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Shifts, Chapter 29: That Freak Place, pt 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 29: That Freak Place, pt 3
Wow. I just distracted myself for quite a long time watching the snow come down. I'm glad I headed home from the con after my last panel, though sorry that I missed the Saturday night con parties. Unless there's a huge shift in weather, I'll probably have to miss tomorrow. Anyway, it's fun. I love fen. Good to say hello to mamadeb and gnomi as well, and wave to cheshyre, though there kept being crowds going in different directions. :)

Remus took Dudley to St. Mungo's and Mehadi Patil cleared the curse from him. On their way out to meet Dora (who has the car), a donor to the hospital opens a door behind them, and Dudley says, "It's her!"

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Remus tried to hurry Dudley out the door, but it was too late.

Narcissa Malfoy had heard heard Dudley's panicked voice, and smiled down malevolently. "Well," she said. "The werewolf. And not alone, are you?"

Remus tried not to glance over obviously. He thought the Cloak was covering Dudley entirely; perhaps it would be possible to confuse her long enough to get him out. "I know Arithmancy was never your strongest subject," he said, "but I'd thought you could at least count."

Narcissa ignored this entirely. "Dimness Draught?" she asked. "Elusion Charms? Or is it as simple as an Invisibility Cloak?" She started down the stairs. "That's it, isn't it? Nothing but a Cloak. If I were to wave my arm beside you--"

The door crashed open and Remus heard footsteps fleeing into the sunlight. He saw a flash of Dudley's trainers going around a corner, but couldn't call after him or give chase.

"Oh, dear," Narcissa said. "It seems someone was a bit spooked. I wonder, if the Aurors were to come, would they find my wayward cousin? Perhaps coming to be cured from some social curse he's picked up? Is my dear sister involved in it?"

"I haven't seen Andromeda all day."

"I notice that you haven't denied seeing my cousin. I understand Kingsley Shacklebolt keeps a detail on you personally."

"In that case, it would be rather foolish of me to spend any time with him, wouldn't it?" Remus turned. "If that's all you wanted to say, I do have pressing business elsewhere."

"You'll end in Azkaban. Between my cousin and Dumbledore and whatever it is you're really doing here... you'll end up in Azkaban, and the moon is always full there. And civilized society will be glad to be rid of your pretensions."

Remus was on the verge of retorting that someone who had used an Unforgiveable Curse on a Muggle was in no position to speak of sentencing, but stopped himself--Narcissa was a powerful woman, and without absolute and documented proof, they couldn't move against her... and he didn't need her looking into just how he happened to come across his knowledge.

Nor did he have time to engage in this conversation.

He left the building, moving as slowly as he dared to. Dudley had been outside for nearly a minute, invisible, and Remus had no idea where he would go. The alley outside of the staff exit emptied into an alley which Remus presumed was the back of the store they'd come in through, but he wasn't entirely certain, and Dudley was in no condition to make a logical deduction.

"Dudley?" he called softly, hoping he hadn't gone far.

No answer.

He looked behind himself, didn't see the door opening or Narcissa coming out, and broke into a run, heading for the sound of traffic. "Dudley?" he called, a bit louder. "Dudley?"

"Hey! Watch yourself!" an old woman shouted at him, and he realized he was running at top speed now. He muttered that he was sorry, but he was too far past for her to hear.

"Dudl--"

"Remus."

He didn't stop at first.

"Remus." Then, frustrated, "Impedimenta."

Suddenly, he seemed to be moving through a thick syrup, and then a hand was on his arm and Dora was dragging him into a narrow alley between a pub and a music shop. "Remus, sorry. I have Dudley here. Finite incantatem."

Remus was suddenly free to move. "Where...?" But now he saw Dudley, sitting on the ground, the Invisibility Cloak thrown carelessly away from him.

"I was driving up to meet you," Dora said. "And people were being thrown about on the street. I grabbed him."

"I'm glad."

"What happened?"

"Narcissa was there."

Dora froze. "Is she still there? I could--"

"You could do what?"

She fumed to herself for a moment, then shook her head sharply. "I'll find something on her. I'll throw both of them into Azkaban."

"Dora?"

"Right." She blinked and went over to Dudley, squatting down beside him. "We've got you now," she said to him. "Nothing's going to hurt you."

Dudley was breathing rapidly, looking like an animal in a trap. His eyes shifted from one to the other of them. "Sh-sh-e s-s-said... c-called..." He looked at Dora. "Th-the w-woman said he was a we-we-wer--"

"Werewolf," Dora finished. "You're not in any danger."

Dudley let out a high-pitched, maddened laugh.

"Come on," Dora said. "We'll go back to my flat and you can have a perfectly Muggle cup of tea. How's that? I'll even heat up the water with a microwave oven. I've learnt to do that."

Dudley gave her a kind of wild look.

She took it for assent and looped an arm under his, hauling him up. "Remus? A bit of help here; he's bigger than I am."

Remus put an arm around Dudley from the other side and grabbed the Invisibility Cloak with his free hand. They led him to Dora's car, which was standing on the street with its door open. People went by it as though they didn't see it at all. They bundled Dudley into the back seat.

"You'll need to put the Cloak back on," Dora said as they rounded the corner onto her street. "Please."

Dudley blinked rapidly. He was holding the Invisibility Cloak tightly now, like a lifeline. Slowly, he put it back on and disappeared.

Remus raised an eyebrow at Dora.

Later, she mouthed.

When they reached the flat, she shushed Dudley and got him up the stairs. Her neighbor came out from across the way and smiled at her. She smiled back cheerfully and opened the door, letting Dudley and Remus in around her while she exchanged empty pleasantries. By the time she closed the door, Dudley had dropped onto her sofa and was divesting himself of the Cloak. His eyes took in the flat, from the television to the electrical clock with a digital read-out that sat on the bookshelf (it was wrong; Dora didn't do a lot of magic here, but enough to have disrupted the power on a few occasions, and she constantly forgot to reset the time). Each Muggle contraption seemed to make him less panicked.

Finally, he looked at Dora. "You live here?" he asked.

"I live here."

And at Remus. "And you. Do you live here?"

"No."

"You're entirely a lie, then?"

"I am a teacher."

"Let me get you that tea," Dora said, ducking into the kitchen and finding a way to use at least three electronic devices, judging from the beeps.

"Dudley, I'm sure you're angry," Remus said.

Dudley said nothing.

"There are dangerous things in the world. I'm sorry they crossed your path."

"How come you lie even to your own sort? Are you an outlaw?"

"No. Well, possibly, in a technical sense. Not entirely. It's complicated. There are things that people are trying very hard not to believe."

"Is this because of Harry?"

"Yes and no."

"Isn't it ever yes or no?"

"Rarely." Remus looked over his shoulder. "Dora, do you still have a copy of the Quibbler?"

"Second drawer of your desk," she answered.

He retrieved it and handed it to Dudley. "I want you to read this."

Dudley looked at him dubiously, then looked at the cover, with its large wizarding photo of Harry, with horror. Harry's picture blinked. Dudley shuddered, and opened the magazine reflexively to make the picture go away. It had been well read, and fell open to the article about Harry.

Dudley began to read.

Remus went to the kitchen. "Why did we have him in the Cloak to come up here?"

"He's upset. I don't know how he'll be tomorrow. I didn't think it would be good for you if someone saw him coming up to a teacher's private home, then going back to school looking spooked. Are you sure it's a good idea to let him read that interview? He's already frightened."

"The truth has to be less frightening than the lies he makes up when he doesn't know it."

"Yes, Dark Lords rising from the dead and torturing his cousin will be a real comfort to him."

"You disagree?"

"You know him better. I'd have done a Memory Charm for the day and been done with it."

"I don't like playing with his mind."

"I know." She started to say something else, then changed her mind. "Help me put together something for us to eat," she said. "I haven't got all that much, but I think there's some fruit and cheese in the refrigerator."

By the time they'd eaten, Dudley was breathing normally again and had read the article. He claimed to have no questions, and remained coolly distant under the Invisibility Cloak as they drove him back to Smeltings. He promised not to mention anything ("Who'd believe me?"), then trudged on up the lane to the school.

"That's that," Dora said, starting the car again. "Joe's cured. Dudley's cured. Aunt Narcissa is still running around free, but I'll find something on her."

"I still have to keep an eye on him and make sure they don't try it again."

"True."

"But I should start thinking about why I'll need to make an abrupt departure this spring, shouldn't I? Give Joe's life back to him."

"If that's what you decide to do." She smiled. "I'll go back to Auntie's with you," she said. "Get your Wolfsbane Potion over a magical fire so you'll have it tomorrow while I'm at work."

"Thank you."

"I don't suppose all of this has distracted you from your primal urges enough to give me a kiss."

"While you're driving?"

"No, at home. You know, one to go on."

"I thought we did that on Wednesday."

"I splurged and spent all of my daydreaming time on it Thursday. The cupboards are bare. I'm just not a thrifty girl."

Remus smiled. "I just don't trust myself to stop touching you if I let myself start."

"You know," she said slyly, "I think someday I may look forward to this week."

Remus felt his eyes widen and he snapped his head around to look at her.

She was blushing madly, and abruptly burst out laughing, leaning forward against the steering wheel for a brief second before getting her eyes back on the road. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'm apparently not very good at naughty talk. Maddie said I should try it, but I just feel silly. I didn't intend to follow it up with laughing."

"How, er... did you intend to follow it up?"

She finished laughing, started again, then shook her head. "I was just going to say, 'Pleasant dreams.'"
21 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: January 23rd, 2005 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't blame poor Dudley for being a bit spooked under the circumstances. Narcissa and finding out his teacher is a werewolf in one afternoon.

Dora and Remus are so sweet. Do love them together. :)

One thing: "I just trust myself to stop touching you if I let myself start." Should there be a don't in there?
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: January 23rd, 2005 09:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I very much enjoyed this section! Poor Dudley--absolutely terrified...but he really has some courage, after all. Going to St. Mungo's, never mind having to deal with Narcissa and finding out Mr. Lewis is a werewolf.

Dora's attempt to be naughty was hysterical, mostly because of Remus's reaction. If she had managed it... asldfjakdflkajlfaj

It is too bad that Remus has to leave the job. I know, I know, fitting in with canon and all. But still. He's just so happy as a teacher.
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: January 23rd, 2005 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
One thing had me a little confused. If Remus's assignment is to protect Dudley, then surely he'd be assuming he would have to saty on nex year as Dudley would still be in danger.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the chapter, especially the way Dora was looking out for Remus - Invisibility Cloak to his flat. Also Dora's 'naughty talk' was very very funny.
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: January 23rd, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
One thing had me a little confused. If Remus's assignment is to protect Dudley, then surely he'd be assuming he would have to saty on nex year as Dudley would still be in danger.

Yeah, that's kind of confused me, as well. I mean, Remus went to Smeltings to protect Dudley before he found out about the curse, so why is he leaving now?

Anyways, I absolutely love Remus and Dora. They're so cute and realistic. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, I'm confused about it, too, and it will probably end up being a poorly spackled over plot hole or--my preference--just boldly left open for people to fall in. Remus doesn't want to keep Joe's life now that Joe is well enough to take it back and wants to do so.
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: January 23rd, 2005 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought you were taking a break! Or did I go back more entries than I realized, and read an older one?

Poor Dudley - at first I wanted to yell at him for his werewolf comment, but in fairness, he thinks all wizards are evil, so Remus being a Werewolf was probably just another excuse.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I took a break for a day a couple of weeks ago. I'm trying to make an entry every day, and every time I miss a day, it's because I've taken a break.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
And here I thought Dudley wouldn't find out Remus was a werewolf until they were locked in the same room/cell/cage on the night of a full moon. This is a lot more interesting.

And how will Dudders respond to The Quibbler article once he's had time for it to sink in?

Also, good work on Narcissa. Her assumption was logical, but I breathed a sigh of relief when she made it. No telling what she'd do to Dudley, but even Narcissa's going to think twice about attacking Sirius on an open street. Sure, she might get Sirius Kissed by Dementors and Remus thrown into Azkaban, but there's a good chance Sirius will take her apart first (and she knows it).

Btw, you've got to have either Remus or Tonks tell Sirius his dear cousin, who knew him for years, couldn't tell the difference between him and Dudley Dursley.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: January 23rd, 2005 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you seen this picture of Remus?

http://koti.welho.com/uthynell/lupin_color.html
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yummy. :)
harmonicalesson From: harmonicalesson Date: January 23rd, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
It suddenly occurred to me that I've been reading this story for weeks and haven't left any comments. I'm terrible about things like that. But anyway, it's wonderful as always -- you do such a good job of keeping the characters canon and yet still managing to add little details of your own. I always look forward to reading your updates, so keep up the good work! :)
From: anna_kat Date: January 23rd, 2005 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I never thought I'd care for a story with Dudley in it. You've proven me wrong. It's superbly written.

I'll now head over to the SQ and read more of your stories.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: January 23rd, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Phew! This chapter was really tense, all the way through, and Dora's bit of "naughty talk" at the end was a perfect way to defuse it. **applauding**

I really feel for Dudley's terror. How's he going to handle it? Will we see him making sly, snarky (or wanna-be snarky) comments when he puts two and two together and figures out that Mr Lewis has always been ill around the full moon?

Oh, and I made you another illustration. This one's for "A Trick of the Firelight."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure Dudley's in shape to be snarky or even wanna-be snarky. Poor boy's had a bit of an overload.

Thanks for the illo! I love it. <3
myf From: myf Date: January 24th, 2005 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like Dudley in this section. It's something which authors can sometimes forget - just how freakish the wizarding world would appear to someone thrust right into the middle of it. And I can't wait to see how he interacts with Remus after this whole affair.

I just wanted to point out that I have only ever heard of the concept of heating water in a microwave to make tea from people in the US and Canada, so this might be a Britpick if an actual Brit concurs. It's a foreign concept to me! What about using an electric kettle instead? Just as Muggle-y as using a microwave.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: January 24th, 2005 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
"And civilized society will be glad to be rid of your pretensions." -- rawking awesome line.

General Shifts love sent your way! ^^
From: isabela113 Date: January 24th, 2005 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that she calls it naughty talk. I think that is her first stumbling block. ;-)

I've finally caught up, somehow I was missing a chapter or two. I feel like Dudley's terror is connected to the Dementor attack. He dislikes Harry, and the run-in with Narcissa must have been scary, but the kind of fear that he shows in this whole St. Mungo's segment seems like it has deeper roots. Perhaps that is what he meant by wanting to forget something. I shall definitely be interested to see what happens with Dudley, whether he will need that Obliviate or not.
arclevel From: arclevel Date: January 24th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just caught up with the last dozen or so chapters and am really enjoying them. I was a bit confused about one thing, though. Remus goes into the Smeltings-area public library and addresses Dudley as his student, apparently for any listeners' behalf -- from that I assume he's in his older, Mr. Lewis disguise. Once they get to St. Mungo's, he identifies himself as himself and talks to both the Mehadi and Narcissa as himself. When does he change appearances? Shouldn't Dudley react to that in some way, not to mention learning his real name?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 24th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I accidentally edited that out in the process of re-writing a paragraph. I'll put it back in before I archive.

:sheepish grin:
arclevel From: arclevel Date: January 25th, 2005 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I understand. I thought I had missed it somewhere, actually. :-)
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: January 25th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

naughty talk

Lovely bit that - "not a thrifty girl" indeed.

I love the flavour of the relationship as it builds.

Keep writing, I'll keep reading.

JEC
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