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19 July 2007 @ 01:32 am
Landslide (excerpt)  
Title: Landslide (excerpt)
Author: shimotsuki
Rating and Warnings: G for this excerpt
Prompt: "It's the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."
Word Count: 1154
Summary: The night Draco Malfoy smuggles Death Eaters into Hogwarts, everything changes for Remus. Everything.
Author's Notes: Another piece of the Kaleidoscope series, taking place about four months after Reaction.

I'm forced to admit that I can't possibly finish all of Landslide for the Showdown, but I thought at least I'd post the first bit now, and post the rest on my own journal sometime later.

Landslide

Remus Apparated into the fading twilight, automatically shifting his weight to keep his balance when he landed on the uneven ground. He stood motionless for a moment, holding his breath, watching and listening for anything amiss. He didn't much like arriving someplace unsecured with an audible pop, but time was short and he'd had no choice but to come straight here. At least he'd landed as close to the Hogwarts gates as he dared without risking an uncomfortable encounter with the school's anti-Apparition spells. That meant that anyone lurking nearby was likely to be a friend rather than a foe.

Probably.

Remus wasn't entirely sure what to expect tonight, actually, or who his partners would be for this mission. Three days before, it had been business as usual, foraging for food and usable rubbish with the rest of Greyback's pack. Then Moody had found him and passed on a completely unexpected request from Dumbledore: Remus was to invent an excuse to leave the pack for a few days so that he could wait at the Burrow. "Just in case," Moody had said, his magical eye never pausing in its restless surveillance of the rubbish-filled alley where they stood. "Dumbledore'll send you a Patronus if it turns out he needs you."

And Remus certainly wouldn't deny it had been a gift beyond price to find himself suddenly clean, sleeping in a soft bed, and eating as much warm, delicious food as Molly could press on him. Not to mention being surrounded by people he trusted—it was only when he finally had a chance to let down his guard that he realized just how exhausting true "constant vigilance" was. All in all, he'd been unable to suppress a sharp pang of regret when Dumbledore's Patronus finally arrived, knowing that it meant an end to his reprieve.

The message had been unusually cryptic, even for Dumbledore.

I must leave Hogwarts tonight on an urgent errand, so I am in need of three Order members to provide additional security at the school. If you are available, please reply at once and prepare to join your fellow guards at the main gates at dusk.


It hadn't been long before sunset when the Patronus had found him, so he'd barely had time to send back a hasty reply and put his few things in order at the Burrow. Now here he was, at the gates of the school, in the gathering darkness.

"Oi, Remus!" Someone hailed him softly from behind, and Remus recognized Bill's voice. He turned around, ready to smile at the friendly young man.

But the smile died before it had time to reach his eyes.

Bill was not alone. Standing beside him, in the shadow of the Hogwarts gates, was the one Order member that Remus had desperately hoped would not be on this mission.

Nymphadora Tonks.

She stood with the wide, solid stance of an Auror; chin up, shoulders squared, wand at the ready. But her eyes were enormous in her thin, drawn face. And her hair was still brown—stubbornly, distressingly brown.

To his shame, the shock of this unexpected encounter made him lower his defences. He let himself start drowning in those clear, dark eyes, and it seemed like ages before he found the strength to wrench his gaze away from hers.

He missed her so terribly much. He missed her cheerful laugh, their easy banter, the comfortable warm feeling he always got just from spending time with her.

And then there was the kiss, the one he never should have let her give him. The one he relived again and again in his dreams during long cold nights in exile.

The one he mustn't think about—not with her standing right there—or all would be lost.

He closed his eyes for just a moment, and when he opened them again, he was able to focus on Bill's face instead. "We should start for the castle," he managed. "It's getting dark. Dumbledore may already have left by now."

. * . * .


Tonks concentrated on where she stepped so that she wouldn't lose her footing on the rough ground. Bill, in the lead, was setting a brisk pace for the long walk up to the school. She and Remus formed the base of a triangle, wands drawn as they scanned for danger to the sides and behind.

"I see you've still got your wand." She didn't try very hard to keep the hurt and disappointment out of her voice, and she didn't care if Remus heard it. "Death Eaters haven't come for it, then?"

She'd been terrified for his sake when he first asked her to keep his wand for him, once he'd decided it wasn't safe to have it when he was with Greyback's pack—terrified, but also secretly exhilarated that she was the one he trusted with it. But that was months ago, now. When they'd still been friends, even though Remus insisted it was out of the question for him to let himself love her. When he still looked at her, really looked, instead of hiding behind that calm, mild face that he used with strangers.

At first, after her impetuous kiss last summer had shaken him to the core, she'd been so sure that she could make him see reason. However vehemently he protested that he had to live his life alone, she knew he loved her. He'd even admitted it once. She'd tried to convince him, again and again, that things could work out between them if only he'd give it a chance. He'd been unmoved by either logical or emotional arguments, but they'd still had their friendship, and that gave her something solid and precious to lean on in these frightening times.

And then things had changed. She didn't really know why. The last time he'd come back from the pack, he'd gone all remote and polite on her. And he'd asked for his wand back. Handing it over and watching him leave—without once really looking at her—was like having her heart torn out.

Now, he was clearly flustered by her pointed questions. "I—erm—the Burrow is my usual contact point with the Order these days, so Molly and Arthur have been keeping it there." At least he was embarrassed about what he'd done. But even so, he kept himself occupied searching the trees off to his right so that he wouldn't have to meet her eyes.

Tonks ground her teeth in frustration.

Still, she'd watched from the shadows as he Apparated to the school gates tonight. She'd seen how thin he was, and how tired and quietly sad he seemed when he thought no one could see. And he'd looked at her. Hadn't he? For just an instant, when he turned around and met her eyes, she'd felt that she was staring right into his soul.

Maybe things between them weren't so different now, after all.

. * to be continued * .
[ETA, January 2012(!): I've finally written the whole story -- you can find it here.]
 
 
 
ET: Book Loveet13 on July 19th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
Hello! I've friended you cause I'd love to read the rest! =)

(Don't feel obliged to friend me back - you might not want me to see your friends only entries or you don't want to give me the ability to comment on your journal cause of DH.)

I just know that if I don't have you about I'll totally forget, and that would be a pity!
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
Hi, and thanks for the comment! I'm delighted to have you friend me, and glad to hear you'd like to keep up with this story. (I mainly use my own f-list for keeping track of fics, so please don't mind if I don't friend you back. I don't really post much that's f-locked, anyway, except for the occasional meme.)
jncar: tonksjncar on July 19th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
So many different layers of emotion here. Very interesting start. I'm looking forward to more!
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks -- glad you're intrigued. ;) I will finish this, but I may need to get more Kaleidoscope backstory worked out first (i.e., other fics may intervene)...
gilpin25: Brown eyegilpin25 on July 20th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you posted this extract as it's got me very intrigued.

There's so many things got mentioned in this that I'd like to read and know the answer to - the kiss, of course, when he admitted he loved her, why he wanted his wand back, why their friendship changed... It's a long list. ;)

Tantalising to a very large degree and I'm holding you to that "finishing it on your LJ" promise! :)
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment -- glad to hear this did pique your interest, as I really agonized over whether posting something so unfinished was a good idea...

I want this to be a stand-alone piece eventually, but it does make reference to events in other fics from Kaleidoscope. The kiss and the confession actually appear in Unattainable, and the bit about their friendship changing was a (possibly too-subtle, heh) reference to what Remus tells Molly after the Spectrespecs incident in Reaction (although that's going to get further development in a R- or T-POV fic at some point).
gilpin25: Daisiesgilpin25 on July 25th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
I've just had a quick look at Unattainable - it was in our PF (Pre-Friending;)) Days, so I'd never read it before. I always fall for your Remus like Tonks does... ;)
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
I always fall for your Remus like Tonks does... ;) -- Awww! (The feeling is mutual...) I'm wishing I'd made more of the kiss in Unattainable, actually, but I'll probably revise that one someday.
JD: Tonksjdbracknell on July 20th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, you tease! You've laid so many clues her as to what might come in the full thing - the love thing, the kiss, the building tension of what we know is about the happen at Hogwarts. I can't wait to read more.

That aside, the thing that really stood out for me here was Dumbledore's note. So easy to write a bad Dumbledore - but here you didn't - it was perfectly Dumbledore. The other thing that really stood out was these lines:

To his shame, the shock of this unexpected encounter made him lower his defences. He let himself start drowning in those clear, dark eyes, and it seemed like ages before he found the strength to wrench his gaze away from hers.

I think that however you look at it, whether they've had a relationship during OoTP and HBP or not, been just good friends, it seems evident that it's causing him huge effort not to be with her, and you captured that brilliantly.
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
it seems evident that it's causing him huge effort not to be with her -- Exactly what I was going for; glad you thought that worked! In this ficverse they may not have had a relationship in any official or physical sense yet, but they've both completely lost their hearts, whether they meant to or not.

Glad you liked Dumbledore. ;) And the love thing and the kiss are actually references to an older fic, Unattainable, although I do mean for Landslide to be a stand-alone piece.
What's Taters, Precious?mrstater on July 24th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm dying for more! Please say you'll continue it after all, because I really want to see you do this. And to echo gilpin25, I desperately want to know about the impetuous kiss and his admission of love!

The thing I thought was most poignant was Remus enjoying the comforts of civilized society, and being almost irked at Dumbledore for pulling him away for more duty. I think he really does struggle with Dumbledore's authority sometimes, though he hates the thought of entertaining a disloyal thought. He's so human, you always capture that so wonderfully.
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks for the encouraging comments. I'm pretty sure I will finish this piece (although I may need to write more backstory fics first to get everything straight). It may even work to extend the Kaleidoscope series straight into DH, but I'm still thinking about that. Anyway, the kiss and the confession are actually references to another Kaleidoscope fic, Unattainable. ;)

Remus enjoying the comforts of civilized society, and being almost irked at Dumbledore for pulling him away for more duty -- Yes, the poor thing's had a rough year! It's not the duty he's dreading, though, so much as having to go back to the pack afterward (or so he thinks).
What's Taters, Precious?mrstater on July 25th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
Oh! I was away during part of that rt_challenge and missed that one! Guh. So lovley and heartbreaking. And I think you really could extend your series into DH. Urm, without saying spoilers...it would be an interesting take on the pace in that book and the reaction Remus has to it. LOL, wow, I hate this non-spoiler rule. ;)
shimotsuki: rtshimotsuki on July 25th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's hard to avoid inadvertent spoilers. ;) I think I'm allowed to say that it kept hitting me, as I was reading DH, how easily a lot of the new canon could be made to work with the Kaleidoscope 'verse...
godricgal: adorkable David Thewlisgodricgal on July 27th, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
This is a lovely start, and I'm very much looking forward to the rest of it. I thought you captured both of their emotions very well, the hurt, the confusion, Remus' feelings towards her and how his heart and mind conflict as they must do most painfully.

Liked it a lot. :)
shimotsukishimotsuki on July 28th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comment -- glad to hear you thought the emotions worked for both of them, as I wasn't sure I'd managed Tonks entirely convincingly!
phe_ophe_o on August 1st, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
Wow, what a great beginning... The wand-bearer idea is yet another unique creation of yours! I can't wait to read the rest.
shimotsukishimotsuki on August 2nd, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it!

(The idea of Remus not being able to have his wand with him when he was with the pack was inspired by fernwithy's story Shades, so I'm afraid it's not so unique -- but I've tried to put my own spin on why he couldn't have it, and I'm definitely doing something different about how he asked Tonks to keep it and what that means to them.)