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Shifts, Chapter 13: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 13: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Pt. 3
Okay. Please point out typos, as my fingers are a bit numb from the cold and from writing longhand during Sox commercials.

For Elizabeth Phelan fans, even though it wasn't the top vote-getter in the poll I did earlier, I asked the amazing leelastarsky to illustrate the scene in "Lines of Descent" where Remus and Elizabeth discuss the facts of lycanthropic life. As if the Sox winning wasn't enough to make me grin, dig this. It's Elizabeth! All real and stuff! :D (Send all compliments Kate's way; she's great and deserves them.)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Dora's hands.

Remus could feel them, small and warm, before her assumed face faded slowly into view. They skated nervously over his cheeks, tapped a sore spot under his eyes, combed through his hair, fluttered down to his shoulders.

He cauht one of them as his consciousness drifted back up.

"I'm all right," he said. He squeezed her hand, though it seemed to require more concentration than usually. "Really."

"Are you sure?"

Remus turned his head. He as no longer in the gymnasium, but stretch on a vinyl mattress on a gurney in a side room. Joe Levinson was sitting on the edge of a gurney across from him.

"I'm fine," Remus said. Using Dora's hand for leverage, he pulled himself up until he was sitting. "You certainly trained Dudley efficiently!" He tried to smile, but the pain in his cheekbone made little fireworks dance in front of his eyes.

Joe scowled. "I don't know how many times I told him never to strike outside the ring. Boxing was meant to give him an outlet, not make him..." Joe let out an explosive breath, and swayed on the gurney's edge. Miriam steadied him. "He knows he shouldn't."

"Dudley has some conflicts," Remus said quickly.

"The boy's mad!" Miriam crossed her arms over her thin ches. "Blaming you, of all people, for Joe's... spell."

Dora let go of his hand (it seemed in some corner of his mind that she actually pulled it away, but that didn't make sense), and put her arm protectively over his shoulders. "They're suspending Dudley from the team," she said.

Joe frowned. "That's not going to help him."

"I agree," Remus said. "That's only going to make him feel isolated. It's not going to--"

"To hell with helping him," Miriam interjected, her voice strident. "The both of you, honestly... worrying about that bullying... monster!"

The word echoed hollowly in the room, bouncing on the tiles and settling into the synthetic material of the cushions. It drilled into Remus's aching head--absolute, unyielding, eternal.

Monster.

The door opened, and a small man in specs wearing a white coat came in. A rubber and metal contraption hung around his neck like a tie.

"Well," he said cheerfully, "I'm used to treating the students in this business. How are the two of you?"

"I'm fine," Joe said. "I've come around. Look at Lewis."

Remus shook his head. "Really, it's no concern."

The Muggle Healer rolled his eyes at Dora and Miriam. "Well, luckily, it's not up to either you to decide that you're fine." He went over to Joe and pulled out a small instrument that cast a bright point of light, much more focused than a lumos Charm. He shone it in Joe's eyes. "All right," he muttered, examining them. He put his hand on the back of Joe's neck, moved his fingers around. "Does this hurt?"

Joe indicated that it didn't.

"What year is it?"

"Nineteen-ninety-five. November, to be precise. Are we finished?"

Miriam put a hand on his arm and shushed him. She looked at the Healer. "I'll see to it that he sees his own doctor on Monday."

"I'd rather he saw someone tonight."

Joe shook his head. "I can't rush off to the emergency room every time I get a twinge."

Remus expected Miriam to continue protesting, but she didn't. Apparently, Joe's "spell," as she called it, had not been on any lasting duration.

The Healer came over and shone the bright light in Remus's eyes, without even warning him first. For a moment, the pain simply exploded behind his eyes, then the world became a glassy thing, behind a screen of light.

The Healer moved the light to the other eye, blinding him completely.

"Hmm. Good responses." He held up a hand. "How many fingers do you see."

Remus squinted, trying to clear the after effects of the light. "You're holding up three."

"Good." The Healer leaned forward and examined the sore and swollen spot on his cheek. He prodded it with his finger. "Is this painful?"

"It's a bit sore," Remus said, his voice more petulant than he would have liked.

"What are you doing, poking about?" Dora asked indignantly.

"I'm trying to see that his cheekbone isn't fractured," the Healer said. "I don't think it is, but I'd like you to keep a close watch on it. If the swelling isn't reduced by tomorrow night, bring him to your doctor's office. I don't like that bruise, but it seems to be no more than a bruise."

The door burst open again, and the headmaster, Smythe, burst in, looking officiously concerned. "Levinson, Lewis... are you both unhurt?"

Joe sighed. "Don't worry, Gil. I've no intention of making trouble for the school, and I'm sure Raymond hasn't, either."

Remus shook his head, not even knowing what sort of trouble Gil thought he might have in mind. "How is Dudley?"

Miriam let out an explosive breath, but said nothing.

Smythe raised his eyebrows. "Mr. Dursley is entirely unhurt. He's having a long overdue conversation with Mr. Baden at the moment."

"You shouldn't take him from the team," Joe said. "It's all he has."

"Well you look at Raymond?" Miriam said. "Just look!"

"Raymond agrees with me," Joe said.

Remus nodded. The small, sparkly points of light in his vision were starting to clear.

"Dora," Miriam pleaded, "tell me you at least have some sense."

Dora shrugged (Remus could feel the movement of her chest on his back). "I don't know anything about the team. But I'm all for hanging him by his ankles and--"

"Dora."

She sighed. "I know."

Smythe frowned. "Removing him from the team is no longer a question. It's accomplished. My only question at this point is whether or not to expel him for striking a teacher."

"Does the teacher in question have a say in it?"

"Your opinion, which I assume is negative, is duly noted."

Remus straightened his shoulders. "Dudley is confused."

Smythe looked at him for a long time, shook his head, and said, "So am I."

"He needs help, Gil," Joe said crossly. "Not you running about trying to prove you've got power. Did you hear him? He's delusional."

"A wonderful argument for keeping him among the other students."

Remus slid down from his gurney. Dora steadied him by holding his arms, but he pulled away from her. "What do you plan to do?"

"I plan to speak to his parents at their first convenience," Smythe said. "The school nurse got them to listen about his weight, perhaps they simply need to be told..."

Remus tried to imagine Petunia's reaction to all of it--particularly if Dudley opted to share the reasoning behind his paranoia. "I'd like to be there," he said.

"What on Earth for?"

"I could explain that there've been some tensions. Tell them what's been happening. Don't be hasty, Headmaster."

Clearly displeased, Smythe nodded curtly. He asked after their welfare again, then left.

Dora and Miriam got their various belongings together, and the four of them walked out to the cars. Joe and Miriam got into theirs and disappeared into the night.

Dora took the driver's seat of Ted's car, and sat there with her hands on the wheel while Remus got settled. "What exactly do you plan to tell the Dursleys?" she asked.

"I don't know," Remus said. "I just want to see them."

Dora turned the key and the car coughed into its tenebrious imitation of life. "He's dangerous, Remus. Dudley, I mean. If you keep letting him do this sort of thing, sooner or later, he's going to kill someone." She pulled out onto the road. "It won't be Harry. Harry can defend himself. But what about your little friend Daniel? What about Miriam? She said she didn't like him, right where he could hear. Or Alan, if he marks Dudley poorly in maths?"

"Dudley isn't angry about maths," Remus said.

Dora looked at him with flat, disbelieving eyes, and then turned back to the road.

Remus watched the heavy lights of the city multiply, and thought of the word monster.
21 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
sreya From: sreya Date: October 28th, 2004 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo... Raymond Lewis meets Mr. and Mrs. Dursley. This oughta be interesting.

I'm struck with how you've let Remus catch onto what Miriam called Dudley -- a monster. That certainly would make him stop and think even without everything else he knows about Dudley. Though I'm not sure D would appreciate a werewolf empathizing with him. :~P

(Oh, and I giggled that the first thing Remus recognized when waking up was "Dora's hands". So I'll admit to a silly shippy moment there.)
lyras From: lyras Date: October 28th, 2004 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I've just spent a while catching up on some of your recent entries, and I've really enjoyed all the action in the past chapter. (Oh, and that was a great cliffhanger at the end of the previous instalment!)

I think my favourite scenes are those involving Joe - you really have invested him with depth, and I love the way you've created this whole background of families and their friendships. Dora and her breakfasts was a great touch!

The other thing I particularly like about your story (sorry, I'm getting a bit general here, but it does have to do with this instalment) is the way you've added depth to Dudley's character. He's no longer a a cartoon baddy who beats up kids with suspiciously familiar surnames in local parks; he has likes and dislikes, emotions, opinions, and everything else that makes a human being (or should that be "makes a being human?").

I didn't notice any typos in this instalment, but I did notice one sentence that didn't quite make sense: Dora let go of his hand (it seemed in some corner of his mind that she actually pulled it away, but that didn't make sense), and put her arm protectively over his shoulders.

Of course, this doesn't "make sense" to Remus either, I notice! But I just didn't understand what you were getting at here about Dora's action - which may well just be me being dim.

By the way, do you mind if I friend you? I'm looking forward to a couple more Shifts posts before you get into NaNoWriMo! And of course, good luck with NaNoWriMo.

PS - just remembered one more thing I loved about this instalment - when Miriam talks about Joe's "...spell", I was convinced, for several electrifying moments, that the entire story had somehow come out while Remus was unconscious, and that the Levinsons would therefore be happy for Joe to go into St Mungo's for treatment. Not true, sadly!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
What was going on was just that Dora went to move her arm and put it over his shoulders, but he was, in fact, the one holding her hand, not vice versa--which of course doesn't make any sense at all, so she must be "letting go."
lyras From: lyras Date: October 28th, 2004 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Aha. OK, thanks - that does make sense now!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the detailed feedback, btw; that's always really nice. And of course you can friend. I like friends. :)
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: October 28th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
There were quite a few "shippy" moments! :) Thanks, Fern!

So...Joe's symptoms worsen with closer proximity to Dudley, eh? Hmmm...

"Monster" Brilliant. Just when you think Remus will give up on Dudley, there's something to complicate matters.

This is an excellent chapter - I'm very impressed with your knowledge of boxing. Perhaps it was caught on the fly, but you beat *my* knowledge of boxing and it sounded very authentic!

I meant to ask (from the last chapter) how you came to choose West Ken for Tonks' flat? I'm just curious. Our train line was District, when we were in London, and passed the stop for West Kensington daily. :) It was cool to see such a familiar name turn up in Shifts. (Great restaurants on the District line!)

Last night we kept two of our children awake to view the lunar eclipse and (with Shifts on the brain, apparently) I wondered what effect a lunar eclipse might have on Remus' transformations? Would he become human for those hours during the partial and full eclipse and then resume his werewolf shape when the moon resumed its fullness? As JKR shows in POA, he only changes during the peak of the full moon - apparently just a few hours. I couldn't help but wonder. Do you have a theory?

What we (US) call 'emergency room' is commonly called 'casualty' in the UK. I think.
katchuri From: katchuri Date: October 28th, 2004 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
What we (US) call 'emergency room' is commonly called 'casualty' in the UK. I think.

Yup. That's the older name for it anyway. These days the official title for it is "Accident and Emergency". But most people would refer to it as "A'n'E", or "Casualty".

We wouldn't use the word "gurney" either, but I don't think there's a specific name for the sort of bed you mean. Perhaps "trolley" or "trolley bed"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
It's one of those rolling beds people use in offices. That's one that never would have occurred to me, though I did wonder about the E.R. I decided to just write that one and wait for the Britpick. ;)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
There are some lovely threads over SugarQuill (when it comes back up), called "All Things British." I asked about a London neighborhood where Tonks could find an apartment reasonably quickly and where a middle-aged academic couple wouldn't look out of place. West Ken, Battersea, and.... I don't remember the third.... were brought up. I picked West Kensington just because I liked the sound of it. There was a Kensington expressway near where I used to live, so I guess it felt familiar. (Stupid ways in which we choose things.)

I will have to beg a full description of the train line system sometime! Ours is color-coded; New York's has letters... London's has names for the lines?
katchuri From: katchuri Date: October 30th, 2004 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. Central, District, Circle, Hammersmith and City, East London, Piccadily, Jubilee, etc.
There's a downloadable pdf map somewhere, that looks like a multi-colour plate of badly-cooked spagetti, and isn't to scale at all. But it should be enough for you to get the general gist.

As for other Britpick information, you could always try the hp_britglish community on LJ - there's tons of information there, and a load of people who'll answer just about any query.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I wondered what effect a lunar eclipse might have on Remus' transformations? Would he become human for those hours during the partial and full eclipse and then resume his werewolf shape when the moon resumed its fullness? As JKR shows in POA, he only changes during the peak of the full moon - apparently just a few hours. I couldn't help but wonder. Do you have a theory?

The theory I work with is that partially viewed moons are worse than fully viewed ones, because the change will happen anyway, but without seeing the moon, the human part fights it harder, and the wolf asserts itself more violently.

Had to come up with something--otherwise, wouldn't werewolves just pull all the drapes and hang out in the parlor on full moon nights?
sannalim From: sannalim Date: October 28th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent as always. And that picture is *amazing*. Wow.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: October 28th, 2004 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Great.
I can't wait to see where this is going.
Did Remus ever meet Petunia while Lily was alive?
I'm loving this.

And I'm actually feeling sorry for Dudley at having boxing taken away from him. What's he going to use as an outlet now?
malabud From: malabud Date: October 28th, 2004 10:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Found just one typo:

He cauht one of them as his consciousness drifted back up.

That should be caught.

Everyone else has already said the glowing things I would've said about this segment of the story. I look forward to more!

(Oh, and congrats to the Red Sox!)
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: October 28th, 2004 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Typo:
Miriam crossed her arms over her thin ches.

Real review:
I've been staying up later than normal so that I can read Shifts before I go to bed. I didn't read this part until today (once I saw that it would be later than normal, I had to go to bed) but I thought--as an author--you'd be pleased to hear that.

This is just such an engaging story! I've always liked Lupin, but you add a lot of depth to his character that I really enjoy.

This chapter was really interesting--loved seeing how wizards react to the light in the eye! Remus' reaction was priceless: "without even warning him first" tickled my funny bone.

Remus and the Dursleys; looking forward to reading about that meeting!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 28th, 2004 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Well you look at Raymond?" Miriam said. "Just look!"


That might be Will rather than Well.

Petunia and Remus. WooHoo!
sreya From: sreya Date: October 28th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I forgot to comment on the illustration you'd commissioned. It's absolutely beautiful, and more than ever I so much want to read the story -- I just have to finish my own first! You're stories are too well written, I'm afraid it'll overwrite my own ideas. :~P
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 28th, 2004 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

**sighs**

I've been following Shifts for the past couple of months and the pieces you have written at the Quill. The best thing about your writing, outside characterization, is the high, consistent quality of it. It's so refreshing to see in fandom.

What I love most about this segment is how it parallels Harry's fight with Draco and his subsequent removal from the Quidditch team. Nice.

Lauryn
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2004 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: **sighs**

You beat me to the comparative punch. :) Yeah, calendar-wise, Harry gets kicked off the Quidditch team the next day.
hhhellcat From: hhhellcat Date: October 29th, 2004 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi. I just finished reading Lines of Descent which was brilliant and brought me to tears. I'm still feeling weepy. Anyway, I linked to your fic from leelastarsky's journal after viewing the wonderful artwork she did, based on chapter three.

You are extremely talented and your fic was so very moving. Thank you for sharing it with everyone. When I'm not so pressed for time, I will make an effort to go back to Sugar Quill and look up the rest of your offerings.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 29th, 2004 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. (And isn't leelastarsky's pic great? It's my wallpaper now, and I am going to find a way to print it and put it on the wall very soon! :))
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