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Shifts, Chapter 3: Old Joe, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chapter 3: Old Joe, part 3
I promise "Old Joe" will actually appear in the next part. But this part went on a bit longer than I anticipated, and I never did make it to the Garveys.

Table of contents and summary so far

At eleven-forty the next morning, Remus was leaning against the wall of a Muggle bookshop in a neighborhood two miles from Grimmauld Place. He didn't know the shop or the neighborhood, and Dora had only been here once or twice, which had made it seem like a good neutral meeting ground, but as he checked his watch for the third time, he wondered if she had managed to forget her way here.

Then again, she was only ten minutes late. For Dora, that was very nearly on time.

Two taxicabs trundled by, and Remus idly wondered how much it would cost to take one to Allan Garvey's, then a horn blasted and he looked down. Dora was leaning across from the driver's side of Ted Tonks's car, pushing the passenger door open. Remus ducked inside.

"Morning, Remus," she said, readjusting the rearview mirror, which she'd managed to hit with the top of her had as she sat back up.

"Morning, Remus," someone else said.

Remus turned. Ted Tonks was sitting in the back, his hand raised in a vague greeting. His black hair was only beginning to be threaded with gray and his face was largely unlined. Despite being four years Remus's senior, he actually looked considerably younger.

"Ted," Remus said. "I wasn't expecting you."

"Andromeda wanted to talk to her sister alone," Ted explained. "Which generally means that she expects to lose her temper and doesn't want me there for it."

"Is it wise to leave her alone with Narcissa?"

Dora gave a snort of laughter. "Mum can take Aunt Narcissa. For one thing, Aunt Narcissa is bound in our house. Of course she doesn't know it."


"If Aurors present would start humming?" Ted said, and Dora obligingly did so. "Unlike Sirius, Andromeda learned a thing or two from her parents. She used a blood spell to bind her sisters within the confines of the charm. It doesn't work for any distance--or for anyone who's not a close blood relative--but it's reasonably effective in the house, on spells directed at Andromeda and Dora. Or, in theory, any they direct at Narcissa or her boy. It's not exactly on the approved list of security charms, of course. Human blood and all."

Remus digested this. He had known Andromeda Tonks for the better part of thirty years, and it had never occurred to him to wonder if she'd studied the Dark Arts her family was so well known for. Sirius had disdained them with a certain amount of rebellious glee, and he supposed he'd just assumed Andromeda had done the same. Blood spells. Literal blood spells, not just the kind of familial tie business that Dumbledore had used with Petunia Dursley. Human blood, worked into charms. He shook his head.

"Anyway," Dora said, dropping the tune she'd started, "Dad took off with me. We'll drop him at the British Museum. He can waste a good handful of hours there. Meanwhile, he wanted to have a look at his white-haired son-in-law. Shocking, isn't he?"

"It takes a fair bit more than that to shock a Seer," Ted said gravely.

"Dad, you've predicted a Chudley championship for ten years now."

"And I won't be at all shocked when it happens." Ted actually was a fairly accomplished Seer, or as he preferred to call it, "a right good guesser." The difference between Ted Tonks and Sybil Trelawney was night and day--Ted found nothing at all mysterious about his work, considered it the most fallible discipline, and often called the talent "the most uselessly amusing thing I own." While Andromeda worked at St. Mungo's, helping people with permanent injuries, Ted worked there in a rehabilitation laboratory, scrying out possibilities for them. He thought it rubbish to predict "the future," but could often see several paths that a decision might open up for a patient, as well as any potential dangers. Beyond a bit of scrying, he said he mainly used common sense advice. But when it came to nonsense like who would win the Quidditch championship, his guesses were never any better than anyone else's, so he always uttered them in a deep, faux-mystical voice that made Andromeda laugh.

He leaned forward between the seats. "So, Remus... you realize I'm going to have to hate you now. Sacred duty as a father and all."


Dora frowned. "Dad, Remus doesn't like those jokes."

"I note that it hasn't stopped you," Remus said.

"I don't say I'll hate you. You do know Dad's joking, right?"

"Yes, Dora."

Ted laughed and rolled his eyes in Remus's direction. Dora had nurtured a crush on Remus for several years of her childhood, and this sort of thing had always been a joke among the three of them. "At any rate," Ted said, "I actually came along instead of just Apparating because Andromeda's worried about Sirius. She wants me to pass on her concern to as many people who of course have no contact with him whatsoever as is humanly possible."

"Well, I'll be sure to tell the thin air in the house I live in alone when I get home this evening."

"Joking aside, Remus, she's desperate to see him. And I'm telling you as a Seer--I don't know what's happening with Sirius, but it can only be helpful to him to make stronger connections with people who are around him now. The world... it's like a safety net, you know, holding us all up. But Sirius only has a few strands to keep him steady."

"I know."

Dora rounded a corner onto Montague Place and pulled up to the edge of the street. The entrance of the British Museum was quite crowded with tourists, and Ted shook his head as he got out of the car. He leaned through the driver's side window and kissed Dora's cheek. "Well, love, I'll see you for dinner tomorrow. Remus, I don't suppose you'd join us? You had Sunday dinners with us so often in the past, I don't think anyone would look askance."

"Full moon tomorrow," Remus said.

"Right. I forgot. See you on the other side of it." He disappeared into the crowd.

Dora pulled into traffic. "Well," she said, "we're off."

When Remus looked over, she had morphed into Dora Lewis, her brown eyes twinkling out from under a sheaf of thick gray hair.
12 comments or Leave a comment
mafdet From: mafdet Date: June 4th, 2004 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't really miss old Joe - I loved the interplay between Ted, Dora, and Remus. Ted is a very KEWL guy. And hats off to Dora for being able to drive so well in London.

I've been to the British Museum, and one could get lost there for several days. There is just so much to see. A huge chiming clock on one floor which is about six feet tall and has a gazillion different chimes, loads of Egyptian stuff including cat mummies, and of course the Rosetta Stone. I wanna go back!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 4th, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I went to the website to find out what street the entrance was on and what it looked like and I really had to force myself away from it to sit down and write. :)
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 4th, 2004 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm assuming you mean the Natural History Museum in London? (the same one that featured in Greystoke) I have been there - nerd that I am, it was one of my MUSTS when I visited the UK back n '84; something I had always wanted to see since I was little.
It was totally awesome, wonderful, and everything I had imagined. I could have spent DAYS there.

My only quibble with you having the characters calling it the "British Museum" in this story is that I'm not sure that locals would call it that. The London Museum maybe, or the Natural History Museum. I've never called it the British Museum myself.
Also, when we go to the Melbourne Museum we just say we're going to the Museum, not the Melbourne Museum and definately not the Australian Museum. It's only when we're going to one of the lesser museums that we label them. But the main one, the 'biggie', is just THE Museum.
Maybe I'm nitpicking, but it was just something that jumped out at me as a little awkward.
myf From: myf Date: June 5th, 2004 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
No, no, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum are two very different places - the former in Bloomsbury, near Russell Square, and the latter in Kensington, near the Science Museum and not too far from the Victoria and Albert Museum. And the locals definitely would refer to it as 'the British Museum'. Even if it is the 'biggie'. ;)

Can you tell I spent a great deal of time in the museums of London? I was going to remark that I love Ted even more now, because if I have to kill several hours in London, the British Museum is my first preference. There's nothing like sitting in the Reading Room and being distracted for hours on end.

One little thing that might be a nitpick - if a Pom could come and tell us whether this usage is Brit or not: '... and all.' As in 'what with X and all.' For some reason, that sounds particularly American to me, and '... and everything' would be more fitting. But again, it's just a feeling, and a real Brit may like to correct me.

Ooh, Dark Arts Andromeda! Intriguing.

And I have to say that I loved the description of Sirius disdaining the Dark Arts with 'rebellious glee'. It fits him perfectly.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: June 5th, 2004 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep. We would definitely call it the British Museum. It's one of top ten good points about living in this city :) If you really want a picky nit-pick, the main entrance is in Great Russell Street, and that is where you see most of the tourists as they don't tend to know about the other one. That's the picture you can see on the front page of the 'visit' section of their site.

'and all' is OK, but it is a bit American sounding. You might be better off with 'you know' or 'and that', or even 'and everything'.

Of course I have to flounce off to sulk now that I have been referred to as a Pom ;)
myf From: myf Date: June 5th, 2004 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
*g* Meant in the most affectionate possible way, of course!

Myf, a loyal subject.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 5th, 2004 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I stand corrected! See, you do learn something every day! :~D
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 4th, 2004 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Damn, but I love your Ted Tonks!

That is all :).
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: June 5th, 2004 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, this has nothing to do with "Shifts", but where do you get these user icons, Atropos and Fernwithy??? Did you make them by yourselves?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 5th, 2004 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)

It was all the rage a week or so ago. ;)
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: June 5th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Finally... I did it, too...Thanks...
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 5th, 2004 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I did love the joking about Sirius. "As many people who of course have no contact with him whatsoever as is humanly possible." And that Ted is worried as a Seer.

And Andromeda's blood spell, actually. It fits very well with the protectiveness you've given her before.
12 comments or Leave a comment