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Shades, Chapter 42: Sunrise, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 42: Sunrise, pt. 3
Gulp. Somewhere ahead, I'm writing "THE END."

The night before the funeral, Tonks was able to make her hair turn pink, because all year, Dumbledore has been telling her that he missed it.

The final conversation appeared, substantially in this form, in the story "Cathedral," which I wrote for the rt_challenge in February. I had a suspicion then that it would be the final scene here, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't say anything.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Mad-Eye and Kingsley arrived the morning of the funeral with a contingent of fifteen Aurors, though they broke away and joined Tonks, Remus, and the Weasleys at breakfast at the Hog's Head (Molly insisted on cooking, claiming to not want Aberforth to think about such things today). Only five Aurors remained on duty in the London office, and Mad-Eye commented dryly that if he were a dark wizard, he would choose today for an attack, but luckily, Voldemort wasn't quite as smart as he was. Kingsley was taking time from his undercover Muggle position to be here, and he looked as weary of affairs of state as he was over Voldemort. Aberforth ended up joining them--he noticed Tonks's pink hair and wept that "Albus would've liked it so!"--and about halfway through the meal, the proprietor of the Leaky Cauldron in London arrived and offered to finish up the breakfast shift for him.

Fred and George arrived after breakfast, dressed identically in black. They had closed the shop for three days. They tried to apologize over one another about the Peruvian darkness powder that Malfoy had apparently got from them, but Kingsley reminded them that if hadn't got it from them, he'd have got it somewhere else--it wasn't a banned substance, after all. They all left together on an unspoken signal, gathering stragglers as they went through town.

Somewhere between the Hog's Head and the gates of Hogwarts, Remus took Tonks's hand. She didn't notice it until she caught several people looking (including the matronly woman who sold sweets on the Hogwarts Express). He didn't seem to care that they saw.

They arrived early for the funeral, but quite a lot of seats had already been taken. Bill, Fleur, and Madam Maxime seemed to have separated a section for members of the Order, and they all took seats in it. Toward the back, Tonks saw a full giant, and realized it must be Hagrid's half-brother.

Rufus Scrimgeour and his party came out of the school just ahead of the students, who were traveling with their Heads of House, though once they'd got outside, friends sought one another across House lines for comfort. Tonks saw Luna Lovegood break away from the Ravenclaw group to sit with Neville Longbottom, and a Hufflepuff boy she didn't recognize went to sit beside the Parkinson girl from Slytherin, who looked utterly stunned by all of it. Two huge Slytherin boys eventually joined them, though the group was left largely alone by other Slytherins.

Draco's friends, Tonks realized. To her surprise, her only feeling about them was that they must be very lonely.

She looked around and saw Harry Potter sitting with Ron, Hermione, and Ginny down near the lake. None of them looked like they really believed they were here. Ron had his arm around Hermione, and Harry was holding Ginny's hand.

Mum and Dad got in just as the staff was being seated, and there was no way they could come near, though Dad caught Tonks's eye and nodded to her.

Hagrid carried Dumbledore's body, wrapped in gold and purple ("Loved purple, he did," Aberforth muttered, "always loved it"), and a Ministry official came forward with the various platitudes that Tonks supposed were expected at a funeral. She supposed it would have been more truthful if everyone who loved him had said a piece, but it also would have taken the better part of a month. Those who loved him could--and would--talk among themselves, remember him, offer one another more private solace. The funeral seemed more a way for the world to say goodbye to him than for his friends to do so.

The merpeople came up from the depths of the lake to sing for him, and when they'd finished, a great white flame burst up from the body and the table, Dumbledore's great magic leaving his body in one final rush of power that formed the table into a white tomb. Above it, smoke curled into arcane and beautiful shapes against the clear sky. Something glorious seemed to burst from it and fly into the golden sun, but Tonks couldn't make out what it seemed to be. The shapes began to shift again--flowers, a tree, lovely and unnamable forms that made her want to weep for the beauty of it, and for the knowledge that he was gone forever.

Beside her, Remus was taking sharp, short breaths in an effort not to cry. She squeezed his hand.

At last, it was over (the centaurs gave a final farewell with a rain of arrows that made several guests scream), and people slowly began to file out. Remus stood up beside her and held her for a moment. "I should help Minerva," he said. "The Hogwarts Express will leave soon. In this crowd, it may be difficult for her to keep the students together."

She nodded and kissed his cheek, then went to offer help to Robards, who was scrambling to cover security for the mass exodus from the grounds. He set her atop the gate, watching for any threats to the visitors. She had a wide view of the area by the lake, and saw Harry and Ginny having what seemed to be a very serious talk; the next time she glanced over, Ginny was standing by herself on the lake shore, and Harry was talking to Ron and Hermione.

By the time all the dignitaries had gone through the gate and left for wherever they called home, Tonks could see puffs of steam coming from Hogsmeade station as the train got ready to depart. The students had been pulled through on their Thestral-drawn carriages in the midst of it.

She turned back toward the lake. Now, only a handful of people stood in the sunshine. McGonagall was beside the tomb, leaning on it heavily. Kingsley and Mad-Eye had regrouped and were having an intense conversation in the first row of chairs. House elves--including Dobby and Kreacher--were beginning to clean up. Mum and Dad were sitting with Aberforth, Mum patting his arm in a comforting way.

Tonks descended from her perch and went over to them.

Mum smiled at her. "Are you all right?"


"I see you got the pink back," Dad said.

Tonks shrugged and sat down on Aberforth's other side. "Will you be all right?" she asked him.

"You're a good girl," he said. "And I'll be fine. Did you see the smoke?" He smiled. "I reckon Albus would have clapped for that white smoke, if he could."

"I think you're right." Tonks looked around. "Did Remus come back with McGonagall?"

"He did," Dad said. "I'm not sure where he's gone."

"I should find him."

Dad reached up and squeezed her hand. "Why don't you both come to the house for dinner? I doubt either of you wants to cook."

She bent over and kissed his head, then scanned the grounds. She half-expected to see Remus near the Whomping Willow, but the area was clear. He wasn't near the tomb (and she didn't want to disturb McGonagall) or on the lake shore. She glanced up at the castle. There was no reason for him to be inside, but the great front door was ajar, and she knew--without wondering why--that he'd gone in.

The corridors seemed much larger empty than they had during the busy school year. Nearly Headless Nick floated by without taking any notice of Tonks and the Fat Friar was praying in the Great Hall, but other than that, it seemed utterly deserted. The house elves hadn't cleaned up from the move-out yet, since they were occupied with the funeral, so there was a lot of disorganized clutter in the corridors. Tonks let her feet guide her, and wasn't at all surprised to find herself on the seventh floor, standing in front of the Fat Lady, whose door was open now that the students were gone.

"Is Remus Lupin inside?" Tonks asked.

The Fat Lady, whose nose was red and swollen, waved her painted handkerchief and mumbled something that was most likely "Yes." Tonks went in.

The common room was silent and filled with shafts of golden sunlight. It looked like a cathedral draped in rich scarlet, the Gryffindor lion on a coat of arms above the fireplace. Tonks opened her mouth to call for Remus, but found that she couldn't disturb the quiet. The weight of generations seemed to settle around her, a thousand years of gangly teenagers shuffling their way through this room, opening their books, hiding their secret crushes and declaring their undying devotions. She could almost see Dumbledore here, perhaps curled on one of the sofas, reading a book (her mind supplied him with a Muggle adventure story). And there, by the window, was handsome Bill Weasley, toasting his brother's Quidditch successes. Emmeline Vance, seeming to float across the room, a book balanced on her head. Beside the fireplace, three armchairs were arranged in a semi-circle, and there was Sirius, casually draped over one of them, his foot swinging, a pile of books, all open to different places, on the floor beside him. James Potter, a shadowy figure in the chair beside him, and Peter Pettigrew lying on the floor, sucking on the end of his quill. The other chair was turned away from her, but she knew it was Remus, and he'd be sitting there cross-legged, his skinny knees resting lightly against the arms of the chair. These shades were so clear that Tonks felt she could almost touch them.

She was actually reaching out when she heard something thud several floors above her. The spell broke, and she ran for a pair of spiral staircases. She heard someone crying at the top of one of them, and followed it without thinking.

The stairs carried her further into the tower, past empty dormitories, to the very top.

Remus was kneeling beside one of the beds, something glittering around his fingers. His hands were clasped almost as if in prayer, and he was taking deep, shaky breaths.

"Remus?" she said. "Are you all right?"

He didn't answer.

She went to him and sat on the bed, putting her hand on the back of his neck, rubbing in gentle circles until the tears stopped.

"Thank you," he said, and turned to her. "How are you feeling?"

"As well as can be expected."

He pulled himself up to sit beside her. "How did you know I was here?"

"Just a guess."

"I didn't even know I was coming here. There's no reason to be here. If the house elves find anything the students have left, they usually send it back." He let the glittering thing in his hand unwind itself. It was a gold necklace with the words "My Sweetheart" on it.

"Where did that come from?" she asked.

He looked at it dully. "I'm guessing one of the boy's got it from a girlfriend. I'd put my gold on Ron--he was going with Lavender Brown, and this is precisely her style. She--" He stood up suddenly and threw the necklace across the room. "They're children, Dora," he said. "My God. 'My sweetheart.' She's sixteen! He's barely seventeen. Harry's sixteen. My God, why are any of them in a war?"

"Voldemort started one. It's either fight or roll over."

He nodded. "I know. I know it, Dora. I just..." He looked up, seeming confused to find himself here. "I used to watch Harry when Lily and James went out. It was Lily's way of slipping me money. Everyone knew it, but we all pretended politely that they called me because the baby enjoyed me so much. I liked pretending that. He had a Muggle toy. A doll sort of thing that had arms you could stretch for a foot or two. He'd hold one and I'd hold the other. Actually, I used a Sticking Charm on his hand so he wouldn't lose hold. He'd giggle. And then I'd read to him. And give him a bottle. And he's leaving school. He's leaving school to chase Voldemort down."

"Did he say that?"

"He will. I saw him talking to Ron and Hermione, and it looked... serious. He's not going to come back." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "He was such a good-tempered baby. Neville was always the loud one. Harry laughed a lot. James would take him up on the broomstick sometimes. Just flying low, sometimes doing little shallow dives. Lily would chew on her lip the whole time, but she didn't try to make him stop. Harry loved it too much. You could hear him laughing from so far away. Sirius couldn't wait to take him up in that motorcycle, but we all thought it should be later. The noise fr--" He swallowed. "Frightened him. I guess he'd have got used to it. Hagrid took him away on it and he fell asleep. Sirius could have taken him up. Just once. He would have got used to it."

Tonks ran her hand over his shoulder. "No one could have thought there wouldn't be a chance."

"Why not? We were at war. Why should we have been exempt?" He stood up and pointed at a bed beside the windows. "James slept over there. He died when we were twenty-two. Peter slept in the one by the door. I don't know when he died and left behind whatever is left at Voldemort's side. Sirius slept against the far wall. There were only the four of us. We were all very much alive then."

"You still are, Remus."

"I know. I'd forgotten that for a long time. Life was something that happened to everyone else while just went from moon to moon. A part of me still feels twenty-two, and just starting out. I've been asleep for so long."

Tonks slipped off the bed and retrieved the necklace, pocketing it absently. "I suppose life has a way of waking us up sometimes."

"Or taking us by the robes, shaking us, and yelling at us until we wake up on our own. Thank God."

"Why did you come here?

"I miss them. Did you know that Dumbledore had this room as well?"


"He told me that when I was teaching here."

"I can just imagine him hoarding sweets in his trunk."

"And Fawkes accidentally igniting a pile of dirty clothes." Remus smiled, but it broke against the horrible truth that Dumbledore was no longer hoarding sweets and Fawkes was nowhere to be found. "I hate this," he hissed.

"I know."

"We always told each other we were fighting so that Harry and Neville--and you--could have a safe world to grow up in. And now you're all in the same war, all over again. We didn't finish."

Tonks sat down. "When I first started training as an Auror," she said, "Mad-Eye told me to never think of it as something that would be finished. There's always going to be someone. Can't just wait around for paradise. The gate was locked a long time before we came along."

"I used to tell him stories. About all the wonderful things he'd see, once we got Voldemort out of the way. I believed it. I was so young. I wish Harry could be that young." He laughed bitterly. "I wish I could be again."

She went to him and kissed him, pressing her body against him. "You're not so old, Remus," she said. "Come on. Mum and Dad have invited us to London for dinner. I think we should go."

He looked one last time at the room, shuddering to himself as old ghosts seemed to pass through him.

She took his hand and led him away from Gryffindor Tower.


I feel a bit...: nervous nervous

120 comments or Leave a comment
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minoukatze From: minoukatze Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been following this for some time and hadn't commented yet. I'm sorry it's taken me this long!

Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Well done, and congrats on finishing it- this is a wonderful story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow. A quiet but wrenching conclusion, with the "older generation" watching in anguish as their children prepare to carry on their fight. This was a slightly foreboding note on which to end Shades, but given how HBP feels like the first part of a two-parter, perhaps that's how it should be.

I have enjoyed this whole saga, Fern, even the painful parts. Congratulations on finishing, and good luck with your original projects!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
It's got to be tough on the adults, knowing that they're sending a kid in there to solve the problem they couldn't fix.
From: octobersnow Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you hit the perfect tone for this. It is beautiful! Thank You.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I was a little nervous about the tone, whether it was right, or resolved things, or... you know. Jitters.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Here? You're ending it here?

Well, yes, it's the right place and everything, but here? now? I'm just not ready for this series to end.

Thank you.

For a wonderful year, and insight into the bit players, and the wizarding world, and tears and laughter.

Thank you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. This is what I do to relax--believe it or not, given how much I angst over it--so it's just good to have people who actually want to read it when I finish.
rainingtulips From: rainingtulips Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I don't typically leave comments because they'd simply be all gushing fulffiness (and I don't think I have anything terribly constructive to say now), but I just had to let you know that this ending was absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching. Lovely work.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Just beautiful, Fern. I do hope that you continue this series after the seventh book comes out, although I am glad that you are considering moving into original fic.

I must say, though, if you do ever feel the need to return to fic during periods of writer's block, I'd love to see more vignettes about the pups' future, as well as the continuation of your Ted & Andromeda elopement story, and more Lupinlets, and .... well anything by you, really.

Good luck on nano, and thanks for this wonderful story!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I may collect up and polish some of the R/T fics I've done here and at rt_challenge and put them up on the Sugar Quill.
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: October 23rd, 2006 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Life was something that happened to everyone else while just went from moon to moon.

I think you're missing an 'I' after 'while'?

Beautiful ending. I liked how Tonks noticed the Slytherins off by the side and how she felt that they must be lonely.

Though I do wonder why Tonks pocketed the necklace?
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, I didn't mean for all of the comment to be in italics. But anyway, congratulations on finishing this! It fits so well with HBP that it feels like canon. :)
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading this all along and have loved it! I can't wait for book 7 to come out so that I can also read your version. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
If she opens it with Remus and Tonks saying, "Ah, it was fun while it lasted, but let's see other people," I'm kind of out of luck. ;)
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Can't just wait around for paradise. The gate was locked a long time before we came along.

Words to live by - and a perfect note to end this story on. Thank you so much for writing it: it's been a marvellous read.

Best of luck for Nano and your future work.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, and thanks for the luck--I'll need it!
mylla From: mylla Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I haven't been commenting, simply because I just don't tend to review in general (selfish, I know!) but I've been keeping up with and looking forward to every installment of this story, and I just wanted to offer up my congratulations for a job well done, and a final part that really made me cry - something fanfic hasn't made me do in quite a while. I really admire all your writing, especially your ability to capture the characters exactly as I see them, and I'm disappointed I won't be able to look forward to Shades any more after this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I was worried that the final segment was a little too disconnected. I'm glad it worked.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Wait, it's OVER? But it was such a good excuse for procrastinating on my homework! Now I might have to actually get work done. :(

Beautiful ending! We're left with the perfect amount of dread and hope, with the two points of view. Tonks' pragmatic view of the future, especially her quote from Moody, was just what Remus needed to stop feeling sorry for himself--at least I hope it was.

Cutting off when you did was smart; If you'd gone any farther, you may have been in dangerous territory... What if we find out in Book 7 that Remus and Tonks were run over by rampaging Thestrals a mere 5 minutes after Dumbledore's funeral? XD

Can I ask if you're planning to do a companion to book 7? And whether it change your plans if we find out that Remus or Tonks is killed in the course of it?

Oh, and I noticed a minor typo: "while just went from moon to moon." I think there should be an I after the first word.

Thank you for countless hours of wonderful entertainment,

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Can I ask if you're planning to do a companion to book 7? And whether it change your plans if we find out that Remus or Tonks is killed in the course of it?

Unless I have a major contract with a big publishing house that says, "Get thy fanfic offline"--not likely--I'll probably do a book 7 when it comes out. Unless the whole thestral thing happens. Then I'll just be ticked. ;p

(Honestly, if she kills them off in any way, I don't think I could do it. But I don't think she will.)
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)


I haven't been commenting, but I've been reading. And I'm so sad to see this end, but it's been really amazing. ♥
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *sniffle*

Thank you!
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Fern. It's odd. i'm talking to the same person i was talking to the day i found Shifts. Christmas Eve, nearly two years ago. And now Shades is over. It's sad.

I can't wait, though, to see what you come up with next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm hoping it will be something good!
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I really haven't anything to say about that final segment, other than I'm sad it's over (though I can see that you're probably more relieved than sad).

I hope the final book gives you plenty of ideas for another sequel. You've managed not to commit yourself to anything that can be canon-balled other tha Greyback's capture and I think you could write yourself out of that without too much difficulty.

Thank you for a wonderful story. I hope you do manage a few more HP one-shots before JKR publishes and best of luck for nano.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
(though I can see that you're probably more relieved than sad)
I expect that feeling to last about twenty-four hours, when I sit down after work tomorrow, open up my "Post" window and realize that it's still, in fact, done!
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: October 23rd, 2006 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
This has been just wonderful Fern. Thank you for dedicating so much time to writing it! Good luck with NaNo!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 23rd, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
120 comments or Leave a comment
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