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Into the Mists: A first ficcy response - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Into the Mists: A first ficcy response
Okay. Before I dreamed of writing Shifts, I did a lot of pieces of it in short form. (Something it finally occurred to me is a pretty normal method when I actually write successfully, and have started wondering why I don't do when I try to write original fic, but that's neither here nor there. I'm about ready to attempt the Set Piece Theory Of Writing, is all.)

Anyway, like I said in my personal quirky reactions post, I didn't get too irreparably Jossed. A few details--Tonks's hair color, probably (but not, imho, definitely) Andromeda's house, and dubiously on the history of Sirius knowing the Tonks family. Since it's more important that Remus does, I can continue to assume that he was around because, well, he didn't have a lot of friends and may as well be friends with Ted and Andromeda anyway. The obsoletion of the Elizabeth stories doesn't have much impact on Shifts, and I've developed a liking for the Fenrir Grayback line, because it's cool that Remus tried and was totally unable to give him compassion. And frankly creepy that the guy actually targets little kids.

So anyway, I'm going to pick up on the evening after the end of Shifts, which ended with engaged Tonks and Remus wandering up toward Number 12, Grimmauld Place. I think I can do it. Let's see.




The mists came with darkness.

Remus watched them from the parlor of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, his hand resting lightly on the valise that held all of the remaining secrets of the Order. He could see a ghost of Dora in the glass, running her hand along the family tree, fretting at the burned spots. Buckbeak the hippogriff was chained and Disillusioned, and Remus could see a huge, vague distortion on the floor.

Dora turned. "We should leave, Remus."

"I know."

"I don't fancy a re-match with Aunt Bella just now. Soon enough. But not now."

He nodded. A pool of mist was rising around a streetlight, and he saw an unmistable shadow pass by on the other side of the square. "We need to be careful. There's a Dementor."

"Bloody things."

"They're breeding. That's what the mist is."

Dora wrinkled her nose. "I know I said I wanted the world to be filled with babies, but I really wasn't thinking about bouncing baby Dementors. I've no idea what sort of gifts to get them."

"They're partial to souls."

"Still using mine, thanks."

Remus smiled at her faintly (he could see that she was also looking at the glass, and her ghost smiled back at him). "We should close up the house," he said.

She nodded, and they each took one of the velvet curtains over the window, drawing it shut against the mist, trapping their ghost-images in the glass on the other side. He kissed her forehead. "Let's go."

She took Buckbeak's chain and prodded him toward the door, past Mrs. Black's weeping portrait (it sniffed out, "Blood... traitor... half-blood... freak... murdering thieves... fithy animal..."). The night reached in for them as they all stepped outside, and the groundfog swirled around their ankles, pressing against them, uncomfortable and clammy.

They locked the door and stepped beyond the boundaries of the house. It disappeared.

"I'd hoped we could stay," she said, looking over her shoulder as they slipped into the shadows of a nearby alley. "I don't know where to go now."

"Hagrid's, for starters," Remus said. "We'll get Buckbeak to him and--oh, wait." He squinted up into the sky. "Owl."

The bird came flying down, settling on Dora's shoulder, apparently preferring to stay as far as possible from the rising fog. It held out its right leg to Remus, and he took the proferred message.

"Dumbledore?" Dora asked.

He nodded, unrolling the scroll. "They've received intelligence about a gathering of werewolves. Blast." He destroyed the note. "Can you take Buckbeak alone?"

"I'll just fly him up. Disillusion me?"

"All right."

"Kiss me first?"

"I believe that's a mandatory step." He leaned forward and kissed her, then rapped her head with his wand and watched her disappear into the mists. The spell reached her toes last, and just before they disappeared, she wiggled them in a wave. He rolled his eyes and stepped back, and a moment later, he felt a rush of air as the fog swirled around him and Buckbeak took flight.

YOU'LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN.

He blinked rapidly at the thought that came from nowhere, and reached for a Muggle chocolate bar in the pocket of his cloak.

It was gone.

Blast. He must have eaten it standing at the window, feeling them moving out here. He hadn't been planning to stay long.

Something moved at the corner of his vision and he turned toward it just as it disappeared into another shadow. From another direction, he heard a rattly breath.

YOU'VE BEEN SELFISH. WHAT ARE YOU, WEREWOLF?

Rattling from another direction.

"Dammit." He closed his eyes and concentrated, imagining himself anywhere but here, thinking of Hagrid's hut, perhaps, waiting for Dora. Or perhaps Smeltings, in his ugly but well-known office. Or even the Shrieking Shack.

"Hullo, doggie... are you hungry? I have such a very nice dinner and--"

"Remus! Remus where are you?"

"Daddy? I'm outside and..."


His eyes opened. He was still standing in the alley, drowning in fog, surrounded by moving shadows. He raised his wand.

"Expecto Patronum!"

His Patronus leapt from the tip of his wand, but dissipated into the fog after barely dislodging a single Dementor from its path. He concentrated harder, thinking of Dora's smile, of laughter with James and Sirius...

...both dead...

The shadows closed in.

"Expecto..."

"Greyback! Let him go! Do what you must but let my son go!"

And then the shapes became closer, the hooded forms of the Dementors, and the sharp teeth and feral mouth that Remus saw at the center of his mind, closing in.

Blackness.

More blackness.

And teeth.

Sharpened, glowing in the blackness. Light seemed to seep in around them, to catch the reddened eyes, then the tattered clothing, and only then to find its way to a lantern on a table.

Remus blinked.

The Dementors were gone.

Fenrir Greyback remained.

He smiled gruesomely, and blood dripped from his mouth. Remus noted without much surprise that his own shoulder was tacky with it, and stiff from the new injury.

"And here the moon's not even full."

"Live a bit," Greyback said. "Enjoy the gift I gave you."

"Yes," Remus said, sitting up. "It's always been a charming addition to my life." He examined the wound. It was superficial, and he pulled his robe up over it. "Aren't I a bit old for you?"

"Oh, I never lose the taste for an old friend." Greyback raised his eyebrows. "You seem to have acquired a few tastes of mine as you've finally managed to grow up. Lovely child you've been seen with of late. Have you brought her into the pack yet?"

"She's not a child."

Greyback was nonplused with this, and turned his back on Remus. "I understand you've been looking for us," he said. "For your own sort. It's quite the scandal, all the doors you knocked on."

"It's not the first time I've tried to meet other lycanthropes."

"Oh, but you're not just seeking company this time, are you? It seems you already have that. And if you're not comfortable bringing her in, I would be happy to make her, shall we say, a more suitable mate for you."

Remus felt his stomach turn to ice. He tried not to show it. He had feared that Greyback might come into this business, might even be the real power behind things, no matter what Peter thought. And if so, there were two reasons not to allow him to know how important Dora was. The first was the simple reason: Greyback wasn't making an idle threat about turning her. He spread lycanthropy as his own personal mission. Remus had no desire to make Dora a target. The second was more unpleasant, but even simpler: he had to establish to Greyback that he had no real ties to the wizarding world. All of his apparent ties had been cut off, possibly violently. He had a reason for seeking other werewolves.

"Well," he said, "she was a casual thing. Werewolf fixation. Guess we get affection where we can. She moved on. I moved on. Greener pastures."

"Or redder ones," Greyback agreed. "You could indulge her fascination and get back at her at the same time..."

Remus tried not to frown, seeking a way into this that would get Dora out of it. "She's not that important," he finally lied. "At the moment, Dolores Umbridge is the top of my list. Her bloody werewolf laws."

"Ah! Yes! That would bother someone like you. You thought they'd take you in. That's right..." Greyback narrowed his eyes, apparently trying to peer into his memories. Remus watched this with some degree of revulsion and some degree of relief; like an animal, Greyback appeared to be losing touch with long term abstract memories, like Remus's preferences about his life. It would make things easier, but he couldn't quite dismiss the knowledge that the beast inside of him was part of Greyback. "You... lost your position?"

"Yes."

"Because Dumbledore sacked you."

"Two years ago, yes." Remus bit his lip, spinning a story on the fly. He'd anticipated having longer to do this. "I thought at first he'd find me another position, but apparently there are more important things to worry about."

"Yes... yes... much more important." Greyback's eyes blazed. "I don't trust you, old friend," he said. "But come. We are what we are, and there is one thing you and I both know is true: they will not accept us."

There was no argument.

"Come meet your pack." He started to lead Remus out of the room, but stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder slyly. "And she will be part of it," he said. "I'll never need to have anything to do with it. You will bring her to us eventually. You and I both know that is true as well."

He slipped into the shadows.

Remus remained where he was for as long as he dared.

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Comments
myf From: myf Date: July 17th, 2005 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
*shivers* Fern, you're brilliant. I haven't given much thought to Remus' role during HBP, because I really didn't want to dwell on it. But now? Totally sucked in.
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: July 17th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Shifts sequel! W00T!!!!!

I am half-dreading the angst, but....you're the only person I really trust with this story. :D
belita013 From: belita013 Date: July 17th, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooo - very chilling.
I can feel the angst just waiting to come out.
*hopes for a Shifts sequel*
katinka31 From: katinka31 Date: July 17th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very glad I'm reading this in the morning, and not at night. Chilling.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 17th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm just very glad I'm reading it. :)
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: July 17th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh man. That was brilliantly creepy, and I'm so glad you're continuing with the Shifts-world. Can't wait for more.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: July 17th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love you, I love you, I love you.

Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, CONTINUE!
dalf From: dalf Date: July 17th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW! I'd probbly think about distancing myself from her too, and right away. Ugh!

The transition between the dementors and his talking to Greyback was a little confusing, especuially with the "He started to lead Remus out of the room" at the end. Is the conversation taking place on the street? Or was Remus knocked out when he was bitten again and taken somewhere? In that case did Greyback save him from the dementors or would hehave been able to apparate away?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree on re-read--this was a total first draft. That's damned confusing.

What happened, and what I'll shore up on edit, is that Greyback actually came to collect Remus and Apparated him to the hideout, where he proceeded to take a chunk out of him to wake him up.
dalf From: dalf Date: July 18th, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Not sure that I like the idea of Remus falling that easilly to dementors (unless Greyback intentionally made sure there were lots and lots of them that coordanated an attack with the purpose of overwhelming him).

But the apparating him away works.
From: psalm_27 Date: July 18th, 2005 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
You certainly don't disappoint. I mentioned in my journal that I thought HBP supported Shifts, and you didn't prove me wrong. This is a perfect set-up to what we see of Tonks and Remus in HBP without dismissing your backstory from Shifts. I can't wait to read more!
gentlespirit From: gentlespirit Date: July 18th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I just felt like adding myself to the list of people who really liked that. I like the way he really will do whatever he can to protect others from anything, even and especially anything related to himself.
valerie_valerah From: valerie_valerah Date: July 18th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant, as usual! I'm wondering...will this perhaps become part of a sequel to Shifts? Not that I'm begging for one now or anything but, well...it would be nice :D And simply amazing, as your background from Shifts coinsides quite well with HBP. You must be reading JKR's mind!
kismeteve From: kismeteve Date: July 18th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with dalf that the location change was a bit confusing, but your Greyback freaked me out. Just a bit.

"Yes," Remus said, sitting up. "It's always been a charming addition to my life." He examined the wound. It was superficial, and he pulled his robe up over it. "Aren't I a bit old for you?"

"Oh, I never lose the taste for an old friend." Greyback raised his eyebrows. "You seem to have acquired a few tastes of mine as you've finally managed to grow up. Lovely child you've been seen with of late. Have you brought her into the pack yet?"


That highlighted sentence really creeped me out. Great job. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks.

On re-read, the thing is confusing me now.

I think what I'm going to do is restructure it. Instead of Remus getting a message from Dumbledore about the intelligence, he'll actually get a message from Greyback, and head out somewhere, which is filled with Dementors, and that's when Greyback grabs him and Apparates him out.
kismeteve From: kismeteve Date: July 18th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I like the sound of that. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2005 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)

wow.

I finished reading HBP about an hour ago (still numb) and your journal was the first place I came to see what the fandom reaction was. I hinted at an R/T ship in my own fic, and I loved 'Shifts' so much that I actually exclaimed aloud at Tonk's speech in the hospital ward--I never thought she would make it canon, but what a thrill. All I could think was, "Maybe JKR read 'Shifts.'" ;o)

So I was thrilled to find that you have already started writing new fiction for new canon, and it is a great chapter--with the exception of the confusion others have already pointed out above. But nonetheless, great story taking shape already, and Greyback seriously creeped the hell out of me. I will wait with baited breath for the next chapter. ;o)

~madame en, who still isn't up to having an LJ of her own
wanderlust198 From: wanderlust198 Date: July 19th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey. Former lurker here, but I had to post just to say that you TOTALLY have to write that. It all ready sounds awesome! (BTW -- you were the writer that convinced me of R/T, pre-HB.)
redbrunja From: redbrunja Date: July 20th, 2005 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like this story. Needs some editing and clarifying, but still very good. My favorite lines were YOU'LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN. and YOU'VE BEEN SELFISH. WHAT ARE YOU, WEREWOLF? because they are just so in character, and exactly what Lupin would be thinking. Also, when Greyback compares Lupin to him, re: Tonks, was very creepy.
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