her as Tonks the Half-Pureblood, and a pretty pure Pureblood half at that, daughter of his wife's saner sister and a guy who was at least a wizard and not a Muggle. Also, Voldemort has accepted at least one exceptionally gifted Halfblood (whose father wasn't even a wizard) into the ranks before. Although I don't think Lucius imagines Tonks is going to sign up based on anything he has to say, the idea that she could be something other than an enemy - and that he needs something other than an enemy, given his allies - may effect how he sees her.

From: texasstar7 Date: September 11th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh i see, the cave! *facepalms. er, yeah, forget the other review.

ANYWAY, good lord, and i know i say this everytime, but could the possibly tie my stomach into any more knots. Remus Lupin will be the death of me.

Now, to the meat of it... I didn't really get what was going on with Remus right at the end, by inviting and the uninviting her. Was that just him forgotting what he was saying a second, i.e. the werewolf part of the equation?

tonks' cynical humour is funny, even if it isn't the healthiest self-image thing for her.

And the whole loss of curiousity conversation, insinuation, between Dumbledore and Tonks was really touching. I like this Dumbledore a lot and you write a very believable old, but wise and active, man.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 12th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful Dumbledore, here!
And Remus apologizing again, this time for...apologizing! Why am I not surprised?
redbrunja From: redbrunja Date: September 12th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
"She is your cat. I've felt like I've stolen her. Among other parts of your childhood."

Way to make it all your fault, and all about you. (This is a great line though.)

Also, I really like the section where Tonks is realizing that she can't touch him casually. Nice detail- it really hones in on how screwed up they are.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: October 29th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Growing up in Albuquerque, I always saw it spelled sopapilla rather than sopaipilla, although I realize both are correct. Is it a northern vs. central NM thing, or what?

Oh, how I love the Tonks/Lupin interaction at the end of this chapter. Awkward, unhappy, sweet, and in character.
13 comments or Leave a comment