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Elizabeth Phelan fic for myf - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Elizabeth Phelan fic for myf
Went home from work with an earache, slept for three hours, and woke up with a sore throat, a low-grade fever, and the beginning of a cough.

I don't know if it's hay fever or the flu, or just stress catching up with me. Sleeping midday was stupid. Now I won't be able to sleep at night.

Anyway, next challenge. In a previous hour-long fic, I had Elizabeth Phelan, the werewolf who bit Remus ("Lines of Descent"), ran into the Marauders in Hogsmeade, and they had a pleasant time together. myf wanted to know what happened when they found out who she was to Remus.

So... here goes.

Start 10:48


Monsters

Elizabeth Phelan laughed pleasantly, the strange, hunted look she'd had in her eyes gone entirely. She mussed Remus's hair (he blushed brightly at this), then stood up. "You boys have a good day," she said.

James got to his feet and pulled her chair out for her--Mum would have a fit that he hadn't thought to do so before she stood up--and gave her a little bow. "It can hardly become better, now can it?"

Her laugh became quite raucous, and for moment, James could see her as she must have been when she was at Hogwarts itself--a bit brash, very pretty, flirtacious. He thought about asking if she'd played Quidditch, but if she had, that would start another conversation and there wasn't time for it.

"You're very good at this, Mr. Potter," she said when she stopped laughing.

"Yeah," Sirius said, an eyebrow raised archly, "James is a prince."

She smiled at him. "Well, Mr. Black, you can't all be the dangerously attractive rogue."

Sirius preened dramatically.

Peter bit his lip. "What am I?"

"Oh, you... you're the loveable one that girls take home."

"I thought that was Remus."

"You clearly don't know him that well." She winked, then looked down at Remus. "You'll come visit us on the island, won't you? Maddoc and I enjoy it. He's built a... a special room for you."

"Thank you," Remus muttered, and James realized--like a lightning bolt coming down from the sky--that this woman knew about Remus. The "special room" was a place he could transform.

He felt his eyes narrow. Remus didn't exactly go about telling strangers about his lycanthropy.

"Well," Elizabeth said, "I should finish my errands now. Have a nice Hallowe'en!"

There was another round of goodbyes. James gave her one more flirt, as it seemed to make her happy, but his mind was working in the frenzied way it sometimes did. He'd enjoyed it when he was small, and it helped him solve puzzles and answer riddles, but more and more, it kept bringing him to ideas he'd rather not think about.

They watched her go and were cleaning up and settling up from lunch (Remus and Peter both asked for the check; Sirius and James made a game of keeping it from them, and paid Madam Rosmerta between the two of them) when the door of the Three Broomsticks opened, and Peter groaned. James looked over his shoulder.

It was just old Snivellus Snape and his handful of pathetic Slytherin mates--a seventh year named Goyle, a skinny fourth year girl whose name he didn't know (ugly as sin, though, he thought), a foul little fifth year called Roger Carpenter, and...

James stood up straight.

Regulus Black.

Sirius hadn't noticed yet--he was on the other side of the table, sorting out the bags they'd shoved on Peter earlier--but Snivellus had spotted him already, and had a look on his face that was even more unpleasant than usual. He'd come back swaggering about this year, poking into things that were none of his business, and he'd made a point of irritating Sirius at every opportunity.

A very foolish pursuit, in James Potter's humble opinion.

The little gang of Slytherins sauntered over to the table, Snivellus in the lead. Obviously, these were a pathetic lot, as James couldn't recall anyone else following Snape ever.

Regulus spotted Sirius first and tugged on Snape's robe to make him stop, but there wasn't much response. Snape walked up to the table, standing beside James, and spoke in an oily voice. He glanced into the Zonko's bags. "Well. I see you're improving your education, Black."

"Come on, Severus," Regulus said shakily.

Sirius stood up and reached across for his brother, trying to pull him around the table. "Are you out of you bloody mind, Reg? I know you want friends, but even in Slytherin, you can do better than Snivellus."

"Just because you don't like him doesn't mean he's a bad person," Regulus said, pulling his arm out of Sirius's grip. "You're the one who's always nasty."

Snape smirked in an unpleasant way. He picked up Peter's girlie magazine. "Excellent reading material in Gryffindor. Go on, Regulus. Buy a round of butterbeer."

The younger students (and Goyle, who was simply stupid, if James was thinking of the right person) went off to the bar. Regulus lingered for a moment, but went off like a shot when Snape glared at him.

"You stay away from my brother," Sirius said tightly.

"He's in my house, Black, not yours." The unpleasant smirk deepened. "And he's such a quick learner."

The table went flying before James noticed Sirius move, and Snivellus barely stepped back in time to keep it from falling on his feet. Peter and Remus had grabbed Sirius's arms, and James drew his wand--Sirius was in enough trouble from his last bout of pranks (a nasty bit of business that had ended with two Slytherins in the hospital wing speaking in gibberish for a week; James decided, for the sixth time so far this year, that it might be time to find out what was eating at him this year). But Snivellus didn't provoke him any further. He just straightened his robe and walked calmly over to the bar, where Regulus was generously providing everyone with refreshments. He looked guiltily at Sirius.

"Come on," Remus said. "It's time to go."

"I should bring him with me."

"No one's forcing him to be there," Peter said.

Sirius glared at him, but couldn't make much of an argument. In the end, he let the three of them lead him out into the brisk late afternoon. He glared back resentfully. "Bloody idiot," he said. "How did I get such a stupid brother? Snape's just trying to figure out what we're up to every month."

James didn't say anything. Snape had expressed inordinate interest in their whereabouts this year, and if he found out about the Animagus transformations, they were sunk. It was probably just a hefty fine, but they'd certanly be expelled, and Remus's secret spilled to the whole wizarding world. But he was fairly certain that this grooming of Regulus Black was purely about baiting Sirius into doing something stupid.

They'd gotten to the empty stretch of road, the no man's land between the village and the school, before anyone spoke again. It was Remus.

"I wanted to thank you all," he said. "For being nice to Elizabeth."

James shrugged. "She's a nice lady."

"Your parents have excellent taste in neighbors," Peter said. "Though I'm pretty certain she saw... you know."

"Told you you should learn to use your imagination," Sirius muttered.

The distraction with Regulus had driven James's mind off course for awhile--it was easy to do that sometimes--but the pieces he'd been putting together flew into form. "She knows about you, doesn't she?" he asked.

Remus bit his lip. "Yes. She knows."

"You just told your neighbor?" Sirius asked, still looking a bit put out. "You told us you hadn't told anyone else."

Remus stopped walking. "I know you all can keep a secret," he said.

Peter frowned deeply. Sirius fidgeted with his gloves. James just waited for him to speak again.

"Elizabeth..." Remus looked around nervously and sniffed the air for several seconds. "She's the werewolf who bit me," he said quickly and quietly. "She knows everything."

"She's the--" Sirius threw his hands in the air furiously and let out a short bark of a yell. "Bloody..."

He seemed unable to follow up "bloody," and just stalked on up to the school, not even checking to see if anyone was following.

"What's his problem this year?" Peter asked.

James shook his head.

The three of them didn't talk all the way back to Gryffindor tower, and when they arrived in their dormitory, Sirius was already there, pacing. (Their beds had all been shoved lengthwise along the circlar walls, as close as they would go, to leave room for their various projects and of course, for Sirius's agitated walks.) He stopped when they came in, and shook his head in Remus's general direction. "The one who bit you?" he said. "We sat there laughing and eating with someone who ruined your whole life?"

"She's a nice lady," Remus said, heading for his bed. He pulled aside the curtains and made to go inside and hide there (unlike the other three, Remus tended to withdraw after a day out).

Sirius grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. "Oh, no you don't. What's wrong with you? A nice lady? Look what she did to you!"

Remus clenched his teeth and tried to turn around and go behind his curtains, but Sirius wouldn't let him go.

"I've had it!" he bellowed. "We're to play nicely with--"

And that was when Remus hit him.

Remus was absurdly strong for his size and apparent state of health--James supposed it was a side effect of his lycanthropy--and the punch sent Sirius reeling back into the center of the room, his hand clenched over his jaw.

For a long time, there was no sound except for Remus gasping for air, as if he was trying to fill his lungs with anything other than what was pushing to come out of them now. In the five years and two months they'd all lived together, none of them had actually hit any of the others, and Remus was the last one James would have expected to do it, including himself.

Sirius shook his head. "I don't understand you, mate. She--"

"She is what I am," Remus said.

"But you wouldn't--"

"God, Sirius... do you really think she thought to herself, 'Hmm, I'll bite Remus today'? If you do, you've been missing something. I'm not an Animagus, in case you forgot. Full moon, I'm not Remus in a wolf suit."

"I know that--"

"No, you don't. You don't know it." He sat down on the edge of his bed, but--somewhat to James's surprise--didn't pull the curtains. "I hated her the first month," he said. "After the bite. I was six. She said I could transform with her, but I told her she was nasty and I never wanted to see her anymore and... awful things. I transformed the first time at St. Mungo's. They chained me up."

"God," Peter said. "When you were six?"

Remus nodded. "I told them I would just be a little wolf, and I'd be good, and they said it didn't matter. I was little--not much to transform when you're six--but all of the rest was there. The... the instincts. The..." He wrinkled his nose. "I went to Elizabeth the next morning and said I was sorry and asked if I could come transform with her the next month. She looked after me. Sirius, I stuck my hand in her cage."

"Still, she was..."

"She was what she was." He shrugged. "There I was. Standing there, talking to her, throwing my scent around. Must have driven her mad. And then I put my hand in."

"You were just--"

"I was just prey." Remus took a deep breath. "If you think anyone is anything else under the full moon, think again. If you think you could just show up as a person instead of a dog, and I'd think, 'Oh, it's Sirius, I can't bite him,' then think again. And you do think that, don't you? Some great lark, go and play with the werewolf. I'm his friend, he won't hurt me."

"I wouldn't go in there untransformed..."

"But it's what you believe, isn't it? That there's some kind of magic protection you have because I'm an all right person twenty-seven days a month. You don't have any protection, and if you walked in, I'd tear your throat out. It's like drowning. The smell of people, I mean. Your brain might know better than to try and breathe underwater, but if you get held there too long, then... sooner or later, your lungs hurt, and your head is pounding, and all you can do is panic.

"So don't stand there and blame Elizabeth for taking a breath."

With that, he rolled back onto his bed and closed his curtains with a definitive move.

Sirius stood there for a moment, looking like he was planning to reach through and start another round, but in the end, he stomped down the stairs to the common room.

"Should we go after him?" Peter asked timidly.

James shook his head. "No. He'll come around."

"But what will he do on the way to coming around?"




End 12:01 (13 minutes over. Bah.)

Tags:
I feel a bit...: sick sick

14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
myf From: myf Date: April 14th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jeez, Fern, if this is how you write when you're ill...! I hope you feel better soon.

I'm sitting here grinning all over my face because I love it when the Marauders get confrontational. I love Remus for sticking up for Elizabeth like that. Sirius reacted just as I thought he would - he's so protective of Remus, here, yet that protection really walks hand in hand with incomprehension. "Not Remus in a wolf suit", exactly. So few fic writers really understand this, but for me it's what makes Remus such a fascinating character.

I'm so glad you wrote this. I'm so glad you wrote about Severus and Regulus too - that's a perfect piece of inspiration regarding the Sirius/Severus dynamic.

Shivery moment at this bit:
"Come on," Remus said. "It's time to go."

"I should bring him with me."

"No one's forcing him to be there," Peter said.

Sirius glared at him, but couldn't make much of an argument.


Little typo in the final line - should it be 'what will he do...'?

Again - thanks Fern! You've made me happy.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: April 15th, 2004 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
So wonderful! I know I probably keep saying this, but you write their characters SO well. Spot on. I want to keep reading.
kaluptein From: kaluptein Date: April 15th, 2004 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
*fangirls* I loved "Lines of Descent" so, of course, I enjoyed an extra scene!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: April 15th, 2004 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Gush.

Gush gush gush.

Gushy gushy gush gushes gushilly gush.

More, please.
jiminyc From: jiminyc Date: April 15th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
This was great, as usual. I particularly loved the way you wrote Sirius and his reaction to the news. I believe he would react exactly like that - as though being nice to Elizabeth, even though Remus had just thanked him for it, was betraying him somehow. It's a contradiction that would take him a long time to come to grips with. And my favorite little detail (one of your greatest strengths as a writer - those marvelous little details that convey so much!) is the idea of Sirius taking 'agitated walks' around the room. Outstanding.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 15th, 2004 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, everyone! That was nice to wake up to. :)

I'm actually starting to think, between this and "Hogsmeade Weekend," that I'm working up to a story about The Prank--another five parter, like "Lines," but in several different points of view, each picking up immediately after the last.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: April 15th, 2004 09:28 am (UTC) (Link)
That was wonderful. I love your characterizations, and your dialogue is so precise and natural.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 15th, 2004 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I like your characterisation of Sirius, especially the way they've moved all the beds so he can pace about!

Britpick: 'bill', not 'check'. Here a 'cheque' is just the thing you cash at the bank.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 15th, 2004 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, thank you. I always thought "check" was a goofy thing to call a restaurant bill.

On the room, I just have a feeling that, unlike Harry's year, they treat it more as shared space for a family than as a room their beds happen to be in, so they'd make little concessions for their habits.
From: falco_999 Date: April 15th, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
"But what will he do on the way to coming around?"

*gulps* I think I can guess.

I love the way your characterisation of the Marauders. You show their bad points without demonising them and their good points without canonizing them. They seems so 3
From: falco_999 Date: April 15th, 2004 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
...D. Rats - I hit the post button by accident and I don't think I can delete it. Sorry. *is very embarassed*

'Peter bit his lip. "What am I?"

"Oh, you... you're the loveable one that girls take home."'

I just want mention how much I like your Peter, and his interaction with Mrs Phelan. I'll bet little things like that that pause before she replies really ate away at his self-esteem.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 15th, 2004 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wondered if "seems so 3" was a bit of netspeak I didn't know yet. ;)

Anyway, thanks. I find that I'm actually enjoying crawling into Peter's skin from time to time. He's so normal.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 18th, 2004 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
*joins the Japor Snippet fan club (winces at the Ep3 Spoiler first)*

I like Vega. :)
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: September 19th, 2004 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, this is so amazing! I had a nasty feeling that Sirius would act like that, though. He makes Ron look even tempered.

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