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Batch 12: Canon Era (3) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 12: Canon Era (3)
All Remus, all the time. :D

In DH, when Ron comes back, he tells the other's that Remus and Tonks are back together. I've always thought that Remus and Ron must have seen one another while Ron was hiding out at Bill and Fleur's - and they had some kind of discussion about running out on people you love, and forgiveness, and Harry's irrational temper. Could you give us your take on that interaction? for Anon

[Well, the text says that Bill told him about Remus and Tonks, which implies that he didn't see him, but I can work around that. ;p]

Ron Weasley didn't want to see anyone at all.

No--that wasn't true. He wanted to see Harry and Hermione, even if it was just long enough for them to curse him to the other side of the earth, just so he'd know they were all right.

But he didn't want to see anyone else. They'd say the right things, probably, but it would be in their eyes. It was in Bill and Fleur's eyes. The look. The look that said, "I'm disgusted to be in the room with you, you traitor. I can't stand that we breathe the same air."

Bill tried to talk to him, to pretend like he wasn't ashamed to be anywhere near him, but Ron knew better. Bill had stuck with it through everything, even Greyback. Ron had run out on Harry over a few hunger pangs, and a bit of frustration. Who wouldn't be disgusted by him?

Fleur, at least, seemed to understand that he didn't want to see anyone. She'd given him the radio, and told him about Potterwatch two weeks ago. It was a way to hear voices without seeing the accusations in people's eyes, and maybe he could hear something about Harry and Hermione.

He recognized nearly everyone's voice, of course. Lee ran things, and was right good at it. The twins were in and out whenever they could be. Kingsley had spies in the Ministry whose news he passed on. Mum often passed on household defense spells, and Dad had been on yesterday with a plea to protect any Muggles who were unknowingly in harm's way. Today, Bill was out of the house and Fleur was pacing nervously in the garden below, chewing on her lip, so Ron was not surprised when "Rambler" took to the airwaves. His job seemed to be to talk about protecting one's gold.

"I know it seems like the last thing on your mind," he said. "Your family, your friends... they're first, and they should be. But you can't live long without any resources, and think about it--do you really want your gold at the disposal of our friends in masks?"

Ron had no gold, and didn't understand most of what Bill was saying. He seemed to have a network of under-the-radar blood traitors who could be trusted to take people's Gringotts keys and empty vaults, but warned that the same ones couldn't be used too often. All of this was couched in code that Ron supposed everyone else understood.

At the end of it, Bill said, "There's something else I'd like to talk about, River, if you don't mind."

Lee sighed and said, "Talk as you like, we seem safe tonight. But don't forget--sudden cut-offs are possible. Listeners, if we disappear, remember us tomorrow, just where we were on our first visit with you, when you were curled up with your favorite tabby cat." This might not have made sense when Ron had first listened, but now he knew that Lee meant to broadcast tomorrow on whatever frequency he'd started at, and the code was "McGonagall."

"Important to keep in mind," Bill said. "What I want to talk about is something I suspect a lot of people out there are feeling. And I'd like to invite Romulus to join me--he has some advice."

A low, hoarse voice came on. Lupin. Ron hadn't heard his voice since he'd been at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, yelling at Harry and berating himself for loving his wife. Now, he sounded more like he had at Hogwarts. "Hello, Rambler. I'm happy to help."

"I know it's not easy to bring up, but I know that some people may have felt that they've abandoned loved ones, or run away from the war."

Ron sat up straight. "What the...?"

Lupin was quiet for a long time--almost long enough that Ron thought Lee had lost the frequency--but finally said, "I think it's something important to talk about. We've all had moments when it just seemed like too much. When we had to get away."

"What do you do?" Bill asked.

"Take a deep breath," Lupin said. "Accept that you're not perfect, and never will be. And go back, as soon as you can."

"I can't bloody find them!" Ron yelled at the radio.

"It's not always easy to find people these days," Bill said.

"No, it's not. We all know people who are among the missing. I wish that weren't so. But going back doesn't just mean finding them and asking them to forgive you--that's important, but it's the last step, not the first. Going back means finding the way inside yourself. Understanding that you have to own that moment of weakness, but that it doesn't define you. You are strong enough that you made that commitment in the first place. You're strong enough to keep it, even it means humbling yourself to a person you've let down." He sighed. "I was lucky. My moment lasted less than a week, and the person I let down..." There was a rueful laugh. "She hadn't even assumed I'd left. I was honest with her, but she forgave me. The people who love you will forgive you, if you've truly come back... and that's why it's important to come back in your heart first. If you've done that, if you've..." He laughed again. "I have a young friend who would undoubtedly refer to it as 'repenting.' And I'm afraid I can't think of a better word. Makes me sound a bit fanatic, doesn't it? 'Repent! Repent!'"

"Yes, Romulus," Lee said. "You're known for being a raving fanatic. No one can be reasonable around you because you're so bloody dogmatic and strident."

There was general laughter at this.

Lupin went on. "Whatever word you use, it's all about finding your way back. And you can do it. You are strong. And you're needed, more than you imagine. You're not going to make the shame go away by hiding. If you do, it'll just get bigger and bigger, until it can swallow you whole. So turn around. And find your way home. If you do that, then nothing that anyone does when you get there can break you, because you've become yourself again. You know who you are. You can trust yourself."

Suddenly, a high whistle came over the air, and Lee said, "That's it, friends. We need to scatter before the masquerade gets here. Remember what I said!"

The frequency went dead.

Ron stared at the radio for a long time, then looked up at the mirror on the wall.

Some Remus during POA? for Anon
Walking down to Hagrid's cabin in the evening made Remus feel like a schoolboy again. Part of that came from warm memories of times with his friends--even Sirius was a good memory when it came to those times--and another, darker, part came from the path to the Whomping Willow that took up most of the trip. Not that there hadn't been good times even then, but all of those times were wound through with pain and fear.

He'd told Dumbledore when he'd arrived last month to set up that it was a strange feeling to be back, one that he couldn't describe, but that had been a flat lie. He could describe it perfectly well. It just didn't make a lot of sense.

He felt like he was waking up after a long, nightmare-plagued sleep.

It should have been the other way, a sense of going back into a lulled, gentle sleep after a horrible day's work. But it wasn't. He felt like he'd fallen asleep to the sound of Sirius's mad laughter at the trial, dreamed fitfully of the miserable life he was doomed to, and was now just starting to sense the real world again, the world where he wasn't just a werewolf, where he had some purpose and goal. A world where he was not only Remus J. Lupin, lycanthrope, but also Professor Lupin... and Moony.

Yes, definitely the last. He supposed he should thank Severus for that. The Wolfsbane was good, but it only controlled the wolf. What had woken the long-slumbering Moony had been the chance, however briefly, to have a joke this afternoon. To get back at Severus for picking on a smaller, weaker person who was in his control.

"You seem amused."

Remus stopped and looked up. He was halfway between the castle and the Whomping Willow, where the grass was soft, and he hadn't heard Dumbledore approach. "Sorry," he said. "Just..." He shrugged. "Enjoying the evening."

Dumbledore smiled in a friendly way. "I imagined you might be. I also imagine that I don't need to tell you that Severus is quite displeased with you."


"I have already spoken to him twice about not rekindling schoolboy grudges."

"You don't need to talk to me about it." Remus started walking again. "That wasn't about Severus. It was about Neville. Do you know how much Severus terrifies him?"

"I told him to maintain his cover, so that, should we need him to return to his role, he will be credible. If you will blame someone, blame me. Severus is doing his duty."

Remus decided not to engage this. Dumbledore trusted Snape, and probably had a good reason, but Remus also trusted his own instincts. Whoever Snape was serving, he obviously enjoyed terrorizing Neville Longbottom, tweaking Harry's nose, and generally being cruel. He always had. The only time Remus could remember him showing remorse was when he'd gone too far and hurt Lily, who was possibly the only person at Hogwarts who could stand him at the time. Tormenting Peter Pettigrew had never elicited remorse--and he'd used Curses far beyond anything a Hogwarts student ought to have known. Remus had also, during one walk such as this, seen him torturing a toad at the side of the lake. He'd held it still, and a moment later, it was bleeding to death from a hundred cuts that had opened up on its hide.

Of course, Remus had just walked on by.

He couldn't very well have admitted his presence, or everyone would know that he was out after curfew, being walked away from the castle by Madam Pomfrey. The rest wouldn't have taken long to figure out. So Remus had just let it happen, like he always did.

"I'm sorry," Dumbledore said. "I seem to have spoiled your good mood."

"I did that myself. Don't worry."

"Nevertheless, I believe I can return it. The students are very firm in their fondness for you. It has even reached my ears."

Remus grinned. "While you're Disillusioned in the library?"

This got a genuine, if short, laugh. "Well, it is a good place to learn. I was studying... oh, less pleasant matters, shall we say, that it wouldn't have done for students to see their Headmaster studying."

"And you don't have the power to bring books up to your office?"

"Of course I do--but what fun would that be?" Dumbledore raised his wand and sent his Patronus ahead to Hagrid's. "I assume," he said, "that you intended to go there?"

"Yes. I want to see the hippogriffs he's brought in before the governors confiscate them."

"Magnificent creatures," Dumbledore agreed. "I hope they will stay. There are many things at Hogwarts this year that I hope will stay."

"And yet, you don't expect them to."

"Some things are beyond my control. But hope is not necessarily weaker than expectations, Professor Lupin. Do keep that in mind."

They walked on together in silence until they reached Hagrid's hut.

A couple of things I would have liked to see during Deathly Hallows would have been Lupin and Tonk's Christmas that year, and the birth of Teddy. for Anon
Even at only five months, Dora felt like a house. The fact that Bill Weasley kept making size jokes when he visited did not help matters. She'd never had the best balance, and now, she felt like she was waddling, even though Remus assured her that she was walking more or less as well as she ever did.

Mum said she was a little bigger than usual for this stage (Dora was quite sure that Mum suspected she was further along than she claimed, but since Dad had disappeared--since the Death Eaters had broken through, in fact--Mum hadn't been able to summon any sort of teasing or pestering about it). "Nothing to worry about. You're perfectly normal. You feel huge because you feel conspicuous."

Dora supposed this was true. When she'd got breasts (naturally, anyway, as opposed to carefully morphed ones), she'd felt like everyone was staring at her, and like she was taking up too much space. And breasts hadn't caused near-strangers to contemplate the most private areas of her life. While Mum didn't voice her suspicious, old Muriel had been quite vocal when Dora and Remus went to her house yesterday to check the safety precautions--"I see the pair of you weren't much for waiting, now, were you? Guess you had to hurry into the Ministry!"

Dora couldn't be absolutely sure which side of the wedding the baby had happened on. After two uncomfortable weeks following Dumbledore's funeral, she had found her way into Remus's bedroom in the Shrieking Shack, and that had been nearly a week before the wedding. But however she reckoned the maths, the wedding had not been predicated on it. It hadn't even occurred to her until the day after they'd escaped Surrey. What kind of mother did Muriel think she was, going off on a mad, battle-prone rescue mission with a baby in tow?

But you did do that, she reminded herself. Whether you knew it or not, you did, and you could have got yourself and the baby killed.

Duly noted. Again.

"You're not still worried about Muriel?" Remus asked, coming into the room with a large box.

Dora forced a smile. "Well, you know how I value my spotless reputation."

Remus didn't bother to pretend to believe this. He set the box down and said, "You didn't know about the baby when we were in Surrey. As a wise woman told me months ago, it's water under the bridge and you can't change it."

She smiled. When he'd arrived at the door, contrite, five days after Bill's wedding, it hadn't even occurred to her yet that he'd tried to leave. She'd had visions of Death Eaters capturing and torturing him, or Greyback trying to take him into the damned pack again. Hearing that he'd just got cold feet had been something of a relief, though she hadn't told him that, since he clearly felt the need to atone. She nodded toward the box. "So, what have we got?"

"Open it."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Do it."

Cautiously, she went to the box and opened it. There was an evergreen wreath, silver ornaments, a pair of ornate candlesticks with holly leaves formed from gold...

"Remus! These are from Number Twelve! How... The Death Eaters! REMUS!"

He laughed. "They're long gone. Left a good handful of curses around, but I can dodge a curse."

"Remus the decorations are nice, but..."

"An afterthought." He sat down on the sofa and held out his hand to her.

She took it and sat beside him, nestling her head against his shoulder. "Then why were you there?"

"I went to make sure that Kreacher hadn't tried to sneak back in. He's safer at Hogwarts, but I'd guess he's miserable."

"Yeah. Probably. Is it wrong that I still don't give a tinker's damn, after what he did to Sirius?"

"According to McGonagall, he's completely changed. She doesn't know why, except that apparently, Hermione gave him a gift."

"What sort of gift?"

"A necklace of all things. Apparently, jewelry doesn't count as clothes, unless he's suddenly staying of his own free will."

"A necklace?"

"He claims it belonged to Regulus. Can you make any sense of it?"

Dora thought about it, then shook her head. "I feel like we're missing a piece of the puzzle. Why would Hermione have Regulus's necklace?"

"No idea. They wouldn't tell me when I... well, asked to go with them." He winced. "Sorry."

"One more apology about that, and I'm going to get off this couch and waddle across the room to ignore you."

He smiled and kissed her. "Well, we can't have that. At any rate, I thought I'd bring back some of the decorations. It's time to put them up."

"I think Mum keeps hoping Dad'll get back so we can do it together." Dora took the wreath out of the box. "I think if Dad happens by, he won't recognize the place in December without decorations."

"What do you want to do?"

She looked at the wreath, then said, "I want to put this up. And I want a tree, and presents, and songs. Everything. I suppose I can't go caroling with Mum this year, but everything else." She put her hand on her belly. "I want us to have a good Christmas together--you, me, Mum, and the baby. And Dad, if there's any kindness at all to be had. But I... I want to have a good Christmas. Just in case."

"Just in case what?"

She didn't answer. They both knew. The war. It might have taken Dad already, and neither of them knew who else would have been taken by next Christmas. Everything counted now.

He took the wreath from her. "Well," he said, "I think I'll charm this so that as long as it's up there, everyone who comes in will feel a little better for being here."

"I like it," she said. "And I'll Conjure a tree. It'll be beautiful. And we'll put the ornaments up tonight when Mum gets home. And as to presents--?"

"It'll be a hard year to shop," Remus said.

"To hell with shopping. Let's give each other things we really need."
9 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank You

I'm not usually much a reviewer, to my shame, but since I requested that last one, I suppose it's only fair. Thank you so much for that. Yay for a pregnant Tonks! The seventh book was so unfair to them, so it's nice to see how they lived that year, instead of just how they died.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank You

Glad you liked it! And yes, the seventh book was horrendously unfair to them.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 6th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
As somebody commented a couple days ago, we are prying Safe from you bit by bit! They were all great.

I am quite amused at the thought of Dumbledore invisible in the library, listening in on students' conversations. So that's how he always knows everything that's going on!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Except that very few of these are related to anything in the Safe story... and kind of illustrate the problem with it--a bunch of random, disconnected things happening in the middle of constant gloom.

You just know Dumbledore's an eavesdropper. ;p
insertparagraph From: insertparagraph Date: January 6th, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
"except that apparently, Hermione gave him a gift."

I don't have the books handy, but I thought Harry gave Regulus the locket? Is there something to why McGonagall would have said that the locket came from Hermione?

That aside, as always, these are really good. I can't remember how often (or even if) I've left comments, but I've been following your work at least since the first Teddy story, and I've greatly enjoyed everything I've read.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't remember, really--I remembered it as Hermione, so, unlike places where I don't remember, I didn't check (I avoid cracking DH whenever humanly possible). It's always possible that things were relayed improperly at any rate.

Glad you like the stories. Personally, I always enjoy your icon. :D
reannanshaw From: reannanshaw Date: January 6th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Remus, you're so fine.

But seriously, I love me some Lupin.

You know, I think Potterwatch was actually one thing I really liked about the last book. It was a neat idea, and it was cool to see how all the characters we loved (well, a lot of them, anyway) were so deeply involved in the underground fight, how they all had their part to add to it. It was one thing that made me wish that, if we couldn't see things at Hogwarts, we could have seen things going on with the Order. But all we got was that stupid camping trip (not that I'm bitter or anything).

Though Bill's nickname reminds me of Ramblin' Rod, the host of some stupid local TV show from, like, the 80's. Which is kind of too bad, because Rambler actually is a pretty cool name. (Although, really, I think 'Romulus' was a little on the nose for Remus. JKR didn't think that any bad guys who heard Potterwatch wouldn't immediately know who that was, even if they couldn't instantly pin the voice?)

Aw, Bill's a good brother. :) And that was some nice advice Lupin gave. I must say, I hated Lupin's freak out when I read the book, but I think the way you've written pieces around it have made me accept it and perhaps even appreciate it to an extent.

Haha! Dumbledore spying on students in the library. You're right, he totally would have done that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2018 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love,love, love Remus. I'd marry a man like him in a heartbeat. I wonder, though, whether you yourself believe that explanation Dumbledore gave for Snape's nasty behaviour or whether it was just something you came up for this ficlet. I'm saying this because that explanation has to be the stupidest thing this fandom has managed to come up with, well, at least in my personal, and not so humble, opinion. I only wish you would write an entire book about Remus. Most fans ruin his character, leaving only his name, and this drives me mad. You are the only author who focuses on his fondness for children and his ability to teach.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2018 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
To add to my previous comment, it's interesting that you've decided Dora didn't even know he intended to leave her. This actually solves a problem authors might have otherwise, namely, the whole aftermath of his return. I'v read only one fic that dealt with this and have to say the author did a pretty good job there. There's just something so touching in this friendship they have in your story. Somehow it makes the fact your Dora is so patient very,um, believable.
9 comments or Leave a comment