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Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 24: Interlude (6), Sweet Surrender, pt. 3
Ah, canon scenes! Always fun. And of course, always credit to Jo where actual canon dialogue and actions are used.

Remus is staying at the Burrow for Christmas. Dumbledore has given him a present of making it possible to someday teach legitimately in a Muggle school, by working out his academic credits and how they translate toward Muggle qualifications. He has also asked him to keep Harry off of Malfoy's trail if possible. Meanwhile, Fleur has taken the opportunity to mention Tonks as often as she can in Remus's presence, trying to provoke a response. This has gotten Remus broody as he sits by the fire, and as he's doing the brood thing, he overhears Harry start talking to Arthur about Malfoy.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"I know that you've never particularly cared for Malfoy, Harry..." Arthur was saying, and Remus turned his head just enough to see the tense set of Harry's shoulders.

Harry made a frustrated, hissing sort of sound. "You don't understand, Mr. Weasley," he said. "Malfoy... he... well, I saw him... he looks... well, he looks sick honestly. He's up to something big and he's not doing it very well, and he looks like he's just about at death's door."

"He may be ill, Harry. The family has lost quite a few of the things he's accustomed to, and it's been a harsh autumn."

"I heard him. He said he had an assignment from Voldemort." Arthur winced, but Harry didn't pause. "He said he wasn't trying to avoid his master. He said that he knew what he was going to do."

"He told you this?"

"No," Harry said, now sounding troubled. "He told Snape." He sighed. "And that's another thing. Snape was offering to help him. Snape's been trying to get him to his office all year, and he's angry because Malfoy won't tell him what he's doing, but he knows whatever it is he's supposed to do, and he knows that Malfoy's been taking Occlumency lessons from Bellatrix, and he..." Harry swallowed hard. "I think he might mean it. About helping. With whatever Malfoy is doing."

"Harry--"

"He said he made an Unbreakable Vow to Malfoy's mother. Why would he do that if he didn't mean to carry through?"

Remus felt a thin scree of ice begin to form a lacy border around his veins, and he pushed it away. Albus Dumbledore trusted Severus Snape, for whatever reason, just as he'd once trusted Remus... and still did. He knew where Harry was going with this. It was the same argument that had been all over the Prophet last year--Dumbledore's strange and foolhardy choices. Half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, unhinged and paranoid Mad-Eye Moody, and of course, the werewolf Remus Lupin.

But Dumbledore had fought for all of them, and he'd fought for Snape, and Remus knew from personal experience how fully that commanded loyalty. Severus had been as much an outcast as any dark creature, and Dumbledore had given him a place in the world. What Harry was suggesting... it simply wouldn't be possible.

Why not? Sirius commented dryly inside his skull. You could say that Greyback has given you a place in the world, and that's not stopping you from stealing his children and trying to bring him down.

Greyback wasn't Dumbledore. Greyback--

--takes great pride in reclaiming what he believes is his. Are you grateful for that?

Remus shook it off, wishing for the first time since Sirius's death that he would just go off someplace and be properly quiet.

Arthur seemed to be taking his time to answer Harry, which was probably wise. In the quiet, Celestina Warbeck sang something about her poor heart, and where it had gone. Lord, how Dora hated Celestina.

"Has it occurred to you, Harry," Arthur said at last, "that Snape was simply pretending--"

But Harry seemed impatient with this sort of logic. "Pretending to help, so that he could find out what Malfoy's up to? Yeah, I thought you'd say that." Harry shook his head, and Remus found himself irritated beyond the provocation, and wishing he were up in Bill's room, curled up with Dora's ridiculous book, and that there was no war going on, and that Harry would just learn to accept that not everyone he didn't like was evil. Harry was stubborn and naive about that. "But how do we know?" he asked.

Remus turned around. "It isn't our business to know," he said, more brusquely than he meant to. "It's Dumbledore's business. Dumbledore trusts Severus, and that ought to be good enough for all of us."

Harry looked at him, astounded. "But just say--just say Dumbledore's wrong about Snape--"

"People have said it, many times," Remus said, and did not add, Just as they said it about me--that would be nothing but pure manipulation, and Harry needed to understand the logic of the thing. "It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore's judgment. I do; therefore, I trust Severus."

"But Dumbledore can make mistakes. He says it himself. And you--do you honestly like Snape?"

("Oh, come on Moony--you're not saying you actually like the little slimeball?"

"It's just Snivellus. Come on... you're not going to tell on us, are you?"

"Nah, he'll just dock us points and tell McGonagall it's about copying homework..."

"Or jinxing Lily..."

"Or...")


"I neither like nor dislike Severus," Remus said firmly, banishing his friends' voices as he had never done when it counted. Harry looked horrified. Remus tried to smile. "No, Harry; I am speaking the truth. We shall never be bosom friends, perhaps; after all that happened between James and Sirius and Severus, there is too much bitterness there. But I do not forget that during the year I taught at Hogwarts, Severus made the Wolfsbane Potion for me every month, made it perfectly, so that I did not have to suffer as I usually do at the full moon." An image of the pretty forest ranger came into his mind, and of her torn body outside the cave. Yes... Severus Snape, whatever his faults, had given him one of the most valuable gifts anyone had ever given him.

"But he 'accidentally' let slip that you're a werewolf, so you had to leave!" Harry said, his voice hurt.

Remus was pulled in two directions. On the one hand, he was still annoyed at Harry's stubbornness. On the other, Harry's continued anger on this point--perfectly unfeigned and perfectly fresh--touched him, and he realized that it wouldn't have been manipulative at all to mention Dumbledore's trust in him... Harry wouldn't even be fazed. Remus was in the "loved-person" column, and therefore anything that attacked him was wrong, and it had nothing to do with trusting Dumbledore. It was Harry trusting his own instincts.

Which were the instincts of a sixteen-year-old boy, however much Voldemort had aged him in other ways. He read things on the surface.

"The news would have leaked out anyway," he said, and deflected another protest from Harry, who was utterly determined to hold on to James's hatred for Severus Snape. Somehow, Harry had blamed Snape for Sirius's death as well. He suggested that Harry tell Dumbledore what he'd heard--Dumbledore would certainly set him right about it. "It might," he suggested, "have been on Dumbledore's orders that Severus questioned Draco."

Harry stared down at his hands, looking frustrated, and Celestina Warbeck closed her show with a long, high-pitched note. Molly (and the entire audience at the broadcast) clapped wildly. Fleur started to express loud relief that it was over (sounding like Dora would undoubtedly have sounded when Molly wasn't two feet away), and Arthur interrupted her by urging an eggnog nightcap. He scurried off to the kitchen, and Bill (wisely) sent Fleur along with him to help. Remus turned back to the fire, his momentarily distracted mind trying to return to its previous uncomforable daydream--

"What have you been up to lately?"

Remus blinked, and realized that Harry had come closer and sat down on the floor near his chair. He was also looking into the fire, and his tone was warm, friendly, and open. Annoyance disappeared, and Remus loved him as fiercely as he had at the moment he'd entered the compartment on the Hogwarts Express three years ago, when Remus himself had listened to his cracking voice through feigned sleep, remembering the strained baby talk he'd last heard and...

He smiled. "Oh, I've been underground," he said. "Almost literally..."

Keeping his voice low, as he wasn't sure how much Molly wanted her own children to know, he told Harry about his assignment. Harry, of all people, had a need to know who was arrayed on Voldemort's side against him. And he wanted to know.

"Who's Greyback?" Harry asked casually when Remus mentioned the name.

Remus turned his head, surprised. His hands closed into fists. Why had no one warned Harry about Greyback? It was an important omission. "Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today," Remus said, struggling for words to explain it. He could hear himself becoming as distant as Binns. "Specializes in children..." Something like a fairy collector who liked to pin green-winged fairies up on his boards. Harry, unsurprisingly, looked uninvolved. Remus took a deep breath. "It was Greyback who bit me," he said.

At this, Harry came alive, and Remus again felt that connection between them, the one he had neglected, but which Harry still nurtured. "What?" he said. "When... when you were a kid, you mean?"

"Yes. My father had offended him." Remus explained Greyback's strategy as well as he could, trying not to express the self-disgust he'd felt when he'd learned the truth, or the sheer terror of the drag through the woods, the ground-plants tearing at his skin, the pain of spraining his ankle as he tried to stop himself, the vast relief when his parents followed him, hurt the monster who had taken him, and gathered him up in warm blankets, weeping, and... He had never known his father's offense--not fully, anyway--and Harry didn't ask. It didn't matter. With Greyback, it could have been anything at all. Harry's eyes grew wider.

"I cannot pretend that my particular brand of reasoned argument is making much headway against Greyback's insistence that we werewolves deserve blood," he went on, "that we ought to revenge ourselves on normal people."

"But you are normal! You've just got a--a problem--"

The indignation in Harry's voice pushed away the last of the cobwebs in Remus's mind, and he laughed. "Sometimes you remind me lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit."

Harry gave him another baffled look--Lord, he'd forgotten how very literally Harry tended to take everything, and it made him want to laugh again, and by the time Arthur arrived with glasses of eggnog, he hardly needed it, but he took it anyway.

Harry also took a glass, but Remus noticed that his eyebrows were drawn together and the right corner of his mouth was slightly pulled up, both signs that he had a question on his mind, so it was hardly surprising when one came out... though it was one that held no sense at all to Remus Lupin: "Have you ever heard of someone called the Half-Blood Prince?"

Harry explained that he'd found an old Potions book, with notes scribbled in the margin by someone calling himself the "Half-Blood Prince," including Levicorpus, a simple levitation spell that had gone through Remus's fifth year at Hogwarts like a particularly nasty cold. James had seen it somewhere and practiced it on everyone, and Sirius had picked it up soon enough, dangling Regulus above Hagrid's pumpkin patch. Remus had learned it as well, but he'd only used it once, on James, to prove he could. And because James had been talking at two-thirty in the morning before an early test--

"My dad used it," Harry said. "I saw him in the Pensieve, he used it on Snape."

Suddenly, the line of questioning made a great deal more sense. Remus swore--again--that he was going to find time to sit down with Harry and tell him as much as he could about James... including the fact that he had most certainly not covered a sixth-year potions book with handwritten spells. "James was a pureblood, Harry," he said quietly, "and I promise you, he never asked us to call him 'Prince.'"

Looking deflated, Harry compromised, wondering if it might have been Sirius, or even Remus himself, and Remus had to disabuse him of the notion. He himself had had been terrible at potions, Sirius hadn't cared enough about the subject--too much detail work--to become expert at it, and James had been, at best, competent. Lily had been quite good, but then, she wouldn't have been calling herself a "prince." Or a half-blood, for that matter. Remus suggested that Harry try to determine the age of the book to find out who his unseen mentor was, which left Harry looking distinctly nonplussed as well as vastly disappointed. Across the room, Fleur started to do a nasty mimicry of Celestina Warbeck--Remus thought he saw tears in Molly's eyes--and everyone took it as a sign to split up and go to bed. Harry wished him a happy Christmas, and followed Ron up to the attic.

"She's a child, Molly," Remus heard Arthur say gently as he slipped away.

He went down the corridor toward Bill's room, where he was staying, but he heard Bill's sharp voice coming from it, and paused with his hand hovering over the doorknob.

"Look, Mum loves that..."

"I'm sorry... I thought... well, she is... 'orrible."

"Of course she's horrible, but Fleur, please."

"I'm sorry," Fleur said again, sounding teary. "I deed not mean to..."

Bill sighed. "And what's this business with bringing up Tonks all the time? I thought the two of you had been getting along perfectly well lately. And in front of Lupin?"

"'E needs a shock," Fleur said, her voice very firm on this. "She geeves up too easily. And 'e is 'urting 'er. She eez too nice for 'im. 'E should be made uncomfortable."

"Don't you think if she wanted him uncomfortable, she would have come herself?"

"She should 'ave. But she loves 'im, so I weel 'ave to do it for 'er."

"Fleur..."

"I am not sorry for this, Bill. 'E deserves it."

Remus felt his face go hot, and went outside to cool off. By the time he came in, Fleur had gone up to Ginny's room and Bill was getting his pajamas from the bureau. "Sorry," he said. "I should have just brought them to the twins' room."

"It's quite all right," Remus said, not meeting his gaze.

He tried to sleep, but between the impending full moon and the ups and downs of the day, he couldn't. As Christmas Eve became Christmas morning, he got up and tried to read the book Dora had left for him. He couldn't concentrate on it. He hadn't even got her a Christmas present.

He lit a candle and pulled out his box of art supplies, and sharpened a charcoal stick. He spent the next three hours sketching Dora as the heroine of one of her beloved novels, standing on the shore of the Hogwarts lake, her hair and robes whipping in the wind. At the top of the page, in heavily curlicued letters, he wrote, Dora's Devotion. At the bottom, he wrote, "Her only flaw was in loving a fool who didn't deserve her... but loves her anyway." He charmed the water and wind to move, then used a Fixative Charm and rolled it up. He tied it with a bit of ribbon scrounged from a package he found outside his door, and tied it to Errol's foot. "Take it to Nymphadora Tonks," he said. "She's probably in London."

Errol flew off as Remus heard Molly shuffle down the stairs to start Christmas breakfast.
23 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: May 18th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent re-handling of one of my favorite HBP canon scenes. *sigh* Harry and Lupin need to sit down and have some proper discussions.

And the present for Dora? That is sweet beyond words. *melts*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry and Lupin need to sit down and have some proper discussions.

Yeah, I'd actually hoped they'd get a chance to do that in HBP. Sigh. Hopefully, they'll still have a chance.
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: May 18th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
first of all, absolutely gorgeous ending. Loved the Harry and Remus interaction, and Sirius' voice in Remus' head. Can't wait to see how Dora takes this =)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can't wait to see how Dora takes this =)

Me, either--it wasn't in the plan!
roga From: roga Date: May 18th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Like previous commenters said, wonderful Remus-Harry interaction, and I can't wait for the next part, with their Patronus conversation (and hopefully Remus punching Scrimgeour in the face? *g*)

By the way, love your characterization of Fleur. One of the best, truest I've seen. She's a Tri Champion here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
(and hopefully Remus punching Scrimgeour in the face? *g*)

Alas, I suspect Harry would have mentioned that if it had happened. More's the pity, right?
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 18th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow, things are getting better and better.

I, as always, enjoy the way you have of weaving in things that seem to explain some of the questions I have had in mind about some scenes in canon. I love the way you show Dumbledore pressing his advantage when he feels it is needed to get someone to do something that would other wise seem underhanded. I like that he meets with Remus to "urge him" not "tell him" to help dissuade Harry from his certainty that Draco is up to something and how even the great Dumbledore is not beyond using the "don't forget what I have done for you card".

I think the use of all the voices in Remus' head enriched the scenes tremendously. I sometimes speak of this kind of inner voice to my friends and I like how you show it as a sometimes unstoppable internal commentary. It is also good to hear Remus' inner commentary about Harry's superficial view of Snape who is as always in Harry's mind up to no good.

I am also enjoying the way you are bringing the Fleur and Tonks relationship around to the sisterhood of the outsiders watching out for each other. Getting Fleur into her big sister protective posture for Tonks gives her the depth that shows us why Bill would fall for Fleur. And this also helps to work us up to the moment in the hospital wing that is yet to come.

I am glad you are having Dumbledore go above and beyond, as I think we all feel he would do, and get things rolling for Remus. This is something I was thinking while Remus was contemplating having to give up the life he was living back in "Shifts". I was thinking that since it seems Remus has not already taught in the Muggle world that maybe this would be a way of opening him up to the idea. In his own sneaky way Dumbledore has pushed Remus back toward his old life by his gift. Giving Remus the entrance (and a reminder) into the life he could actually have, a life like the one he was leading in "Shifts". I think this is a wonderful way of coming back to elements that you brought up in "Shifts"...Is this where Dumbledore was going in his "ornate set of robes" with the leaf pattern? (Chapter 30 Shifts)

I also adored you initial introduction of Remus as an Artist at heart. His ways of sitting back and observing have always seemed as if he was sitting back and maybe sketching even if it was only with his mind. This type of art is also something one of little means can do with out worrying so much about what it is costing. That you bring it back here and have him give Dora literally a gift from the heart is an extraordinary use of an addition that enhances the character we already love!

I look forward as always to your updates. Thanks again for your excellent writing.

Katsulas
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow, things are getting better and better.

Thanks for the nice, long comment!

I think Dumbledore owes Remus something for sending him to Greyback, and I think Dumbledore would know that. Also, I just hate Remus not having any hope of being back in a classroom. It's not fair!

Is this where Dumbledore was going in his "ornate set of robes" with the leaf pattern?

Actually, that was for a scene I ultimately cut, where Dumbledore met with Queen Elizabeth (following the old Order of Merlin, where the monarch and the wizard have a direct relationship outside of the Ministerial one), but I thought that might be pushing it. ;) Besides, I don't personally know Her Majesty, so I don't know how she'd behave in such a scenario.
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: May 18th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
That was a particularly excellent and touching section. The portrayal of the connection and affection between Remus and Harry was terrific, Fleur continues to be great, and the Christmas present was a wonderful touch. I could imagine Tonks would be in floods of tears when she receives it. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the relationship between Remus and Harry. I've missed it since PoA, though given the survival rate of Harry's caretakers, maybe I shouldn't be hoping for them to get any closer until after the war...
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 18th, 2006 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw. Cute.

I liked how Sirius kept coming back into Remus's head. Poor Remus and Tonks... they just need to sit down and talk.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
They really, really do, don't they?
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 18th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh!

I forget to ask - is the title, by any chance, from the song "Sweet Surrender" by Sarah Mclachlan?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh!

More to Sweet Surrender by John Denver, though it's more a question of looking for something involving the word "Sweet." It doesn't have much to do with the song.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: May 20th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh!

ooooh, something's going to happen to Sweet??

(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 18th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed Sirius's intrusion into Remus's thoughts - it seemed appropriate. And we were all cheated out of having enough time with Sirius.

I can just imagine Harry reporting that conversation to Sirius instead of to Remus and Arthur. I don't think Snape would have had to worry about the Unbreakable Vow killing him.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 19th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can just imagine Harry reporting that conversation to Sirius instead of to Remus and Arthur. I don't think Snape would have had to worry about the Unbreakable Vow killing him.

I am putting that in my Quote Book!
hymnia From: hymnia Date: May 18th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
This section was especially good! I like the thoughts you've put in Remus's head during the canon conversation--they ring true, I think. I also love the gift he made for Dora. It made me tear up a bit.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 19th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)

HP canon and Fern's writing -- a nearly perfect match!

Have little to add to the praise surrounding the Harry/Remus interaction. I wonder if Rowling herself misses it as much as some readers do. But I also liked the snatch of Bill/Fleur conversation that Remus overheard. It's nice to see that Bill isn't so totally in love that Fleur can do no wrong in his eyes: her rudeness over Molly's taste in music did deserve a smackdown. And Remus's gift to Dora is sure to melt her heart, even though he may have intended the opposite effect.

I hope you'll be tackling Christmas dinner at the Burrow too.
_pinkchocolate From: _pinkchocolate Date: June 18th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah...*mutters* I might have teared up once or twice while reading that. As everyone else has said, I loved the Remus/Harry interaction, and you did a fabulous job rewriting canon.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 4th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the nice things about your fics is that you stick so close to cannon they can be a bit insightful. Reading Remus' thoughts while listening to Harry, and thinking about how badly wrong all of the adults were not just in HBP but in the previous books as well. I had to wonder if JKR really was trying to lay the ground work of Harry taking the lead by ... well I don't want to say destroying his trust in all the adults around him. But, lets say realizing that he should take his own counsel first.

Killing SIrius and Dumbledor eventually was a forgonconclusion for me after GoF for this same sort of reason. Harry cannot be the hero if he has someon he he can depend on to make it all better. But, this is just an extension of that. Though I think Remus is the right mix of frend and mentor that he will not be the fall back to guy, just someon who is a bit wise and cares. I think Remus will be in the last book a lot.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 4th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
that was me oops
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: March 31st, 2008 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
congratulations. You have reduced me to a puddle of squealing girly-ness with that gift Remus gave Dora.
23 comments or Leave a comment