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Shifts, Chapter 37: Safe Havens, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 37: Safe Havens, pt. 1
Heh, during one last fact check, I found out that I made a goof awhile back. Just in time to start working on the Kent house chapters for the SQ version, I found out that the ponytailed Auror in red robes is identified, and not as Scrimgeour. He's actually Williamson. Oops. I'll just replace Scrimgeour with Williamson. She just sneaks this vital info in all over the book, like she doesn't care at all whether or not it's easy for me to find. ;p

I don't really need to remind people where I left off, do I?

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Remus was halfway across the room, calling uselessly after Harry, when Dumbledore appeared in front of him, hands outstretched.

"Stay here, Remus."

"Harry--"

"I'm going after Harry," Dumbledore said.

"But he's my-- James's... Lily's..." Remus struggled for what he meant to say, but his mind was fogged.

It didn't seem to matter. Dumbledore said, "I know. But you're needed here. Find the other students and tend to them. Bring them here as quickly as you can, and we'll get them to a safe haven when the prisoners have been secured."

"Harry--"

"I don't think Bellatrix will be alone for long."

It took a moment for the significance of this to sink in. The world was disjointed, and nothing seemed to fit. But a misty picture finally formed in Remus's mind. "Voldemort."

Dumbledore nodded. "And you are not a match for him, especially right now. You'll stay with the others." He Disapparated out of the room.

Remus turned and surveyed the wreckage of the battle. Kingsley was coming around, crawling to the dais, where he'd dropped his wand, and keeping an eye on the bound Death Eaters in the center of the room. Moody was beside Dora, healing surface injuries. Neville was making his way over to them, keeping as much distance as he could between himself and the prisoners.

Remus went down to them.

Dora was still unconscious, and he picked her hand up and kissed it, hoping to see a flicker of her eyelids. There was nothing. "Has she spoken?" he asked.

Moody nodded. "Came up for a minute there and said something, but I'm damned if I know what it was. She's going to be all right. I used a Sleep Charm on her. She needs time to knit up what's happened."

"Thank you," Remus said. He touched her face and pushed a few strands of violently pink hair behind her ear. "Oh, Dora. I'm sorry about all of this."

"Don't you start that," Moody said. "There's blame enough to go around, but it's over there with that lot." He jerked his chin in the general direction of the Death Eaters. Lucius Malfoy glared back. He said nothing, and Remus rather suspected that Moody had Silenced him at some point.

"I need to go with Neville to find the others," Remus said. "Are you strong enough to--"

Moody waved off the question. "I've been hurt worse than this and come up from it fighting. I can keep an eye on ten Death Eaters too stupid to duck."

Remus let go of Dora's hand, trying to tell himself that she'd squeezed it back, and met Neville a few feet away. "Take me to the others," he said.

Neville nodded and led him up the stairs to a dark room that seemed to have more doors than any other. The floor was covered with slippery green liquid and dotted with gray lumps.

"Wadge oud for the braids," Neville said, skirting one. "Dey're here." He pointed to a corner where four children were on the floor.

Ginny Weasley was awake, but her eyes had a glassy, faraway look, and Remus could see that her ankle was swollen badly. Luna Lovegood had a cut on her arm and a bruise on her forehead, but was awake and swaying back and forth between two fully prone figures--Ron and Hermione. Hermione's breathing was as shallow as Dora's, and she looked deathly pale. Ron was awake, but his arms were covered with livid welts, and his breath came in loud, noisy gasps. Beside him, one of the brains lay still, cloven--or torn--into two pieces.

Remus knelt beside him. "Are you all right, Ron?"

"Hurts," he said. "Hermione... really hurt... can't wake her..."

"We'll all take care of Hermione," Remus said.

"Wod ob dem hid her wid a curse," Neville said, drawing his arm in a diagonal slash that Remus recognized all too well. It wasn't the time to mention it, but that curse had killed Ron and Ginny's uncles.

"Can all of you get to your feet?" Remus asked.

"Ginny's ankle is broken," Luna said. "And Ron's a bit dizzy."

"Luna, you help Ginny. Neville, you help Ron. I'll carry Hermione. We need to go back to the other room and wait for help to take Malfoy and his friends away. Then we'll get you somewhere safe to heal."

Remus did a Stabilizing Spell on Hermione to keep from jostling her, then picked her up as gently as he could and carried her down the stone steps to where Moody and Dora were. Kingsley had limped over, looking stiff but mainly recovered.

"Is this all of them?" he asked.

Ginny nodded.

Remus set Hermione carefully down on the floor and Conjured blankets to wrap around all of them, as they were shivering. Ginny started to take hers, then let out a gasp. "Tonks?" she said, lurching to Dora's side and collapsing on her bad foot. "Is she all right?"

"She fell," Remus told her. "Moody thinks she'll be..." He took a breath. It sounded shaky. "Moody thinks she'll be fine."

"Where's Harry?"

Remus swallowed hard. "He... he ran after Bellatrix Lestrange. She--"

"She killed Sirius Black," Neville said, and pointed solemnly at the veil.

Ginny looked up with horror. "Is it true?"

"Yes."

"I'm so sorry!" she said, and it didn't sound like an expression of sympathy. She leaned forward and wept. "I'm sorry. I was the one who got us caught, and I said we had to go--Luna and Neville and I--and if we hadn't been here, Harry could have got away cleanly..."

Moody reached across and pinched her shoulder. He nodded at the Death Eaters. "I don't want to say this many more times tonight, but you toss that blame in their direction."

"Anyway," Luna said. "I was the one who came up with the thestrals. And Ron got the wands back. And Hermione got them away from Umbridge. And Neville... well, Neville didn't do anything other than try to help us."

"I said I wanded to cobe," Neville said.

Remus so expected Sirius to jump in with, There you have it then--it's all your fault, that he was shocked when it didn't come and was already looking over his shoulder to see if Sirius had heard, and then he remembered that Sirius was dead and not about to cut the guilt with a joke.

Somewhere inside of him, something felt like a knife twisting. He swallowed hard, trying to make it stop. They needed him to be steady.

There was a great crash somewhere above them, and Ginny tensed, her bad leg twitching and causing her to yelp with sudden pain. Remus put a hand on her shoulder to steady her and she crawled to him desperately, putting her arms around him. He patted her head. A moment later, Neville squatted on his other side. Remus patted his arm bracingly. Luna watched it all with detached Ravenclaw curiosity, then knelt down in front of him, putting her hands on Ron and Hermione. Neville touched Ron's shoulder, and after a moment, Ginny's fingers worked into Hermione's bushy hair.

Neville smiled. "We'll be all righd, Brofessor Lubid." He put his free hand on Dora's shoulder. "We'll be all righd."

Moody rolled his good eye extravagantly (the magical one was dusty, and he had stowed it somewhere and conjured a patch to cover the socket), but took Dora's other hand, joining the connection. Kingsley muttered something about silliness, then put his hand on Luna's head.

Upstairs, there was the unmistakeable sound of a great deal of water splashing down. "What on Earth--?" Remus began.

"It's the Fountain of Magical Brethren," Kingsley said. "It has to be. There's nothing else with that much water in the building. Unless Dumbledore has Conjured water for some purpose I suppose."

Moody frowned. "Whatever it is, I don't like it."

For an amount of time Remus would never be able to judge, they sat together in the shadow of the veil without speaking, the Death Eaters glaring at them.

Suddenly, a great deal of noise and commotion erupted above them, and the circle broke apart as everyone conscious stared at the ceiling. A moment later, a door burst open from the black antechamber, and two Aurors rushed in.

"Williamson! Dawlish!" Kingsley said. "We seem to have caught our fugitives. And you'll never guess who they're answering to."

"We saw him," Williamson barked. "Fudge, too."

"I'm surprised you didn't suddenly turn blind. Get these men prepared for Azkaban."

"Is Harry Potter all right?" Remus asked.

Dawlish looked at him with loathing. "I didn't see him," he snapped. "But Dumbledore said something about getting him back to Hogwarts just as we were rushing down here, so I assume he's fine."

Kingsley lurched over and grabbed Dawlish by the front of his robes. "You watch your tone," he said. "You're on thin ice as it is."

There was much commotion as the Death Eaters were prepared for transport to Azkaban, and Remus registered very little of it. The fog was in his mind again. Near the end of it, Ginny, still tucked against him, looked up. "Professor Dumbledore," she said.

Remus glanced at the stairs, and Dumbledore was, indeed, coming down, Cornelius Fudge ignored in his wake. He came to Remus. "Harry is safe," he said. "I'll speak to him shortly. I need to explain a few things to Cornelius first. You take the children back to Hogwarts. Floo through your old office."

"Shouldn't I take them to St. Mungo's?"

"No. Hogwarts is still better protected. And Bellatrix and Voldemort are still out there. I want them safe."

"But he can't go to Hogwarts!" Fudge sputtered. "No werewolf may--"

Dumbledore fixed him with a furious glare, which stopped his speech entirely, and then turned back to Remus. "Bring Miss Tonks there as well. Poppy Pomfrey can get started, and I assume Andromeda will want to join her. I will..." He paused. "I will take a moment to inform Ted and Andromeda of what has transpired here. I won't force that duty on you tonight."

Remus nodded. Using the same groupings they'd used to come into this room--Luna helping Ginny, Neville helping Ron--Remus picked Hermione up and led them up to the lobby of the Ministry of Magic. The Fountain of Magical Brethren had been shattered into rubble. Remus blinked at it stupidly. What did it matter?

He sent them through the floo network in their pairs, the less injured member of each holding tight to the other, carrying him or her like luggage. Remus took one last look around, then gathered Hermione as close as he could, and stepped into the fire.
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kinderjedi From: kinderjedi Date: February 18th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
"But he can't go to Hogwarts!" Fudge sputtered. "No werewolf may--"

How perfectly, infuriatingly Fudge. I wanted to jump into the scene and throw something at him.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fudge is good for making stupid pronouncements in order to be glared at by Dumbledore. I find I like him for that purpose.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: February 18th, 2005 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
That's just the kind of aftermath for those left behind that I've always imagined. Nice job.:)

cleversimon From: cleversimon Date: February 18th, 2005 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup, done crying over this. He's gone through the Veil, all that's left is the mopping up, I've cried enough at this bloody story and that is just that.

Remus so expected Sirius to jump in with, There you have it then--it's all your fault, that he was shocked when it didn't come and was already looking over his shoulder to see if Sirius had heard, and then he remembered that Sirius was dead and not about to cut the guilt with a joke.

Oh, god damn you.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: February 20th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heck, that made me feel worse than reading it in the book did.
dipsas From: dipsas Date: February 18th, 2005 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been looking forward to seeing your take on this, much more than the actual fall through the veil, and in the end, it's every bit as good and heartbreaking as the rest of Shifts has made me expect. Count me among those who wil be missing updates on this story very much when you're done.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's every bit as good and heartbreaking as the rest of Shifts has made me expect.

Oh, thank you for that. I know that Remus's kind of, er, restrained way of dealing with things might have been off-putting and I was a little freaked about dealing in the fog. Should he be thinking more about Dora? Should he be obsessing over Sirius? They're the one's the story's been about here, but they're not who he needs to think about and...

Well, basically, thanks. :)
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: February 18th, 2005 10:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It wasn't the time to mention it, but that curse had killed Ron and Ginny's uncles.
What a time to put that in!

Damn you (no not really) for writing that so well and with such feeling. I actually feel like Sirius has just gone again. What's more, seeing it from Remus's point of view was ...

Yikes. I actually have a massive lump in my throat, and if I cry today then it's entirely your fault.

:) I knew you were an awesome writer, but I think this about the best I've seen.
siegeofangels From: siegeofangels Date: February 18th, 2005 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
The only reason I am not wallowing in a lake of tears, Alice-in-Wonderland style, is that your Moody is perfect and gruff and stabilizing.

"But he's my-- James's... Lily's..." Remus struggled for what he meant to say, but his mind was fogged.

*sniffle*

Remus so expected Sirius to jump in with, There you have it then--it's all your fault, that he was shocked when it didn't come and was already looking over his shoulder to see if Sirius had heard, and then he remembered that Sirius was dead and not about to cut the guilt with a joke.

Just . . . don't mind me, I just need a minute. Something in my eye . . .
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: February 18th, 2005 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)

typo

I came up _with_ the Thestrals
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 18th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: typo

:facepalm:
castaliae From: castaliae Date: February 18th, 2005 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great job. This was so adult it really brought out the differences between Remus the adult and Harry. Neville didn't cease to command my respect through the whole of this, which was lovely. Fudge is an idiot.

Thank you so much.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: February 18th, 2005 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Did anyone notice how brief the replies were yesterday? I think we were all reliving the grief! Well done, Fern, you left us speechless.

Today, you captured that aftermath feeling so well. I liked the way the children were still in their "one for all and all for one" mode, and how they included the Order members in that. Moody was perfect, and dead right in who to blame. He silenced Malfoy - how cool is that? I love the Moody character. Kingsley was perfect Kingsley, as well, methodical and yet in-charge. Remus beginning to slip (not exactly fall apart) on the inside yet appear in control on the outside is canon Lupin. Well done. I wondered whether Tonks had seen Sirius killed or if she was going to have to be informed of that fact. It appears that unhappy task will fall to Remus? Poor chap. :(

author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: February 18th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fudge, the insensitive, lyncanphobic creep!

And really... poor Remus. How can things get worse for him?

(Don't answer that).
vytresna From: vytresna Date: February 18th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kingsley and Moody suddenly rock even more than they already did. Especially Moody.

The Ministry idiots are just set in their thinking deep down. Have a happy change of administration, all of you.

I'm not even going to touch on the main stuff. It's stinging my eyes as it is.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: February 18th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man. I read the comments and I just realized something. Dora doesn't know about it, does she? She was passed out most of the time. She couldn't have seen it. That's awful.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: February 18th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
In a morbid sense, though... if she had seen it (and for all we know, she did, Fern hasn't confirmed yet), imagine the feeling of helplessness. :(
reetchick From: reetchick Date: February 18th, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
so. very. broken.

But allow me to add that you give great Moody.
mysticblueside From: mysticblueside Date: February 18th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
When HBP comes out, I'm going to continually be wondering about how everything will look through Remus' perspective, and what he could be up to when he's not around. You're writing is just so fluid and addictive...it's like soda, but it tastes more like chocolate. ;) The characterizations are so on the money that I feel like I should have had to pay to read this story, and I can't think of much more to say except 'brilliant'.

Brilliant.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: February 18th, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
You see, I would be crying, but Sirius isn't dead. Nope, not dead. He's just not coming back, you see....
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