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Shades, Chapter 28: Interlude (7): Dreams, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shades, Chapter 28: Interlude (7): Dreams, pt. 1
Well, since Remus's life is in a different shape, I'm going to alter the structure of the interlude a little bit, and let it cover more time. It was a difficult decision, so I flipped a coin.

Anyway, Remus is back from Greyback's pack and living in the Shrieking Shack. As far as Greyback knows, he killed Sweet (Vivian). Tonks has to make connections to the pack, particularly Alderman, to work on freeing the pups. To this end, she met Father Montgomery, and the two of them used bringing charity as an excuse to go into the forest, where Alderman met them. Alderman revealed that Sweet has spoken to him in a dream, and that the other pups are more restless than is healthy for them with Greyback's rule. Tonks and Montgomery set up a way for Alderman to send a message, then Tonks returns to Hogsmeade.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




After Dora left, Remus had wandered around the house at loose ends. There was work to be done, but none of it seemed engaging. The transformation center he'd made in the basement had held surprisingly well. The only difficult part of it had been finding a way to view the moon, and in the end, even that hadn't been terribly hard to solve--he'd just dug the wall out about five feet and made an Unbreakable window on the ground in the back garden, then scavenged boards to finish the walls and prevent himself from digging. It as tighter and dryer than most of the shacks he'd transformed in last year, in the Ministry's strange little network, and it was certainly more comfortable than the forest.

Lonelier. Duller. But certainly more comfortable.

All of the damage he and Vivian had done to the house in December had been repaired, and he'd moved on to the older injuries. He wasn't doing it as an act of some kind of symbolic atonement, as Dora had, but simply because he was bored out of his mind. He imagined that Sirius would understand.

He'd finally taken to napping in the afternoons, to pass them away--a habit he'd striven desperately to hide from Dora, though he didn't really know why.

Bah, Sirius said in his head, you know perfectly well why. Afternoon napping is for infirm old men, not dashing ones. Can't have her actually start to think you're old.

"Oh, be quiet," Remus muttered aloud. He didn't expect Dora back really--she had to work tomorrow, and she'd been leaving much earlier lately in order to get ready--so he went up to the main bedroom on the second floor and buried himself in blankets and pillows. It was strange to sleep here, with Dora's things still in the nightstand, but it was also distinctly comfortable, and he relished having a bed again.

He heard a plaintive mew and threw back the covers to look down at the floor. Granny was looking up at him imploringly. It had been damp, and her poor old hips weren't up to jumping around. Remus reached down and picked her up, planting her at the foot of the bed, where she stayed for approximately ten seconds before padding up toward the head and draping herself across Remus's wrist, which was resting on his chest. He drifted off petting her with his other hand, and then she was leading him through a field of wildflowers. They were both young--Granny was a kitten, and when Remus looked down at his hands, he saw the smooth, translucent skin of childhood. Granny pounced delightedly at a passing butterfly.

"Oh, let the butterflies alone," he said, and then laughed at his own high, piping voice. He glanced up the hill, then stopped. There was an old house there, and it had peeling yellow paint. He could see an upstairs window open. A green curtain fluttered out of it, and then the sky darkened quickly, turning to twilight. Wind blew the flowers around him, and his adult mind screamed at the child he was to wake up immediately, but he didn't. He picked Granny up and tucked her against him, knowing she would never be safe there but unable to think of anything else to do.

The door of the house opened and a tall, thin woman came out. "Remus!" she called somewhere far away. "Remus, come inside right now!"

Remus tried to make his child self move toward the voice, but instead, he turned the other direction. He could feel a mischievous smile on his face. He hadn't heard Mummy calling because...

...because there is a treasure, he buried it and made spells over it with a stick of birchwood, and he can only dig it up under the full moon, or horrible curses will befall him. It is the great Garnet of Greenland--really, a plastic button from Mummy's sewing kit, but it looked like a great garnet--and if he didn't retrieve it, a usurper would become King of Greenland and...

"Stop," Remus made himself mutter, but of course there was no stopping the dream, because it wasn't a dream.

His father's voice: "Remus! Come in now! REMUS!"

And then the scream.

Remus never knew which of his parents had screamed, but the fantasy had fallen away, and he'd realized he was far from the house.

And then he looked up.

The moon had risen.

There was another scream, a scream of pain and triumph from the edge of the woods beyond the field, and then the nightmare leapt from the shadows, and Mummy and Daddy could never have caught him in time. He looked down and saw the Granny-kitten digging into his skin, but of course she wasn't there, and he couldn't feel it. There were spells flying. One tugged at him, and he thought later that they must have tried Summoning Spells on him in their desperation, even though they didn't work well on living creatures.

The wolf flew over him, landing between him and his parents, and this time it was definitely Mummy who screamed. Daddy was bellowing threats.

It didn't matter.

The wolf turned on him, growling, and Remus did the only thing he could think of. He ran. The forest was the only direction to go, and he went that way, but as he ran he saw another pair of eyes, and another. They were waiting for him there.

He darted to one side and went sprawling into the field. Granny went flying. She looked him wide-eyed and hissed, and then the wolf was on him, teeth clenched around his lower arm, breaking the bone in one horrible crunching sound, spilling his blood.

He was being dragged now, dragged through the flowers, leaving a stripe of blood on the grass, the full moon staring down at him, and Mummy and Daddy rushing after him. He made a grab to slow himself down and something bit him again, and scratched his hand and--

He awoke with a gasp.

Granny was standing up now, her claws digging into his chest, one paw raised from swiping at his upraised hand. Blood seeped from his fingers and pooled around the lines of the oldest scar on his forearm.

"Gran!"

He looked up.

Dora was standing in the doorway, looking cross. She picked up the cat. "Granny you know better than to--"

"It's all right," Remus said.

"No, it's--"

"It's all right. I was having a nightmare. I probably hurt her. And I'm glad she woke me up." Suddenly, he realized to whom he was speaking, and he felt the blush creep up in his face. "I, er... well, I didn't..."

She gave him a confused look; he supposed she wouldn't understand if he tried to explain away the sleeping.

"Never mind," he said.

She nodded. "I spoke to Alderman," she said. "I don't suppose it was Vivian you were dreaming about?"

"Sweet? No. Of course not. Why would you ask such a thing?"

Another confused look. "Alderman says that she managed to communicate with him in a dream. A new trick she's learnt, apparently. Can we talk downstairs?"

"I... well... yes, of course. Give me a minute."

She disappeared.

Remus took a deep breath, then rubbed his face rapidly with his hands to try and wake himself up. He hadn't dreamed about the attack that thoroughly for a very long time. Why now? Why...

He sat up straight.

There had been other werewolves in the woods.

In all his thought about that night, all the nightmares he'd originally had, he'd forgotten why he'd turned aside. Why he wasn't already in the forest when Greyback had bitten him.

Greyback had his pack with him, even then.

What difference does that make?

Remus wasn't sure. But something about it seemed important. How had he got away from all of them? How had Mum and Dad?

He got up, and headed downstairs to Dora.

She was puttering around in the kitchen, looking for plates for some re-heated take-away she'd brought earlier in the week. Remus took them from a cupboard he'd moved them to and set them on the table. Dora thanked him with a distracted nod, then dished out the food.

"How is Alderman?" Remus asked.

"I don't know how he normally is, but he seemed healthy. Remus, we need to do this soon."

"What's happening?"

"The Blondin boy is apparently defying Greyback pretty regularly, and all of them are muttering."

Remus closed his eyes. Greyback wouldn't much like that. "Alderman?"

"Is doing his best to keep them in line. But I need to go back once before we do this. I need to do a spell to open the gate to them. Alderman will leave a message when it's possible, but that means we might have to put off getting them through until the March full moon."

Remus looked across at her. "What is it, Dora? Why are you...?" He pointed at her tense shoulders and thin lips.

She frowned deeply at him. "Remus, are you sick? I've been in here half a dozen times and found you sleeping in the middle of the day. Are you sick and not telling me, and--"

He laughed, then reached across the table and took her hand. "I'm not sick. I'm just a vain and foolish man. And a bored one. I'm sorry to worry you."

It didn't seem to ease her mind very much. "You're not going to make some mad bid for freedom, are you? Go stand in the rain at my parents' house, or pick a fight with Aunt Bella?"

"I think you have me mixed up with someone else," Remus said, as gently as he could, then shook his head. "But if you can find something for me to do all day, I would be greatly obliged. One more nap like that, and I may never sleep again."
13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: July 9th, 2006 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
*hugs Remus*

this is your second time writing his biting, isn't it? This one's as painful as the last...

Greyback already had a pack....well it makes Greyback pretty old, I suppose, but we more or less knew that. Is this gonna be a good revelation or a bad? I'd this stage I'm hoping for good... it's not about Greyback, it's about Remus - is it? Because Remus was able to get away...and protect his parents? That doesn't sound especially likely. OK, I'm stumped for now.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
this is your second time writing his biting, isn't it? This one's as painful as the last...

Yeah. I wrote a whole long story that got obsoleted. Feh. ;) I've been working up to re-imagining it, and it seemed as good a time as any for it.

it's not about Greyback, it's about Remus - is it? Because Remus was able to get away...

Yup. There's definitely something that he needs to remember, but it's not in this section, because he wasn't paying attention. His parents were probably a little out of their minds at the time, and didn't notice, either.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 9th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
that was beautiful and disturbing and mysterious. what does it mean? why didn't they hurt remus? and what's with the naps.

the other werewolves in the woods. t hre realizationof it. all very, very disturbing.

i can't wait to find out more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
The naps are mostly just complete boredom, plus happiness at having a bed to sleep in again, which is why Dora didn't pay any attention to them until she realized he was about to try and hide them from her. ;)
buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: July 9th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have been out of the loop for a bit, but I enjoyed having lots of Shades to come back to.

I like having some more Remus POV on events, and I can't wait to see what is significant about the dream.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Welcome back. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 9th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, wittle Wemus is a wittle scared what Dowa will think if she catches him napping.

Glad Sirius was there to point out to him exactly why that mattered. I also loved Dora 1) having known all along he was napping, and 2) not having a clue why this would bother Remus. Not that vanity, as such, is normally a Remus-issue. I think he does have a certain pride in his martyrdom. Well, pride may be the wrong word. It's more that a lot of his self-esteem is tied up in how well he copes with the problems of being a werewolf without burdening others. It's just that sometimes - quite frequently in year six - he gets into shooting himself in the foot and also manages to redefine "healthy relationships" and "maintaining ties with others" as "burdening" them (maybe even as "mercilessly exploiting them and using them up for his own, selfish benefit").

As to the werewolves, what we've seen of Greyback's attacks with the pack implies he couldn't have been the one holding them back. While it's possible he was working for Voldemort at this point and had been provided with some kind of magic to hold them back, I don't think that fits with his attack style. It also would have been much easier and less risky to leave them behind if he only meant to try and turn Remus.

So, I'm guessing he meant to lead in the pack and attack Remus. The pack, at this point, probably didn't have any "cubs" but was made up of other disenfranchised werewolves Greyback had recruited.

That means he tried to lure Remus there to kill him.

I can't remember the exact part in the story and may have it wrong, but I got the impression the reason why Greyback had a higher than usual interest in Remus wasn't just because he was the one who "got away" but because he was the FIRST child Greyback tried to turn and recruit.

What if that was chance? What if he meant to kill - and eat - Remus? But something stopped the pack, although Greyback could get through it. Afterwards, Greyback saw the appeal of changing and taking kids as revenge (and because of his own sicko enjoyment of having them around).

If that's so, I expect Remus to initially feel huge guilt at being that turning point in Greyback's career. However, I think Greyback was likely to pick the same targets regardless. The difference is that this was when he saw the advantages of keeping the kids alive rather than killing them.

In purely practical terms, it may have also limited his attacks. Minimal as the resources provided for the cubs are, they were still a limiting factor on how many he could take and incorporate into the group.

If this is right, hopefully Remus will realize he doesn't have anything extra to feel guilty about. Eventually.

But, that still begs the question of what held the other werewolves back. It wouldn't have been Greyback. I don't see it being a wizard Greyback was working with. I can't see child Remus pulling it off. If his parents knew how to hold off a pack of werewolves, you think they'd have passed that information along, so rule them out.

The best guess I have is that there was some kind of protection either Remus or his parents weren't fully aware of but that they were linked to. Greyback who, from what you've said, had tried to befriend Remus earlier to lure him out on the full moon, was either able to get past it because he had already passed it in human form or (more likely, I think) because he had been recognized as a friend by one of the people linked to that protection.

And, what's been done before can be done again.

Might Vivian be learning something about this kind of magic? Might the Lady already have a good grasp of it? We know that, when the Death Eaters hit Hogwarts, Greyback, who is the cowardly sort at heart who prefers to attack small, lone targets when he goes after them by himself, doesn't - or can't - bring any members of the pack with him.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
and also manages to redefine "healthy relationships" and "maintaining ties with others" as "burdening" them (maybe even as "mercilessly exploiting them and using them up for his own, selfish benefit").

Heh, yeah, that sums it up quite well. Sometimes, you just want to take him and shake him. I'm very glad Tonks canonically does just that for us.

And, what's been done before can be done again.

Or attempted again, at any rate...
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 10th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus's nightmare was chilling. I was really afraid that he was going to wake up already transformed and harm Granny. I'm glad it didn't happen.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Me too. That would really put a strain on things with Dora. "Uh, sorry--had a nightmare and killed your cat." I think he's probably afraid that the poor old thing will die of old age under his care for that reason.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 10th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not at all. Welcome. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 10th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nitpick: It as tighter and dryer than most of the shacks he'd transformed in last year I think it should read "was".

In this installment you have once again demonstrated your prowess at describing dream sequences. I can't wait to see what comes out of those revelations.

tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: July 13th, 2006 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, still reading and enjoying though I think it's been a while since I commented. I always like the way you do dreams; I don't yet understand what's important about these ones but I guess if I did they wouldn't be dreams, they'd be some other kind of vision, so. And I found the last couple lines, with Dora showing how out of her mind with worry she's gone and Remus still being gentle and self-depracating, and with the reminder of who and how much they've both lost, especially powerful.
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