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Shifts, Chapter 9: Teachers, Part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chapter 9: Teachers, Part 2
Burning some time as much as anything else; OotP is doing the same at this point, so I'm happy. :)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

On Saturday, Remus resolved to get the parlor looking like a room that people might actually live in (the temporary-ness of it continued to unnerve him). Sirius refused to participate--he hated the parlor above all other rooms in the house--but at last he dragged a trunk down from the attic, which contained another set of draperies, slightly moth-eaten but at last not reeking of doxycide and some other smell that Remus couldn't place. Sirius did take some pleasure in incinerating the old ones. Dora came by on Sunday and jumped into the fray with enthusiasm, if not much native skill.

"Been waiting for another round with this room," she said, rolling up the carpet to work on the splintery floor beneath it. "I noticed when I slept in here that something doesn't smell right."

Sirius shrugged and left her to it.

There was no news from Hogwarts, which meant at least that nothing of note had happened; anything important would surely make its way through the Order's information systems. Molly had heard nothing in her letters from the children, though on Tuesday, she intimated darkly that she thought there were things they weren't telling her. Remus had to agree. To his surprise, he'd gotten a chatty letter from Ginny Weasley himself, but if she'd coded something into it, the code was some obscure bit of girlishness that he simply didn't pick up on.

Dora read it over on Wednesday afternoon while he tried to learn to brew Wolfsbane Potion, and shook her head. "It looks to me like she's just saying hello, as she says. Did she always write to you?"

"She wrote me twice last year."

"Always like this?"

"For the most part."

Dora shrugged. "She's just being friendly. Either that, or she has a secret crush on you."

"I don't think so."

"Why not? Ginny does have excellent taste in REMUS LUPIN, WILL YOU BE CAREFUL WITH THAT?"

Remus stopped chopping the Wolfsbane, but before he could see what he was doing wrong, Dora had scooped away the bits of root on the table in front of him.

"Honestly," she said, her voice a bit high, "you do know this is toxic to you, don't you?"


"No wonder you didn't like Potions. Your mind wanders while you're chopping things. Your knife was covered with Wolfsbane sap, half an inch from your thumb, and closing in. That's it. You're not doing this yourself. I don't mind it and it's too nerveracking to think of you cheerfully poisoning yourself while you're thinking about other things."

Remus looked down at her hands, pulling the Wolfsbane closer to her, and was surprised to see that they were actually shaking. He fought a very strong urge to cover them with his own until she calmed down--he couldn't think of anything else to do, but that would be entirely the wrong thing--and instead got up and started making some sort of dinner.

"Did something explode?" Sirius asked from the top of the stairs, coming down them at a run, looking far more amused than concerned. "What did Remus blow up?"

"Nothing. He's just trying to commit suicide-by-distraction," Dora grumbled. She swept the Wolfsbane into a small paper sack, pointed her wand at the table, and said, "Scourgify."

Sirius glanced at the detritus of the lesson and said, "Moony, I don't fancy living here alone. Let Dora brew it."

Thus ended any hope Remus had of self-sufficiency.

At school, Dudley continued to behave in his now-habitual way, but Remus was starting to notice a return of his earlier bravado, which was at least something to be grateful for. He had apparently realized that Remus really wasn't there to magically torment him, so his initial fear reaction had faded to his usual distaste for anyone who wasn't like him. Daniel Morse opted to start a history club, and Remus (somewhat guiltily) spent more time helping him get started than trying to talk to Dudley. Eventually, Stephen Wells took Daniel under his wing and took over the mundane details of running an extracurricular club.

A week after the Wolfsbane lesson, Alan Garvey informed him that he'd be attending the annual "end of warm weather to-do" on Saturday--a picnic of some sort--saying that Anna had been disappointed not to find a telephone number, as she'd planned to dial Dora up from the start and circumvent Remus's "bad social memory." Remus resigned himself to it, and went home castigating himself for spending more time on his cover than on his recalcitrant assignment.

When he got there, Sirius was at the kitchen table, looking excited and holding a quill. "I figured it out. I'll write back to Ginny, saying I'm you, and I can get a message to Harry to meet by the stile in Hogsmeade this weekend."

"First of all, I already wrote back to Ginny. Second, she's not a messenger service. Third, if you try to transform on Saturday morning, I'm going to put a collar on you and chain you up in the back garden."

Sirius grinned. "Are you going to dock house points as well?"

"Ten points from Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place," Remus said dryly. "You'll frighten Harry half to death if you do that."

Sirius's face fell, the excitement fading to morose heaviness. "Right."

Remus sighed. "Do you want to get out of the house? As a dog only?"

"And do what?"

"I'll ask Alan if Dora and I can bring our dog to his home on Saturday. It seems to be an outdoor affair. Disillusionment Charms all the way out there so no one sees you in this neighborhood. But I haven't found any other faculty members who seem to be remotely related to Voldemort, so you should be safe when you get there."

"So you can make sure I'm not in Hogsmeade?"

"Yes. And you might enjoy it."

Sirius didn't answer, but Remus saw him smile as he went upstairs.

Sleep came easily that night, almost as soon as he'd pulled a cool sheet over himself. He dreamed of Hogwarts.

He was in his classroom, both standing at the teacher's desk and sitting in the seat he'd been accustomed to during his seven years as a student. His student self was fifteen. James Potter was sitting behind him, slightly transparent. Sirius--before the gauntness of Azkaban--sat to his left. Peter was sitting sullenly in Dudley's favorite spot--the bookcase at the back of the room, which of course wasn't at Hogwarts at all. Dudley was sitting with him, not talking. Beside James, Hermione was in her usual spot, Ron back one and to the side. Harry was standing up front with Remus. Lily Evans--impossibly, an adult in her mid-thirties, with a streak of white in her deep red hair--was standing in the doorway, watching.

Snape was teaching the class. "Now," he said. "Can any tell me the signs of a werewolf attack?" He waved his wand at the desk and a form appeared there. Dora. Her eyes were open, but she wasn't moving.

"It's nasty," Dudley offered. "And unnatural."

"What's he doing?" Harry whispered.

"Demonstrating," Remus answered. "All a part of teaching."

"But isn't this your class?"

Hermione Granger's hand shot up.

"Yes, Miss Granger?"

She stood beside her desk, Smeltings-style. "Sir, a werewolf leaves nearly everything behind."

"Very good. Ten points to Gryffindor," Lily said.

"It doesn't forgive anything," Peter said.

"And it lies," Ron added.

"Very good," Snape said. "Now, Mr. Lupin, a demonstration?"

Remus watched his student-self--Moony, he supposed--get up. Snape waved his wand, and a full moon appeared. Moony immediately transformed. Snape pointed to the desk, where Dora lay still.


"No!" Remus said.

"Aren't you interested in teaching these children?" Snape sneered.

"It's a perfectly normal way for a werewolf to behave," Hermione informed him.

"Go on, Moony!" Sirius egged him on. "Show us how it's done!"

"I'd rather you didn't," Lily said. "Not in front of Harry."

"I agree with Lily," James said.

"There's a shock," Sirius muttered.

"It's all right," Harry said, his voice shaky. "It's all a part of teaching, right?"

Remus knew what he was supposed to say, but somehow couldn't form the words.

Again, Snape said "Attack," and the wolf lunged at the table, and then Remus was the wolf, and there was blood and--

He awoke, his heart beating quickly, and nearly jumped out of bed. A portrait of Sirius's great-grandmother let out an unnaturally loud snore to punish him for disturbing her.

He breathed deeply, waiting for the nightmare to flush out of his mind. Much of it was familiar territory, but Lily... the streak of white in her hair...

He went to the window and watched the clouds move over the waxing gibbous moon.
12 comments or Leave a comment
vytresna From: vytresna Date: August 28th, 2004 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is one I actually understand better because I should be asleep by now. You really captured the essence of a dream.

What do you mean by OotP burning time "at this time"? You mean the actual organization at this point in time in Shifts? Can't see how it could mean the book...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 28th, 2004 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Basically, there's a lot of "A week later..." or "Just before the Hogsmeade weekend..." sorts of things. Sort of, "Er, we've kind of got stuck in the first week of September for awhile. Move along, now."
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: August 28th, 2004 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, beautiful! I really love that dream -- it makes sense in the way that only dreams can make sense. That is, not at all, and yet there's that something... Either way, it was chilling and wonderfully written. Wow.
From: inyron Date: August 29th, 2004 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, Padfoot. I'm sure he'd enjoy a day out.

Interesting dream, too, though of course I have no idea right now what that version of Lily signifies.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: August 29th, 2004 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it means that, in the dream, Lily had lived to have signs of aging. Certainly what struck a chord with me.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: August 30th, 2004 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I love this line:
"Thus ended any hope Remus had of self-sufficiency."

We haven't heard much about how Remus is teaching after his transformation lately. How is that going? Is he stronger; is it causing him a lot of trouble?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 30th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)
His second transformation is next Tuesday--I'm sure Dora's bringing him the Wolfsbane daily again.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: August 30th, 2004 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, we've only gone one month? Gracious, I've lost track. Glad you are on top of things. ^_^

I'm so enjoying this story. And how often you update. ^_^
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 30th, 2004 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah--I downloaded the timeline from the Lexicon to keep track of where we are. That's why I realized, Oops, better get moving here. Can't give a minute-by-minute blow-by-blow of Remus's year.
purplerebecca From: purplerebecca Date: August 30th, 2004 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or we'll be here till the next decade. :]

Mad props to you for making it as historically accurate as you can as well. Love that. :)
sannalim From: sannalim Date: August 30th, 2004 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
That funny smell in the parlor--is it the lingering remnant of rotting azaleas?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 30th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could be...
12 comments or Leave a comment