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Shifts, Chapter 10: Risks, Part 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 10: Risks, Part 4
Remus is at Andromeda and Ted's, seeking help from Andromeda--he needs her to examine Joe Levinson for magical injuries.


Table of Contents and Summary So Far





The Tonkses' front room was full of comfortably sprung armchairs, open books (Remus could see at least four lying face down to hold a page), and energetic photographs that had been taken in the room over the years. Remus saw himself in them, standing slightly off to one side in most cases, and he saw Dora, Dora, and quite a bit more Dora. Andromeda had always refused to photograph her in "extreme morphs," as she called the full disguises, so she only had the kind of minor deviations from year to year that one would see in any growing child. Some photographs were simply Ted and Andromeda, and a few were still Muggle photographs of Ted and his mother. Andromeda had culled newspaper photos of her sisters' weddings, and these were also on the wall, looking stern and forbidding and unwelcome. There were no pictures of Sirius, of course; she'd taken them down when he was arrested, and it would have been unwise at the moment to put them back up.

Andromeda absently plucked a cat from the sofa and sat down with it. It gave a sleepy meow then immediately dozed off on her lap. She scratched behind its ears. "What exactly do you need me to do?" she asked.

Remus drew his eyes away from the photographs and sat in his favorite armchair. "I need you to examine a Muggle."

Dora sat on the ottoman, her legs curled under her. "We think he was attacked magically, but we aren't sure."

"What are his symptoms?"

Remus briefly described what he knew of Joe Levinson's symptoms. "It came on quite suddenly," he said. "And after he interfered with something happening to Dudley Dursley--"

"--it might have been Aunt Narcissa--"

"--or it might have been a Muggle... lady."

"The point is that we ought to know if it is magical, before we treat it that way."

Andromeda sighed. "I don't suppose you could bring him to St. Mungo's and then do a Memory Charm?"

"Even if I were comfortable with that, I'm a bit worried about him being seen there. If it was a magical attack and it's involved with the Dursley boy, then it has something to do with Harry somewhere."

"Comfortable with it?"

"Remus has got a bit indignant about Memory Charms this year."

"Right." Andromeda shrugged. "Well, after two years of helping to look after poor Gilderoy, I'm not a great fan of them myself.

"That's his own fault," Dora muttered. "Trying to curse the boys."

"He has no idea who Ted and I are. Ted's been up there with him for hours at a time, teaching him to write again, but Gilderoy has no notion that we were all friends once."

"I seem to remember him forgetting that about the time you and Ted started dating," Remus said.

"At any rate, I'm not at all certain how you do want to go about this, if you're averse to Memory Charms. He is a Muggle, and the Statute of Secrecy applies even to medical procedures."

"I don't know, either," Remus admitted. "I don't even have an idea."

"I do," Dora said.

"You do?"

She nodded. "Miriam... well, those faculty parties, that's where she gets to talk to someone other than Joe, and..."

"Faculty parties?" Andromeda asked.

"I've got to be friends with some of the other faculty wives," Dora said, then blushed. "I mean, some of the real faculty wives."

"They're three times your age!" Remus said.

"They're nice ladies. I like them. Anna promised to teach us to play bridge next time." She sniffed. "Anyway, that's when Miriam feels like she can talk, you know? About what's going on. Without upsetting Joe."

Andromeda nodded in a knowledgeable way. Remus affected a wise expression.

"And she says that they've got a bit desperate--tried all different sorts of Muggle medicine. She's got him drinking herbal tea, and she had a Chinese doctor poke him with needles, and... well, she looked embarrassed about it, but she said she bought an amulet at a jewelry store."

"An amulet?"

"It's a legitimate shape--the warding hand," Dora said. "But it's not Charmed, so it's just jewelry. The point is, she's at the point where she's willing to try anything, even if it sounds a bit odd. Some of the other ladies were suggesting old superstions. And I think... Well, they think I'm a bit of a wild and free spirit, of course..."

"It's a deliberate act," Remus felt compelled to add. "I don't remember why, but we decided that she should be a bit... tweedy. A bit out there, you know."

"It was because Sirius said that was the type of woman you liked."

Andromeda laughed. "And of course, it's totally different from your everyday personality."

"Well..."

"Miriam?" Remus prompted.

"Yes... anyway, I mentioned that I didn't have anything against unusual cures. So perhaps I could say I have an odd idea, and we could go over together? You could be my even dottier sister. Do all sorts of dramatic-looking things, but really just examine him."

"It could work," Andromeda said cautiously. "I wouldn't have to do anything particularly requiring his attention. But if there is something wrong with him..."

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Remus said. "Now, next weekend--"

"I work," Andromeda said. "We aren't all on school schedules, you know."

"Right."

Dora stood up. "Look, I'm going to go downstairs and use our brand new telephone to see if Miriam will have us over at all."

Andromeda waved her wand and a bit of parchment appeared. She gave it to Dora. "My work schedule," she explained. "And I do have to be there."

"Mum... I've been a Healer's daughter for a long time now." Dora rolled her eyes and disappeared down the stairs.

"Don't morph around the computer!" Mum called after her. "Dad said it froze up or some such the last time you tried."

"And I'm sure it was all my fault!" Dora called back.

"My computer at work doesn't seem to be affected by my Appearance Charms," Remus said. "As long as I don't touch its innards, anyway."

"Well, this one is a bit picky. Or something. It's like a fussy Potion, I swear. Do anything wrong and it becomes completely useless. I don't see the attraction."

"It has its uses," Remus said. "I can't quite accustom myself to writing class schedules and assignments on it, but it's proved quite handy for communicating with my students, if they need something clarified, or if they've missed class because they're ill."

"You're enjoying this."

"Yes. I admit it freely. It's good to have something resembling a normal life, even if it is all something of a lie."

Andromeda looked away uncomfortably. "Remus... may I ask you something? I don't want to ask Nymphadora, because she'd never let it go, and I just want to know one way or the other..."

Remus, baffled, said, "What is it?"

She looked over vaguely, then looked down at the sleeping cat on her lap. "This business with you and Dora being together... is it just a part of the act?"

"What?"

"It doesn't matter, one way or the other," Andromeda said quickly. "Really. I just--"

"It's part of the act," Remus said blankly.

Andromeda sighed with relief. "Oh, good. I mean... I mean, oh, good. I just wasn't sure. And I'm not sure I'm quite ready to deal with that."

Remus blinked at her, not having the faintest idea what he was supposed to say to that particular declaration.

"Like I said, though, I just wanted to know. Don't tell Dora that I asked. It was just a thought I couldn't quite ignore, and--"

"It's part of the act," Remus said again.

"Right. Then that's that." She smiled nervously. "Ted jokes about it, you know."

"I know. So does Sirius. I'm just surprised you believed it."

"I didn't. I just couldn't quite ignore it. I know how fond you are of one another, and... well... it doesn't matter. Part of the act."

"Part of the act, yes."

They sat awkwardly until they heard Dora come back upstairs, looking excited. "That was fun," she said, curling back onto the ottoman. "I told Miriam that my sister knew a kind of healing she could do on the whole house. One of the other ladies mentioned a Chinese kind of magic--well, what Muggles think of as magic--about that and swore it worked. Miriam's keen to try it. It looks like your schedules don't match very well. If we're going to do this before December, it will have to be tomorrow night."

Remus came up from his surprise at Andromeda's question. "Dora, tomorrow night doesn't entirely fit with my schedule. I doubt she'd appreciate a werewolf in the living room."

"I know. But it was the only time, and you're not really necessary for this. You'd just be sitting around and watching."

There was no argument.

Remus stayed for dinner, glad to see Andromeda's awkwardness fade completely before he left. When he got back to Grimmauld Place, he told Sirius about the plan.

Sirius wrinkled his nose in a near-perfect reflection of Narcissa and said, "Weren't we supposed to be doing this?"

Remus sighed and went up to bed.

All day Tuesday, the coming of the moon pulled at his mind, and it took all of his concentration to get through his classes. The day before the moon was easier than the day after it, but it wasn't entirely normal, either. Several of the boys tried to get him to come to an afterschool event--a football game, he thought, but was too distracted to be certain--and he struggled for excuses that wouldn't disappoint them too much, finally settling for a weak mumble that he'd promised his wife he'd be home early. Paul Freehof waggled his eyebrows in assumed worldly knowledge.

Remus nearly ran into the woods, diving for the shadows, Apparating as soon as he was certain he was alone. He arrived at the shack (in the Cornish countryside, this time) and hurriedly put the blocking spells on the door. He swelled the boards deep into the earth, and threw a testing spell at the structure. It held.

Carefully, he locked himself in, placing his wand on the high shelf and opening the hatch on the skylight.

As the shadows lenghthened, he carefully removed his clothes and set them on the shelf beside his wand, where they would be safe.

Then he sat in the deepening darkness, and waited for the change.



20 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
malabud From: malabud Date: September 14th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I like how Remus is utterly unaware of what is going on in his own life. He lives in Egypt encamped by De Nile. So, I'm curious, what would Andromeda's reaction have been if his answer was different?

Also, his excuse of going home early to his wife could come back to bite him. If Miriam and Joe happen to tell others that Dora and her batty sister were at their house this particular night, someone could make the connection: "Hey, wasn't that the night you said your wife wanted you home early? What were you really doing?" Not that people are that nosy or adept at remember specifics like that, but it could happen.

I am avidly following this story! Just so you know, I'm trying to convert a friend to HP fanfic, and I'm going to recommend this story to her. She's a big fan of Remus Lupin.

P.S. You write that he carefully removed his robes, but he shouldn't be wearing robes. He just came directly from school, so he'd be wearing whatever muggle clothing he wore to school that day, not robes.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent catch! Thanks.
(Deleted comment)
mincot From: mincot Date: September 14th, 2004 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)
A very minor nitpick: My computer at work doesn't seem to be effected by my Appearance Charms Would be "affected". I like the way you have ANdromeda coming to see Joe, and I really, really liked the way you showed Andromeda's concern about Remus and Tonks. It rather reminded me of the way many otherwise educated, compassionate, non-prejudiced people felt about blacks or Jews--Oh, I'm sure they're nice people and shouldn't be discriminated against, but there's just NO house for sale in OUR neighborhood ... or are you SURE you want to be involved with him, dear ... It's that sort of thoughtless prejudice-masking-as-concern that was often not even noticed by the people who practiced it, but which set up barriers and discrimination as effectively--more effectively,a ctually--than all the hatred-spewing screaming people ever could.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Ack. Affect/effect... going to kill me yet. I can keep it straight for "affect" as emotion and "effect" as, well, effect. But I more or less flipped a coin on that one.

I hadn't thought about the werewolf part of Andromeda's reaction, though that might play into it. I think she's more along the lines of, "Remus is a contemporary of mine; we were in school together. And Dora's just a little girl... and he used to babysit her... and if there's something going on..." And so on.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: September 14th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
"Affect" as emotion? *slightly puzzled* I'm missing a meaning, perhaps? The way I was always taught to remember it, for the overwhelming majority of uses (any time you could theoretically, if not very gracefully, replace either one with "influence," come to think of it), affect is the verb and effect is the noun. I was taught the verb "effect" meaning "to bring about" as an exception; "affect" meaning "to pretend or fake" is still kind of stuck as a secondary meaning in my mind. (And I vaguely remember that it may have a noun form but never think of it enough to use it for anything.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Too much psychology--"The sociopath demonstrates inappropriate affect," etc. Also, root of affection.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: September 14th, 2004 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Aaah. Okay. Common usage is relative, and I should remember that considering some of my lab vocabulary. ;)
sonetka From: sonetka Date: September 14th, 2004 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know - I didn't see it either, to be honest. I thought it was more the "You're fantastic, but I went to school with you!" line of thinking. I didn't get the impression that they were hustling Remus in the back door so the neighbors wouldn't see, or that they objected to having him out with their daughter in places where other wizards might see them. I'd imagine that Andromeda of all people would be sympathetic towards love-stricken wizards of non-pureblood-endorsed background :) - I'm sure the Black family would just as soon have had her marry a pureblood werewolf before a Muggle-born, though it would probably be a near thing. (Not that Remus is pureblood, I think, but you know what I mean).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, they kind of have all Apparating visitors rushed in through the back yard, as they don't live in Diagon Alley, but in a normal Muggle neighborhood. They have to have a little hidden space to keep things, well, hidden. :)

And yes, I was thinking the more of the "But I went to school with you!" angle.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: September 15th, 2004 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, so he is hustled through the backyard. But he can rest easily in the knowledge that everyone else's discomfort is just as great as his :).

I'm looking forward to more of "Shifts". Happy Rosh Hashanah, BTW! (It's begun now, hasn't it?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a bit late for that--Smeltings will just have to be unusual, since that was the reason Blythe insisted he learn the computer several chapters ago. ;)

At any rate, I'm not sure it's so much an Americanism as a non-teacher-ism. I needed him to have an impetus to learn the computer, so I made up a nitpicky requirement for him to submit his lesson plans to the department head. I don't know that American teachers would ever need to do such a thing, either (I've certainly never heard of it)--it's just a weird Smeltings-ism, created specifically as a plot point in this individual story.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2004 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
It's '95. It was pretty well integrated by then. I'm not exactly Miss Tech, and I was on regular e-mail (PINE) by '93, and a lot of my regular mailing list correspondents were British, so I'd have to assume it wasn't all that rare.
(Deleted comment)
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: September 14th, 2004 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This was very nice, Fern. Your excellent descriptions continue to add to the characterizations -- Tonks curling up on the ottoman, Andromeda stroking the cat, the books left open mid-read and such. Lupin's "part of the act - yes, part of the act" was hysterical. Keep repeating it, Remus, and maybe it'll be true, eh? :)

I got the idea Andromeda isn't ready for "that" meaning her daughter actually being involved w/Remus -- beyond the "crush" everyone teases about.

You know, I wondered how you were going to keep Tonks & Lupin apart (when they obviously have feelings for one another) for the whole of the timeline while still moving the plot along, and I think keeping them mutually clueless is working. (Or, perhaps, it's more like they're taking the cluelessness in turns?)

As to the controversy:
Fern has already established that email *is* happening at the time of this story (see previous chapters) so there's no reason to change it now.

"Affected" Acted upon; influenced. She means his computer doesn't seem to be influenced, so I believe affected is correct. Or else, just use "influenced". :)
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: September 14th, 2004 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm getting more and more adicted to this story!

Your descriptions are wonderful, the development of the story is great and there are a lot of things I am looking forward to reading in the next chapters.

dipsas From: dipsas Date: September 14th, 2004 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll focus on a small aspect - I love piecing your Andromeda together from the little glimpses we get of her, how she's proud of her work and unable to let go of her family ties (her having newspaper cuttings from her sisters' weddings was a very good indication of that unresolved issue) and so on.

There could, given Andromeda's background, be any number of reasons for her to be happy with the 'part of the act'-clarification, more or less present in her mind as she poses that question. I wonder in what way she'll come around in the end.

And the rest? It's so convincing.




natgel From: natgel Date: September 15th, 2004 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)

OT

Happy new year, Fern :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2004 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: OT

Thanks! Right back at ya, if applicable. :)
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