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Shifts, Chapter 20: Regulation and Control, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 20: Regulation and Control, pt. 3
I really need to clean this room I'm living in. It can't be healthy to be sick and cluttered. Oh, well. Got a start on it, sort of. Someday, I will have spare money, and I will use it to hire a housekeeper. Then again, I'm not sure I'd want anyone to see how badly I keep house, so I'd end up cleaning before the housekeeper came, so she wouldn't see what a slob I am.

OT, my old friend anna_fredricka has written her first fanfic, a little Witch Weekly article by Molly Weasley about Charms for mothers. I think it's cute. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2169716/1/

Anyway, Remus was called to Hogwarts after Dora sprung him from the Ministry. He snuck in under an invisibility cloak and saw a little of the tension in the school, and is now on his way up to Dumbledore's office.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




He didn't take the Invisibility Cloak off until after the door to Dumbledore's office was closed behind him, and Dumbledore himself said, "We're alone, Remus."

Remus pulled the Cloak from his shoulders and draped it over the back of one of the high armchairs by the fire. "What's happening?"

"Please sit down," Dumbledore said, indicating the chairs across from his desk. He looked tired and old. "You know about the attack on Arthur Weasley?"

Remus sat down. "Yes. I was at the Ministry when it happened. Dora said he's all right?"

Dumbledore frowned. "He will be. He was found in time. But it was a very serious attack. And Harry witnessed it."

"What?"

"Harry witnessed it. In a dream. He saw the attack through the snake's eyes--through Voldemort's eyes."

"We'd suspected..."

"And Voldemort was aware of it."

Remus could think of nothing to say other than, "I see."

Dumbledore stood up and crossed his hands at the small of his back, looking into the fire with a pensive expression. "I had feared this before, but I wasn't certain until now. And now that it's occurred, I'm rather certain it wasn't true before. Just before I sent him to Sirius, I looked at him and I saw..." He shook his head. "Riddle is aware of the connection," he said. "And Harry will need to be made aware of it as well. He'll need to learn to protect himself from this. We cannot do it for him." Dumbledore sighed and at back down. "That, in itself, does not concern you. I'm going to talk to Severus Snape. I have something of an idea, and I believe he can help when Harry comes back to school after the holidays. But until then, he needs to be kept as safe as possible without alerting Voldemort that we're as aware as he is of the connection."

"At Grimmauld Place."

"Yes. He's not the Secret Keeper. Nothing Voldemort gleans from his connection to Harry will place the headquarters in danger. As long as he's there, he's safe, but if he's kept there, for instance, while all of the other children go to visit Arthur, or if they choose to go Christmas shopping, or any number of other things they might decide to do, it would appear very odd to Voldemort for Harry to be forbidden."

"I see."

"I want you to make sure that an Auror is with him when he's out. Nymphadora Tonks is with him today, as well as Alastor Moody. Alastor still has arresting authority, should anyone make an attempt on Harry."

"I understand."

"And make sure Molly Weasley understands that he can't go back to the Burrow, even if Arthur is released from St. Mungo's early. I know she's under a great deal of strain, but--"

"I'll talk to her. Molly wouldn't do anything that would put Harry in danger." Remus let the silence spin out for a moment, then said, "Headmaster--"

"Albus."

"Albus. You could have told me this in a message, or through a portrait. Is there something else? Are you all right?"

"I'm old, Remus. I'm old, and I'm weary of this. But I am quite all right otherwise." He crossed his arms. "I fear that I'm causing Harry pain. It can't be avoided, but I wish it weren't so."

"I know."

"Remus, will you promise me something else?"

"Of course."

"Make sure he has a good Christmas."

"We'll all see to that."

Dumbledore gave him a smal smile. They talked for an hour more, about developments in the war, about Arthur, and about the situation at Hogwarts. Remus hated the last more with every word. When he left, he stopped outside of his old office again. Dolores Umbridge was at the desk, making notes on a long scroll. Remus considered loosening all the screws in her chair, but decided that in the end, she would blame a hapless student for it, despite the fact that the Houses would have been locked up for the night by now. A pity.

Get out of my office, he thought petulantly. Just get out.

She looked up at the door, straight at him, though she obviously couldn't see anything. "Is someone there?"

He backed up slowly, careful to make no noise, and headed down the corridor. He passed Nearly Headless Nick, who nodded at him vaguely then proceeded to hover in the shadows just outside the office door. As Remus reached the stairs, he heard Umbridge begin to berate Nick for spooking her.

He used the passage in the staff room to get outside--there would be no one to conveniently open the front doors at this hour--and slipped into the night.

By the time he'd made his way back to London, it was after ten. He went to Dora's flat and told her of Dumbledore's concerns and directives, and by the time he got back to Grimmauld Place, all the visitors were asleep after a long, long day.

"Where the bloody hell were you last night?" Sirius asked. "Dora said it was up to you to tell me."

"There are people sleeping. No loud explosions."

Sirius rolled his eyes.

Remus told him.

There was no explosion, but Remus could tell it was a fight on Sirius's part. He fumed and flexed his fists and sputtered the beginning of a few curses, and finally ended up grabbing an empty bottle and storming outside. Remus heard the bottle shatter.

He left for Smeltings before anyone other than Molly was up the next day, and spent a perfectly pleasant day at school. It was the last day before holidays started, and the students (even Dudley) were in a cheerful mood. A great deal of food was brought to classes, and Remus was stuffed on biscuits long before lunch (which was a rather industrial turkey dinner supplied by Smeltings for its notion of a staff party). Daniel Morse came by with a dozen chocolate cupcakes that his mum had apparently baked for "Mr. Lewis" on his request. "You can share them with Mrs. Lewis, of course. And Mr. Garvey, if he'd like some." Alan declared them delicious, and ended up taking home half of them to share with Anna.

Fifth form went by without any problems, though it lacked the party-like atmosphere of the other classes. Remus was gathering his things at the end of it when Dudley Dursley came to his desk.

"I'll talk to you after holidays," he said.

"I'm glad to hear that."

"We'll see."

With that, he walked away, catching up with Piers in the corridor. Remus shook his head.

Alan insisted on having a drink at a local pub before going off on holiday--it was apparently a tradition he and Joe had observed for several years--and it was nearly seven o'clock by the time Remus got back to Grimmauld Place, where he was greeted by the sound of Sirius singing Christmas carols at the top of his lungs. The front entrance hall had been decorated garishly, much to Mrs. Black's obvious distress (the portrait was too busy looking at the decorations in utter horror to muster much more than a muttered, "unnatural... creature..." when Remus came in), and nearly as soon as he'd gotten his cloak off, Ginny Weasley flew into the room and--before he could do much more than recognize her--threw her arms around him and said, "Happy Christmas, Professor Lupin!"

He hugged her back and pushed her away gently. "Happy Christmas, Ginny. I take it your father is feeling better?"

She nodded. "Dad's going to be fine," she said. "It feels so good not to be worried. We've been decorating with Sirius. I dared him to paint a hat on his mum's portrait, but he's not doing it."

Mrs. Black made a kind of hissing sound, but apparently couldn't think of anything horrid enough to say to this notion.

"Where is Harry?" he asked.

"He's with Sirius and Ron, decorating the front room. He was upset earlier, but Hermione got him to come downstairs, and we've got him cheered up again."

Remus followed her into the front room, where Harry was helping Sirius drape a garland of icicles over the curtain rod. They were both smiling and looked delighted to be together. Ron was trying to center a wreath above the hearth. None of them noticed him come in.

Ginny alerted them, and Harry greeted him with what seemed to be genuine happiness, then he lost hold of the icicle and was drawn back into the decoration. Remus went down to the kitchen.

Molly, and Dora were there, Molly cooking and Dora hovering in the way she had when she wanted to help and had been forbidden. Molly still looked pale and frightened, but she smiled at Remus and told him that everything would be all right. He went upstairs, and found Hermione and the Weasley twins having an argument about their business practices, which the boys' ended immediately to start asking him about a Charm he'd done years ago on one of Dora's dolls, which they thought they'd be able to market if they decided to expand into toys. By the time they were finished, Molly had called everyone downstairs, and the dinner table was crowded, and Remus felt completely at home.
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Comments
dipsas From: dipsas Date: December 16th, 2004 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
...you know, I wondered where you were going with the last paragraph or so, but then came and Remus felt completely at home to clinch it and you had me in sniffles. Happy sniffles, mind.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 16th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it's just me in my sleep-deprived, studying-for-my-last-exam-at-college-ever state, but the bit with Dumbledore felt very rushed. I, like Remus, didn't understand why Dumbledore would call Remus all the way out to Hogwarts and make him stay half the night just to tell him to watch out for Harry. I don't know if this was deliberate on your part or not (and I half-suspect it is, as you're such a brilliant and calculated writer you'd not generally write something without a very specific purpose) but this confrontation was a let-down after the teaser and buildup with Umbridge and Hermione in the last section. It feels there's more time spent on Christmas decorations and being at Grimmauld Place than there is with Dumbledore, which I think is the heart of the story. I know this is a bit of a transition section of the chapter, but was expecting something crazier or at least more well thought-out from Dumbledore.

I also want to add that perhaps it's also you've been spinning a brilliant backstory for a few chapters, chapters that had me with my mouth on the floor and me reading in astoundment, and now it's back to canon and story where I know what happens. I suspect a lot of this feeling may be me, but if you get a lot of feedback on GP/OotP canon and Christmas being less important than the Smeltings/other stuff Remus does, then it might be something to consider changing.

Just my 2 Knuts. Thanks for sharing Shifts with us, Fern!




fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 16th, 2004 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I can't deviate too far from canon--that's outside the scope of the story. And there's some stuff to do over the holidays involving characterization issues, and of course the werewolf they found has another appearance to make at Christmas. But, as with OotP, the holidays are a bit of a break from the main action.

As to the rushedness of the Dumbledore scene and the lack of necessity to call him... guilty. I'm busy trying to keep Remus out of GP so that there's a good reason Harry's paying precisely no attention to him (Grrr, Harry). Dragging him up to Hogwarts seemed like a chance to have him look around and kvetch about Umbridge, but Dumbledore's reasoning is murky, at best. Maybe in a re-write, I'll find something that he has to physically give Remus, which somehow increases the protection on Harry.
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: December 16th, 2004 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved the chapter as always. I have one very small comment. Shifts feels very 'British' (that's meant to be a compliment) and I assume that you've been taking care to use British phrases and terms. So we'd call them fairy cakes or muffins, rather than cupcakes.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 16th, 2004 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, good to know. Thanks. Didn't know that was one with a different word.
sreya From: sreya Date: December 16th, 2004 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm afraid I have to agree with your anonymous reviewer, this part does freel rushed. You're doing a lot of "telling" instead of "showing" -- you "tell" us there are garish decorations instead of describing them, you "tell" us Harry and Sirius look delighted to be together but we don't get to see any of their interaction, you "tell" us Hermione and the twins are having an argument, but we don't hear it... well, and so forth.

Maybe it's just that you're not feeling well, or maybe you've got something planned you're eager to get to. But I think you're passing a lot of opportunities to show us what's going on and introduce an all-too-brief Christmas atmosphere.

Oh, and I just wanted to slap Remus when he basically had a "Oh, that's nice" attitude to Dudley's pronouncement. Wake up, man, the boy is obviously plotting something!
sreya From: sreya Date: December 16th, 2004 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
*looks over comment in horror* Freel?

Oh brother. *hides in shame*
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: December 16th, 2004 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Good chapter, as always. I thought the Ginny part was sweet, even though I'd never thought of her and Remus as close.

And you know what? I have to blame you for something - this fic is so real to me that I feel like Tonks should be called "Dora." I keep having people call her that if I try writing fics with her in it!
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 16th, 2004 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
See, that's precisely why you're right in thinking that Remus is Dumbledore's de facto deputy. The fact that he mentioned "a distorted version from... others" early on OotP, and seems very well-informed throughout. Excellent, I feared that you'd forgotten about that.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 16th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of which, I get the feeling that the Order has/had some kind of spy in the Department of Mysteries... Bode, perhaps?
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: December 16th, 2004 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothign to do with this part or the story itself but;
Which versio nof the story/yoru stories do you advice me to read if iI wwantto catch up? yo upost here, o nsugar quill and yoru own site/ Which is the place for the really finished stuff) Of course If I'd been caught up on all fo this i'd join inthe lj-previewing but I'm jsut curious now sincey oueditthigns before the go on SQ adn I wonder if your site is jsut a sindicate/duplicate of what yo upostthere or of what you post here. Just so i wont' get confused with different versions anddrafts adn possible scenes I missed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 16th, 2004 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
SQ is the most finished place for them. This is the roughest. Some change more than others.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: December 17th, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
so your site has allthe lj posts? Jsutto keep track of things.
HTis is mostl ybecause I've come across alto of folks who had 3 chaters on FA and then i foud nsix more on ff.net adn THEN they ended up havign their own group or site adn iwent confused.
From: isabela113 Date: December 16th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well first of all, hello. I've been reading Shifts over at the Sugar Quill and just fell in love. Then I stumbled upon your lj, and I've just gone on a reading spree.

Dumbledore isn't feeling as fully-formed as the other characters. I'm wondering if that is the product of the remove that Remus feels from him, or of something else.

I love Remus' moments of petulance, and his anger at Umbridge. He doesn't allow those moments to be witnessed by other characters, so there is a lovely sort of intimacy we get as readers when we are included in his private childishness.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 16th, 2004 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hello, and welcome.

Yes, Dumbledore needs work. I know. I've only been able to pull off Dumbledore once, and that was as an eleven-year-old. I should make myself practice. :)

I'm glad you liked the moment of petulance. I was a little worried about it, but I couldn't help it. I think all of us have some petulant little child in us somewhere.
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