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Shifts, Chapter 36: Mists and Mirrors, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 36: Mists and Mirrors, pt. 3
All right. Canon scene. Let's see if I can get through without screwing anything up! And keeping track of who's shooting.

We left the Order breaking through the doors into the Death Room, and Lucius pointing his wand up at them.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Dora reacted first, raising her wand and casting a Stunning Spell at Lucius Malfoy. He flew backward, away from Harry.

"Keep them fighting!" Moody said, starting down the steps and raining spells down on the gathered Death Eaters. "Don't give them time to work up a Killing Curse!"

"And mind the damnable veil," Kingsley said.

As Remus started down the stairs, he saw Harry dive from the dais where the ragged veil fluttered in a non-existent breeze, making his way toward Neville. He had no chance to see what happened with them, because the Death Eaters apparently decided that the Order was more of a threat than Harry and Neville, and charged up the stairs. Rabastan Lestrange engaged Sirius in a furious duel near the floor, and from the corner of his eye, Remus saw two masked wizards go after Kingsley Shacklebolt. A few meters to his right, he heard a high-pitched cry and turned to see Dora rushing at Bellatrix, shoving her to the ground.

"This is for all the brothers and sisters I never had!" she said, and kicked Bella squarely across the jaw. Bella got to her feet, and--

"Oh, dear," a bored voice said on his left. "The werewolf. Whatever shall I do?"

Remus turned. Lucius Malfoy--masked, but very clearly Lucius--was holding his wand in a casual way, affecting an attitude of disdain.

Remus raised his wand in return. "Well," he said, "I wouldn't recommend the old silver-in-the-potion trick. It doesn't seem to work very well, and it's very sloppy."

Through the mask's mouth hole, Remus saw the shadow of a smirk, then Lucius grip on his wand tightened and there was no time to analyze anything but which spells were being thrown at him, and which he was throwing in return. They battled their way down to the floor, and Remus was glad it was close to full moon, glad for the anxious energy that was flooding him. They were moving to quickly to accomplish much more than Stunning Spells and Shield Charms, though once, when they were separated for a few seconds, Lucius raised his wand high and tried a Reductor Curse. Remus jumped out of the way without thinking, then looked down in horror at the crater in the floor. At the edge of it, Harry and Neville were crawling away.

"Good show, werewolf," Lucius said. "Of course, you always do save your own pelt first, don't you? Ava--"

"Silencio!"

Lucius worked a Shield Charm, and Remus ducked in time to avoid being hit by his own Silencing Spell, and the battle was back on. Somewhere on the far side of the room, Remus heard a man scream, and whipped his head around in time to see Moody fall to the ground.

Rabastan Lestrange jumped to the ground, flying between Lucius and Remus, and Sirius leapt after him. Beyond Lucius and still far up the stone stairs, Dora and Bellatrix were trading spells furiously. Bella's mask was long gone (Remus wasn't entirely sure whether or not she had been wearing one), and the resemblance between them was pronounced, despite Dora's pink hair.

Lucius raised his wand. "Impedi--"

"Protego!" Remus shouted, returning his attention to his own duel.

Another Death Eater seemed to be moving toward Harry below, and Remus realized that he would have to find a permanent way to end the battle with Lucius. They had to even the odds; the element of surprise was long gone.

"What's the matter?" Lucius asked, leaning forward. "Feeling a bit peaky?"

Below them, Sirius threw a powerful Stunning Spell at Rabastan, who fell to the ground. Sirius didn't even watch him--he was rushing at the Death Eater who was threatening Harry.

Lucius moved forward abruptly, and Remus caught his arms, throwing him bodily to the floor several feet below. He followed before Lucius would have a chance to recover from the shock. He cast a Stunning Spell.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Harry shouted, and the Death Eater Sirius was dueling fell to the ground with a thud.

"Nice one!" Remus heard Sirius shout as he pushed Harry down to avoid a jet of green light from above.

Remus looked up involuntarily. Bella had broken her duel with Dora and was smiling widely. Dora ran forward to engage her physically, but Bella was too quick. Remus had time to shout, "Dora!" before Bella jabbed her wand upward and yelled, "Monstrous freak! Avada Kedavra!"

Dora had no choice other than to do what she did. She leapt onto a narrow rail, avoiding the Death Curse by inches. Bella laughed and pushed her off.

She fell.

The Levitation Charm was simple, first year magic when applied to stationary objects, but stopping a human being in mid-fall took a great deal of power and concentration. Remus aimed his wand at her, trying to find time to concentrate before she hit the floor. Perhaps five feet up, he was able to catch her, but he only slowed her infinitesimally. She hit with an unspeakable crash.

On the floor behind him, Lucius Malfoy laughed, starting to come around from the Stunning Spell.

Remus turned on him and flung his wand out, ropes shooting forward to bind him. He didn't bother to look back before rushing to Dora.

Blood was running from her nose and mouth, and when he turned her over, she awakened with a weak scream as broken ribs ground against one another.

"I have you," he said. "I'll Heal you."

"Battle," she murmured.

"Oh, God." He looked around the room. Several duels were still raging, though nearly half of the Death Eaters were down now. Moody was stirring slightly from where he'd crumpled, trying to get to his feet. He looked to the base of the stairs, where he'd left Malfoy, and saw nothing there. One of the others must have freed him. "I have to go," he said, looking down into her battered face. "Oh, Dora, I have to go."

"Go..."

He looked around frantically and saw her wand lying on the floor. He Summoned it and handed it to her. "Do your best," he said. "I love you and I'll be back."

The first thing he noticed was that Bella had now engaged Sirius, who was shoving her furiously toward the stairs, away from Harry and Neville.

The second thing he noticed was that Lucius Malfoy was standing immediately behind Harry, his wand pressed to Harry's ribs.

"Impedimenta!" Harry shouted.

Lucius was blasted back onto the dais, coming up just short of the deadly veil. He saw how close he'd come and stood up with murder in his eyes, raising his wand at Harry.

Remus didn't have time to stop and think. He jumped between them.

"Harry!" he said. "Round up the others, and GO!"

Harry obeyed immediately, which showed how tired he was. He looped his arms under Neville's--Remus noticed that someone had cast a hex on Neville's legs--and started to drag him up the steps.

"Brilliant boy, that one," Lucius said. His wand was still raised. Behind him, the veil fluttered.

Push him through, a cold voice in Remus's head said. Push him through it. The Charms Duel is all well and good and ethical, but you're outnumbered and there are injured people who need to be taken to safety.

Remus tried to argue with the voice, but could find no argument. The duel would go on all night; Lucius was a powerful wizard and not likely to stay down for long. And he didn't have all night. Dora was injured, and the fact that none of the other children were in the room to help Harry told Remus that she wasn't the only one. They had to end this and get everyone to safety.

He pushed Lucius back further onto the dais with Stunning Spells, letting him block them with Shield charms. Either Lucius didn't know what the veil did, or didn't believe Remus would use it. He continued to move backward. Somewhere behind him, he heard glass shatter.

Lucius was now fully in front of the veil. Remus raised his wand, pointing it squarely at Lucius's chest...

"DUBBLEDORE!"

Neville's voice rose above the fray and both Lucius and Remus looked up from the battle. Albus Dumbledore was standing at the top of the room, full of fury and power. Harry and Neville were paused halfway up the steps, and Harry looked like a great weight had been lifted from him.

Several of the Death Eaters screamed, and when Remus turned his head, he saw Lucius Malfoy leaping from the dais and running for a door. Dumbledore pointed his wand at him, almost casually, and pulled him back in, throwing him, motionless, to the center of the floor. Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange received the same treatment. Dumbledore had bound the injured Death Eaters before he reached the bottom, and pulled them into the circle at the center.

Only Bellatrix was still free, dueling with Sirius. Amazingly, neither of them had even noticed Dumbledore's entrance. They were carrying on the war that they had waged on one another since childhood. Bella's face was contorted with frustrated rage, Sirius's with manic glee, as she shot a bolt of red light at him. He ducked it, laughing, jumping up onto the dais, in front of the veil.

Remus went cold.

"Come on!" he taunted her. "You can do better than that!"

She could.

She cast a simple Stunning Spell, and it hit him squarely in the chest. He looked down, surprised, and fell backward.

Remus raised his wand to catch him before he fell, but there was no time. It happened both slowly and quickly.

He was there.

And then he was gone.

Bellatrix gave a triumphant scream.

Remus stared at the spot that Sirius had been.

Someone--he didn't know who and didn't care--engaged Bella in another duel, pulling her away from the dais.

And somewhere across the room, someone yelled, "SIRIUS! SIRIUS!"

Remus caught the motion just in time and forced himself to look back into the world of the living. Harry was sprinting down the stairs running toward the veil full tilt, his arms outstretched and his face twisted with fear. It was obvious that he meant to run through it.

Remus ran at him and grabbed him around the chest.

"There's nothing you can do, Harry--"

"Get him," Harry said, straining against Remus's grip and stretching his arms toward the veil. "Save him, he's only just gone through!"

"It's too late, Harry--"

"We can still reach him--"

"There's nothing you can do, Harry," Remus said again, beginning to understand that Harry had no knowledge of what the veil was. "Nothing... he's gone..."

"He hasn't gone!" Harry twisted like a Fury, hell-bent rush the veil. "SIRIUS! SIRIUS!"

"He can't come back, Harry," Remus tried to explain, fighting to keep him still. "He can't come back because he's d--"

Harry screamed with a rage that Remus hadn't known him capable of. "HE-- IS-- NOT-- DEAD! SIRIUS!"

Remus forced himself not to look at the veil, to drag Harry away from it, back to safety. As the seconds passed and Sirius didn't reappear, Harry's rage seemed to be fading to shock.

Remus looked around the room. Dora was lying crumpled on the floor. Mad-Eye Moody had revived and crawled across to her. He was tending her injuries as well as he could. The Death Eaters were mostly gathered and bound in the middle of the room. Dumbledore was catching the stragglers. Kingsley was dueling Bellatrix, who was moving too quickly to be hit by Dumbledore's Capture Curse.

Harry was beginning to make miserable keening sounds as Remus led him to the lower steps. Neville Longbottom, his legs still twitching, thumped down the stairs on his backside and sat beside them. His nose was swollen and bleeding.

"Harry," he said, "I'b really sorry... Was dat man--was Sirius Black a--a friend of yours?"

Harry nodded, but seemed unable to speak. His eyes were still fixed on the veil. Remus's own kept returning to it. Dora's injuries were real. He could accept them no matter how he hated them. But just disappearing. How could that be real? How could...?

He felt a thump on his ankle and saw Neville's flailing foot headed back toward him. A Tarantallegra hex. Simple, hardly requiring any power or concentration, but effective at taking a minor enemy out of a fight. It was also a contemptuous gesture. It appeared that someone had once again underestimated Neville.

Remus drew his wand and pointed it at Neville's legs. "Here," he said. "Finite." His eyes went back to the curtain. Dumbledore had now gathered everyone but Bellatrix, and from the corner of his eye, he saw Dora raising a weak hand.

He forced himself to look back at the boys. "Let's..." His voice broke, and he started again, forcing himself to adopt the tone he used in the classroom, no matter what he was feeling. He deliberately addressed himself to Neville, although he kept a light hold on Harry, to avoid reinforcing the misery in Harry's face by reminding him, now of all times, that he was responsible for the group being here. "Let's find the others," he said. "Where are they all, Neville?"

"Dey're all back dere," Neville said. "A brain addacked Ron bud I dink he's all righd--and Herbione's unconscious, bud we could feel a bulse--"

But he was interrupted by a loud yell from the dais. Remus looked behind himself and saw Kingsley Shacklebolt fall to the floor. Bella ran for the stairs. Dumbledore tried to pull her in with her compatriots, but she deflected the spell and made it to a door at the top level.

Remus detected the motion beside him less than a second before it was too late.

"Harry--no!" he shouted, as Harry ripped himself away from the loose grip Remus had on him.

"SHE KILLED SIRIUS!" he bellowed. "SHE KILLED HIM--I'LL KILL HER!"

And before Remus could stop him, he was gone.
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Comments
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marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: February 17th, 2005 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Um. Okay.

I'm partially just so in awe of the way it all matches up and fits together with Harry's point of view. Oh my god, the scene with Dora was absolutely wrenching. As in the book, the exact moment of Sirius's death was so quick - as you had Remus say himself: there and then... gone. The way that Remus was on the verge of sending Lucius through the veil was completely chilling, and a really interesting contrast to Harry's upcoming attempt to use the Cruciatus Curse on Bella - Harry's motivation was all rage and grief, but Remus's was logic, which is so, so scary. And Remus... I love Remus... I was especially reminded of the amount that I love Remus when he was talking to Neville right... after.

Wow. Did I say that already? Oh... yeah. Right.

Okay, edit things:

They were moving to quickly to accomplish much more than Stunning Spells
to = too

Harry twisted like a Fury, hell-bent rush the veil.
????

Beyond that, I'd just be making myself unbearably nit-picky...
raistmimi From: raistmimi Date: February 17th, 2005 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Hell-bent on rushing the veil? *shrugs*
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: February 17th, 2005 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
:facewet:
raistmimi From: raistmimi Date: February 17th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)
The perspective of Remus in this segment is just marvelous. I very much liked your/his commentary of the significance of the Tarantallegra Hex. Poor Neville.

Lucius fascinates this time around as well.

Congratulations on all of this, Fernwithy.
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: February 17th, 2005 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Fern, this is so good!!!

antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: February 17th, 2005 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's just like in the book. This massive tension and build up an ... gulp. He's just gone. Fantastic action - you did amazingly at padding it all out.
kikei From: kikei Date: February 17th, 2005 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I... I... I...

Harry was beginning to make miserable keening sounds as Remus led him to the lower steps.

I was prepared for it. I read the bit when it happened, and then... I reached that line. And suddenly my feet went cold and it was, WHAM! I'm like that, even in the book it only hit when Harry was trying to use the mirror and sirius never came... here, it's that line. Just... the whole image, especially Harry, oh Harry, and the way you've described him... the 'keening' was the perfect word because of its whole relation with dogs and Sirius and..


*blows nose*


dammit.

-Kiks
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: February 17th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor everyone. :(

From: (Anonymous) Date: February 17th, 2005 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just superb! I've been anticipating and dreading this excerpt all week, now I think tomorrow's might be worse when everyone has to deal with the fall-out. I can't believe how good this is. So many wonderful segments, but I loved the line 'about underestimating Neville'. And the parallels between Remus' duel with Lucius and Sirius and Bellatrix. Wow! Mary
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: February 17th, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Everyone doing just what they ought to or would have had JKR shown us. You've explained Remus absence from Harry's view of the battle brilliantly. This was wonderful and powerful and so very sad.

*sniff* *weep* Well done, Fern. Absolute perfection.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 17th, 2005 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh.

Boy.

Gulp.

Sob.

Ellynne
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: February 17th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry obeyed immediately, which showed how tired he was.

Great insight there. And I like the way you had Remus maneuvering Lucius in front of the veil; it made the moment when he realized the danger to Sirius more believable and chilling.

I really like the series of one-line paragraphs that describe Sirius's death. It changes the pace, makes the moment more poignant.

castaliae From: castaliae Date: February 17th, 2005 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Goodness. (more reply later when I'm more sane.)
calliopeia17 From: calliopeia17 Date: February 17th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sniffle*

This was, as usual, lovely, but what I honestly liked best was the way that you captured the death scene in exactly the same heart-wrenching way that JKR did- with death as something so sudden, so unexpected. She said something about the nature of death in one interview or another, and how she tried to portray it in the books, which I wish I could find. You've certainly managed to capture the scene, though.

He was there.

And then he was gone.


That. Yeah. It was brilliant. *sniffles some more*
sannalim From: sannalim Date: February 17th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
**speechless**
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: February 17th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Miserable attempt at coherence:

I think it's worth pointing out that we really see the magnitude of Sirius dying only through Harry's eyes. It still hurts now that we're following Remus, but (at least for me) it's because we can still see Harry's over-the-top reaction. He's much less capable of dealing with these things than Remus is.

That's just my two cents. I'm feeling the massive grief from Harry, not Remus. I'm also feeling it as phantom pain from my first reading of OotP. I was in denial for months.
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