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Shifts, Chapter 2, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 2, part 3
Shifts... ah, finally. Fiction writing.

Table of Contents and Summary

We last left Dora and our middle-aged Lost Boys in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, making up a life history for "Raymond and Dora Lewis." Remus was leaving it to Sirius and Tonks.

PS: Yes, Tonks is doing that ultra-demonstrative thing that I complained about in my last post, but this chick... not a great concept of boundaries. I do like her a lot, despite that.




Remus wasn't entirely sure how long they talked. It was long past midnight by the time Dora left; he knew that much because it was just before midnight when Dora abruptly ran out into the Muggle neighborhood around Grimmauld Place, and just after midnight when she came back, triumphantly waving a colorful cardboard carton that fit in one small hand. "I knew I'd heard of these!" she said.

"Yes, cardboard cartons are becoming all the rage," Remus said. "I understand you can obtain larger ones, if you know the right people."

She stuck her tongue out and turned the carton around. There was a plastic lens in it. "It's a camera," she said. "We use it once, get the pictures developed in the Muggle way, and Bob's your uncle: our adorable little life together, to put up in your office. I can morph different ages, and we'll charm you right up to match. Take them in one of the slightly cleaner rooms, I think..."

Ultimately, they'd found seven parts of the house that weren't too obviously strange, and Sirius had taken at least a dozen posed pictures of them at various "ages." Remus was getting tired, and he suspected that Dora was as well--neither of them had gotten any sleep--but Sirius was having too much fun to call it off, and it was largely harmless.

They took a break from posing when Remus's watch told him that it was nearly two o'clock in the morning. Dora went upstairs to the room Hermione and Ginny had shared this summer to change into another costume, and Remus laid his head down on the table (on an open book he was pretending to read) while Sirius impatiently scoured the house for new locations. After awhile, he felt a warm hand on his neck.

"Tired?" Dora asked.

He lifted his head. "Sorry. Drifted off."

"I'm about there myself," she said. "But I'll do an ennervating charm before work. It's too good to see him enjoying himself."

"Yes, I know."

She rested her elbows on his shoulders and leaned over. "What's the book?"

"I have no idea."

She laughed and kissed his temple, stretching her arms toward the table cat-wise and rotating her wrists. She often did this when she'd been morphing a lot, and Remus wondered if it made her joints ache, as his did after--

Click.

They looked up.

Sirius was standing in front of the fireplace, grinning, rolling the film forward with one hand. He held the camera up casually and snapped another picture. "Back to work!" he said, and herded them into another room.

It had to have been another hour before Sirius announced--in a terribly disappointed tone--that he'd reached the end of the film. Dora took the camera and promised to have it developed, and to show the pictures to Sirius. She suggested that she could get him a better camera, and he could take pictures of the Order, or of the house, or of Harry, or of anything he liked, but his earlier sullenness had begun to creep back when she'd mentioned that it was time to go home, and he shrugged off the offer.

In the end, Remus estimated that he got less than three hours of sleep before he had to leave for Smeltings in the morning. He'd set up a safe Apparition point in a wooded grove, but it was nearly a mile from the school, and he had to walk it. He dragged through his morning classes, feeling guilty at being unable to give them his full attention--he tried, but his mind kept drifting--and napped through his free period. He supposed it would be like this on Monday as well, after the moon. Maybe he would try one of Dora's ennervating charms.

She came at his lunch hour, looking nearly as worn out as he was, and gave him his Potion without much banter. "Dropped the photos off," she said. "I ordered them to come quickly so..." She yawned. "So we'd have them. And Sir... James can make a little frame for each one out of splinters he pulls off the kitchen table while he's bored. He's getting quite the collection."

The Wolfsbane Potion, which contained a mild Calming Draught at this stage of the dosing, did not help matters. Little Daniel Morse caught him halfway across the grounds, and Remus found himself utterly unable to follow what the child was saying, right up until he said, "Mr. Lewis? Are you all right?"

Remus realized that he was starting to nod off standing up. "I'm sorry, Daniel," he said. "I'm a bit tired."

"You're not sick? Mr. Levinson got sick last year, and it started with him being tired all the time, and--"

"I'm not ill. Just tired." He smiled. "Why don't you come to my office tomorrow during my free period? We can talk about this then."

Daniel nodded. "You're sure you're all right?"

"Yes, quite."

Daniel bit his lip.

"Really, I'm fine. You should go on to your next class."

"All right..." Daniel headed off across the grounds, casting melodramatically worried glances behind him all the way into the main academic building.

All Remus wanted was to get to his office and gather his things to head home, but as he made his way down the path to the administrative building, where his office was located, he passed the gymnasium. Piers Polkiss was sitting on the stairs with several of his friends--not including Dudley--and they glared at him. Remus sighed.

"Big D doesn't trust him," Piers said loudly, either deliberately letting Remus hear him or too dim to realize that sound carried. "Says he's hiding something."

"What?" one of the others asked.

Remus glanced over his shoulder. Piers had his head cocked to one side, trying to look wise and knowing. "I don't rightly know. Big D won't say. But if you ask me, he's got an idea. Dead set on finding something anyway."

Remus moved along before the boys became suspicious. But he wasn't entirely surprised to find Dudley Dursley trying to pick the lock on his office door when he got back.
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Comments
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: May 27th, 2004 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
*le sigh* More. Now. Not enough people write Remus as well as you do, and by golly, I need more.

I also need sleep, but that's besides the point. This was just lovely. My heart totally went out to Sirius while he was snapping those photos....

Question, though: "And Sir... James can make a little frame for each one out of splinters he pulls off the kitchen table while he's bored." What's that little "Sir... James" about? There's got to be something that's flying right over my head.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2004 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Earlier, they decided that "Sirius" wasn't a Muggle-appropriate name for use in the office, and decided to call him 'James' instead. Tonks, being tired, almost forgot.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: May 27th, 2004 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
See? Right over my head. That's what happens when I don't read a fic for a few days -- I forget stuff.

*selfthwap*
dipsas From: dipsas Date: May 27th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Time to delurk. I've followed Shifts from the beginning and you make my day every time. I think what gets me is that you bring out little gem-like moments of everyday life so well (the hints of upcoming R/T are superb, of course), but never allow us, or your characters, to forget that this all takes place in the shadows of war. And I'm much looking forward to finding out what really has happened to Dudley. The characterization of him is spot-on, I think, keeping most of his reasoning from his gang but still having to vent his suspicions to them. All in all, it's brilliant!
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: May 27th, 2004 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Loving the gentle Remus sarcasm. Absolutely right IMO.

Have I told you I really love this story? Only about 50 times? Oh, fair enough :)
From: pandora_hyde Date: May 27th, 2004 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

another lovely installment

I really am *not* the fangirl type (being about twenty years too old for the girl bit, at least) but I do look forward to your installments, Fern! In fact, after reading your LJ yesterday mentioning a forthcoming Shifts, I was quite eager to check your site this morning.

Once again, you've captured the characterizations of the three to perfection. Each one's activities are so will within the scope of their canon characters, that I almost do forget I'm not reading JKR. I'll admit that the Dora bit does throw me. To me she should be Tonks or, perhaps, Remus thinks of her as "Nymphadora" (from canon). I realize, though, in the Shifts-world that Dora and Remus have a rather long history and she's been Dora to him since she was a small girl. It still feels a bit 'jarring' tho, if you know wot I mean.

May I say that the bits aren't long enough. :) *grinning* Oh, that is terribly ungrateful of me. Well done you!

~Pan
matril From: matril Date: May 27th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
So what's Dudley up to now? I am very curious to see what you're doing with him. I think it's worthwhile exploring what's going on with Harry's cousin, and all the Dursleys, for that matter - they're highly unlikable characters, of course, but they're still very important and can't be ignored. I like the idea that the Order would recognize that and put Lupin somewhere that he can keep an eye on Dudley.

And once more, your characterizations of Tonks, Lupin and Sirius are very convincing. I love Lupin's quip about cardboard boxes. :)
wm_law2003 From: wm_law2003 Date: May 27th, 2004 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
*sigh* I love the way you write Remus and Tonks, and Sirius too.
maidenjedi From: maidenjedi Date: May 27th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
:::contented sigh:::

This really brightened my day, Fern. Thank you so much for sharing it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 27th, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

from Sreya

Hey, the boy is smarter than he looks! I'm really enjoying the glimpses of Dudley we've had so far. Makes me really think about the effect everything has had on him. Not that it makes me /like/ the boy -- he's a bully through and through -- but he's certainly got it rough in some ways, being forced to keep quiet about Harry while at the same time his head is filled by his parents with how awful and freakish his cousin is. And Hagrid and the twins certainly didn't help matters. ;) No wonder the kid's got problems.

Loved the bit with the camera, too. It was a nice touch, with the morphing and charms to put together a series of photographs of the two of them. Loved seeing Sirius enjoy himself with the camera, too, it's just the sort of activity I can see him being excited about!
From: cadenza622 Date: May 27th, 2004 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
As other people are delurking, I thought I ought to as well - it feels rude reading someone's journal without telling them. Well, I found a link to your journal at SugarQuill and I've been checking (too often!) for updates of Shifts. It's a really interesting idea, and I love seeing Lupin teaching again. I love the relationship between Lupin and Tonks (umm, closet R/T shipper here) and I love your Sirius - you caught the mood swings he must have been going through really well. Okay, I've gushed long enough, I'll leave a better thought-through comment after another installment.

Oh, and is it all right if I friend you?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love friends, and thank you! Sirius is a character I didn't expect to like writing--he's not among my book faves--but I do. He has a really clear "voice" in my head, and that always makes the writing fun. (This happened to me with Obi-Wan in SW, too.)
readerravenclaw From: readerravenclaw Date: May 27th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
As always, wonderful writing that leaves me waiting impatiently for more. I love the direction you're taking with Dudley, and I also love the interactions between Remus and Tonks. Very well done. (Though I was somewhat surprised that Remus didn't seem startled when Tonks puts "a warm hand on his neck" or when she kisses his temple. I wasn't surprised at the fact that Tonks did it - that's exactly like her - but I would expect Remus to feel somewhat uncomfortable, or have some reaction. (Or have they been touching each other so much for the photographs that he's become a bit desensitized? If that's the case, you might want to add that in somewhere, just with a small referance....)

One suggestion: "Sir...James" is definitely a bit jarring. I realized what it was talking about within a few seconds, but I read "sir" automatically as, well, "Sir" - and since that sounds totally different than the beginning of Sirius, I took me a few seconds to figure it out. Instead of writing "sir" I would suggest writing either "si" or "siri" - I just think it would be less confusing, since neither are an actual word that might be taken as actually meaning Sir, since it's paired with a name.

Again, I really enjoyed this latest installment, and am very eagerly looking forward to more!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2004 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I'm going to pull out the fake name for Sirius altogether. I almost forgot about it, which isn't a good sign.

On the hand and the kiss, the fact that in a very sleepy state--she just woke him up--he doesn't notice anything at all odd about her behavior and just takes it as a matter of course is going to come into play. When those pictures get developed. Delayed Remus freak-out. :) But yes, I'm aware that in an unaltered state of consciousness, Remus would be acutely uncomfortable with the intimacy, so it is going to be addressed.
readerravenclaw From: readerravenclaw Date: May 28th, 2004 07:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Well then, I'm looking forward to the delayed Remus freak-out! :)
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