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Shades, Chapter Twelve: Interlude (3): Human, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Twelve: Interlude (3): Human, pt. 1
Bleargh. Looks like I'm getting another cold. I guess the last one was longer ago than I was thinking (picked it up with the chill at TWH, so a couple of months), but it's quite annoying. As soon as I got home from work, my body said, "No internet. Sleep. Now." So I slept for almost four hours. And now it's time to sleep before work tomorrow, and guess who's not sleepy, because she just woke up. :headdesk:

Anyway, to my vast relief, we're back with Remus. I have to get them together more. If they had millions of conversations, they can't be totally separated all year, right? Right?

At last check, Greyback had instructed Remus to teach the pups to read. (I don't know why I call them "pups" instead of "cubs," except that "pups" was the word that came into my head.) In return, Remus bartered for Greyback to teach him more control over himself transformed, as Greyback seems to be able to maintain a least a rough agenda between his human self and his wolf self. Greyback is paranoid that Remus is teaching things to the pups that aren't on his approved curriculum, so he doesn't mind being around as much as possible.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Want what the wolf wants.

It was a simple enough principle, and Remus supposed that if one's human interests were served by death and terror, it would be extremely simple to implement. Just decide where to unleash the wolf, get there, and let thought and instinct merge.

If, on the other hand, a person wanted to not hunt down campers in the forest or brutalize smaller wolves, the philosophy presented something of a difficulty.

"See, that's your problem," Greyback had said during their first week of lessons, without needing to hear Remus mention any of his concerns about this. "You've got it in your skull that you want to not be what you are. What does the wolf want?"

"To kill," Remus said impatiently, not wanting to go through what Greyback undoubtedly thought would be a humiliating ritual to force him to admit it. "To bite. Tear. Destroy things."

Greyback backhanded him across the shed, and before Remus could catch his balance, knocked him to the floor and planted a knee on his chest. "You say it," he said. "you don't want it."

Remus reached up and grabbed Greyback by the throat. "Don't I?"

"I'd be dead if you did. But there's something else you want."

Remus thought briefly of the females, of the smell of them just before they left, and he shoved Greyback aside, annoyed with himself.

Greyback laughed merrily. "Yes, there's that, but that's not what I meant."

"How do you know what I was thinking?"

"You think you're hard to read, don't you? A right mystery. But I know who you are. I've had your blood in my mouth, and I know you. No one knows you better."

You know nothing, Remus thought, but it was a lie. "What do I want, then, if you know so much?"

"Why, the pack!" Greyback said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You know it. You want your brothers around you. You want to know where you belong. You want to take your place... and stay in it."

Remus clenched his jaw against saying anything, not because Greyback was right (he was, to a point), but because there was more to it, more that he didn't want Greyback to intuit. It should have been obvious, but Greyback's grandiose wolfish ego apparently didn't allow him to actually acknowledge what his paranoia told him so clearly as a human.

Transformed, Remus didn't want to take his place and stay in it, not for long anyway, not once he knew what he needed to know.

The wolf wanted the pack. But the place he wanted in it wasn't the place Greyback wanted him to have. He had only the vaguest idea of what his place was now--below Greyback, certainly, and below a few of the other men. Above Alderman and the pups. But last month, someone had challenged him in earnest, and that meant that he wasn't thought to be at the bottom of the social order. How far was he from Alpha? He didn't know. That was information he needed to have.

The wolf wanted to challenge Greyback.

Not yet.

But soon.

And that, Remus thought he might be able to use, if he could just master the most basic levels of control.

Could he take the pack from Greyback without becoming Greyback? And if he could, what on Earth would he do with them?

That was the question.

There was no time for a pre-transformation visit to Molly this month; Greyback or the pups had been almost constantly present over the past week, and now, while Greyback was off collecting prey for the pups in the cave tonight, Remus had other matters to attend to.

He'd found the administrative offices for the forest's Muggle caretakers by accident while gathering berries. They stood on a cleared patch of land with a large car park nearby, and a road led in to the camp sites. The car park itself was nearly empty now, but "nearly" wasn't good enough.

You could end up getting your packmates injured.

He shook his head. It was a chance he had to take.

He took a deep breath, then ran full out at the door, so he would be breathing hard and panting by the time he got there.

"Dogs," he gasped, as he ran inside and leaned over the desk.

A young woman in a uniform stood up slowly. "Are you hurt?"

"No," Remus said. "No, I'm not. I got away."


"Dogs," he said again. "A whole pack. Chased me. They're near the campsites."

"Oh, not again!" the woman said. "Are you certain you're all right? Do you need a doctor?"

"No. I'm fine. I ran. I got away cleanly."

Apparently fully mollified by this, the woman just shook her head. "Last month, they chased a pair of tourists from France. We couldn't find a sign of them in the morning. I thought they'd gone. I suppose not. I guess I've lost a bet with Jones."

"They're not gone," Remus said.

"It's a full moon again," the woman said with a grin. "Maybe they're werewolves." She laughed at the notion.

"Whatever they are, I think you should get the campers out of there. They seemed dangerous."

"There's hardly anyone here, and I can call in some help to keep watch..."

With a lack of concern that Remus found stultifying, she pulled out few sheets of paper. "Could you fill out a report on the incident?"

"I really--"

"We need to know the details. If we do have a pack of feral dogs, we'll need to know everything there is to know about them." She left Remus with the blank report and returned to her desk, where she began to make telephone calls. By the time he'd finished filling it out--fabricating from beginning to end--her face was more drawn. "They can't send back-up tonight," she said. "I'm to suggest that the few campers we have move elsewhere. I should go to the campsites. Thank you for reporting this." She took the report with no fuss and dropped it into a wire basket as she got the keys to her car. "I have to lock up. Are you absolutely certain you don't need medical attention?"

Remus indicated that he was certain. Greatly relieved, he went back out into the open air, and as soon as her car disappeared down the road to the campsites, he slipped back into the forest.

"Interesting visit?"

He stopped and turned, not bothering with doubt. His nerve endings knew. "Greyback."

Greyback stepped out from the shadows. "You weren't in your place when I got back to it. Wondered where you'd got off to. So we came to get you." He pointed around himself, and Remus could see others lurking in the bushes, their eyes glinting in the mid-morning sunshine. "What could you be doing?"

"I thought they might have a map," Remus said, but not a single one of the others seemed to even consider this lie. "All right. I wanted to get the campers away. Are you more satisfied with that answer?"

"Satisfied that it's true, anyway," Greyback grunted. "I think you're not with us."

"Where else would I be? I have nowhere else to go."

"Should've kept that in mind," another low voice said from the bushes. "Before you started getting uppity."

The pack started to move in, but Greyback raised a hand. "Don't touch him," he said. "Lupin needs another month's lesson. Only I think the pups are better suited to give it to him."

In the back, there was surly grumbling, but no argument.

The men manhandled him back to the clearing where the werewolves were starting to gather, and they were none too gentle about it. By the time he got there, his hands and arms had been scraped badly on brambles, and when one of them shoved him forward, he lost his balance and fell, catching himself on his bloody palms.

Sweet ran over to him. "Remus! What happened?"

"Lessons," Greyback grumbled. "Do you need one, Sweets?"

She shook her head and ran back to the girls.

The gathering was long and tedious--none of the adults spoke to Remus, and the children seemed afraid to come close today. Alderman waited for Greyback's back to be turned and slipped Remus some of the meat that had been caught (he hadn't been allowed near it earlier), and Sweet jerked her chin defiantly to come over and try to dress his scratches (only to be pulled away by Mina, who gave a frightened-looking glance at Greyback), but that was his only contact with them. Greyback gave another speech about Voldemort, taking special care to extol the virtues of being allowed to hunt as they were intended to by nature. "Is it a fair decree that we aren't allowed to hunt or create more of our own kind? Who else do they force this on? No one! Of all the magical creatures of the world, only werewolves are forbidden to breed in our manner."

Sweet muttered something--she was close enough that Remus thought he caught the word "human"--but lied when Greyback demanded to know what she said, saying only that she thought it wasn't at all fair. She looked at her toes until it was time to leave with the women and girls, casting one worried glance back at Remus.

"Pups," Greyback said to the remaining boys, "Lupin will be with you again."

Blondin let out a cheer, but then noticed that Greyback wasn't smiling and lapsed into silence.

"Go on to the cave," Greyback said. "We'll be along shortly. Lupin is to have nothing to eat when he gets there."

Hamilton frowned heavily and Blondin balled his fists, but they gave no argument. They headed for the cave.

Greyback nodded to the other men, and then the world was fists and feet, and Remus was driven to his knees, his shirt pulled away from him. Greyback crouched in front of him, then grabbed him forward and drove his sharpened teeth into the flesh of Remus's shoulder. He pulled away, blood dripping from his mouth, and from the wound. It spilled down Remus's chest.

"Take him to the pups," Greyback said. "And don't let him wash up."
14 comments or Leave a comment
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: December 10th, 2005 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)
ouch. This is going to be a horrible night for Remus, but I can't help the impression that Greyback's miscalculating pretty badly here..
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. That old grandiose ego is making him not think particularly clearly about the dynamics of Lupin's position.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: December 10th, 2005 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Ew. Poor Remus!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Greyback's just gross sometimes.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: December 10th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
(I don't know why I call them "pups" instead of "cubs," except that "pups" was the word that came into my head.)

Maybe deep down inside, you're a "Puppy Shipper"? ;)

*Ducks tomatoes*

Anyway - poor Remus. I'm scared for him, not to mention amazed that he's willing to keep doing this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe deep down inside, you're a "Puppy Shipper"? ;)

Oh, yeah. That must be it. ;) (You know, even if I were into R/S, I don't think I could call Padfoot and Moony "puppies." I'd be very afraid of either one of them if they heard me try it.)
sreya From: sreya Date: December 10th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Blech. Seems like your inner horror writer is coming out to play more often with Shades.

This is what - October? It seems a little strange that Remus (or Remus's wolf, not sure which is really controlling this particular desire) is thinking about challenging the pack's Alpha at this point in the story, I'm not sure how you'll quite manage to keep him there all year with that already coming up. Unless he tries something and fails miserably, which I'm not looking forward to reading at all.

Oh, and I just realized it's an interesting parallel that both Remus and Tonks are spending a great deal of time in forests. *slaps forehead*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's late September. He's just thinking about it at the moment, and I think he's got a rude awakening coming, but I've got some other stuff planned for him.

Oh, and I just realized it's an interesting parallel that both Remus and Tonks are spending a great deal of time in forests. *slaps forehead*

Hmmmm. ;)
ella_menno From: ella_menno Date: December 10th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
*bites fingernails*

Ohhhhhhhhh, man.

(Is it wrong that amidst all the tension, a part of me just wants to fix Remus a sandwich? *g*)
speshalmoi From: speshalmoi Date: December 10th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another awesome section.
Gah. Greyback. *shiver* He is an extremely well written evil-guy.

"Greyback crouched in front of him, then grabbed him forward and drove his sharpened teeth into the flesh of Remus's shoulder. He pulled away, blood dripping from his mouth, and from the wound. It spilled down Remus's chest."
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: December 10th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Greyback in the anti-Dumbledore.

And if you don't have Greyback in Azkaban at the end of this, I will hunt you down.
caitie From: caitie Date: December 10th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter. I'm wondering if this is the segue into the Montgomery boy fiasco? Could we be so far already?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's not until March, but I'll tip my hand enough to say that it's on my mind.
_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: December 31st, 2005 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Remus :(
14 comments or Leave a comment