FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

Shifts, Chapter 20: Regulation and Control, pt. 1

Writing every day is fun. I mean, I always write every day, but doing it with a plan on a story I actually enjoy writing... it's fun. I hope I'm not oversaturating people's interest.

Anyway, Remus finds a man with a werewolf bite being held captive by Peter and three werewolves (in human form). He sends for Tonks and she and her Auror partner, who has been changed to Scrimgeour in the HB doc, come in and arrest the werewolves. Peter injures Remus's arm and escapes.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Remus put a Numbing Charm on his arm, which rendered it entirely useless, but at least not burning up with pain. The elbow joint had obviously been separated, and judging by the swelling, there was quite a lot of bone and tissue damage. He Apparated to the alley--he was getting careless, he supposed, but it would also cause a lot of questions if he showed up in the Leaky Cauldron with his arm in this condition.

Sirius swore under his breath as soon as he saw it. "Why aren't you at St. Mungo's?"

"Dora seemed to think you could sort it out."

"I'm telling you, no. I couldn't fix a simple break quickly that night at the Shack, and this... I can't even work out where the pieces go. Andromeda's the Healer." He gritted his teeth. "Bloody Wormtail. I'm going to hurt him before I kill him."

Remus changed into robes and made his way to St. Mungo's. Andromeda wasn't on duty, and Mehadi Patil was in with the man Dora's partner had brought in. In the end, he saw a new trainee Healer, who he recognized as one of his seventh years from Hogwarts, a Ravenclaw boy named Walter Nguyen who was doing his very best to be detached and professional, treating a former teacher for the first time, and looking up after he set each bone shard as though he expected to be marked on it. It took more than two hours, but at the end of it, Remus was able to gingerly move his arm around. Walter took a relieved gulp of air and finished off this presentation of his Healing skills with a recitation of instructions for further care, and a caution against any strenuous use of the arm for at least three days. He didn't ask Remus how he happened to come by this injury. Remus thanked him and told him that he'd done a good job. It seemed to please him to hear this.

By the time he got back to Grimmauld Place, Sirius was asleep in the parlor and Kreacher was going about his nighttime routine of moping through the empty rooms and brooding over missing items. He paid no attention whatsoever to Remus's passing.

He was careful to carry his briefcase and books with his right arm at Smeltings the next day, and not to let himself be jostled too much. Dudley, as annoyingly observant as ever, deliberately blustered out of class on Remus's left side and jarred the arm as he passed. Remus set his jaw, but refused to make any noise indicating that it had caused pain.

He took off his Appearance Charms in the woods, and Apparated to the Leaky Cauldron and was headed out to the bus when two young wizards in yellow robes stood up at the same time and blocked his way.

"Remus Lupin?" one asked.

Remus nodded. "May I help you?"

"Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures," the other said. "You need to come in."

"My registration is up to--"

"We're not with the Registry."

Remus's heart sank. There were three offices at Regulation and Control that dealt with Werewolves. They weren't the Registry and they certainly didn't behave like Werewolf Support Services, which left only the Werewolf Capture Unit--the office he had avoided all his life by seeing to it that his registration was up to date and his transformations guarded. It must have rankled them that Aurors had brought in werewolves this month. They certainly did not seem to be in a mood for pleasant conversation.

Remus allowed himself to be led out.

The two men didn't speak as they made their way to the Ministry of Magic, and kept looking at him sideways, with loathing. He didn't ask them what he was being questioned about; he would find out soon enough.

They herded him into a small room not far from the office that had belonged to Amos Diggory until last year (he had apparently lost much of the zeal he'd once had for his job in the wake of his son's death), where two wizards and a witch sat on the far side of a long table. The witch was Edith Culmer, from Support Services, and she looked angry at the situation. Remus didn't know the wizard in the middle. To his left, though, was Walden Macnair, a hard smile playing on his lips.

"Please sit down, Mr. Lupin," Edith said. "This is an absurd business, but we may as well get down to it. I'm here as your advocate."

"Thank you," he said. "My advocate in what?"

She looked to her left and indicated the youngish wizard beside her. "This is Thaddeus Chubb," she said. "He needs to ask you some questions."

Chubb looked more like accusations were on his mind than questions, but he didn't correct her. He barely waited for Remus to sit down before he said, "You were seen in a certain abandoned house in Kent last night, in the company of three other werewolves who were holding a businessman captive."

Remus blinked. "In their company?" he repeated. "I called for the Aurors when I saw--"

"What were you doing at that particular location?"

"I had... well, I'd heard of what happened at the full moon, and--"

"And you decided to join them?" Macnair sneered.

"No, I decided to find them. I thought as a werewolf, I might get further than a non-werewolf, because they would think I might."

Macnair narrowed his eyes. "And naturally, of all the homes in Kent, you chose that one."

Remus met his glare; Macnair undoubtedly knew precisely how he'd found the place.

"How on Earth did you come to find the place?" Edith asked.

"It belonged to an acquaintance of Peter Pettigrew's," Remus said, not moving his eyes away from Macnair's.

"Ah!" Chubb said. "So your old friend Sirius Black had reason to believe it would be empty!"

"My old..."

"He also knew Pettigrew, did he not?"


"So he would know an old haunt."

"It wasn't an old haunt, it was--" Remus stopped abruptly. As he'd turned to correct Chubb, his eyes caught a motion of Macnair's hand. His wand was out, and had been pointed at Chubb. Now it was pointed at Edith. "It was just a place he knew."

"And why," Chubb asked, "would you associate it with werewolves?"

"It was a lucky guess. I knew it was empty, and it was in the region where they'd been seen. If they hadn't been there, I'd have tried somewhere else."

"Determined to find them, were you?"

"They're certainly not doing other werewolves any favors," Remus said.

"Yes," Chubb said, "and you've certainly demonstrated your level of responsibility to your fellow sufferers in the past."

Remus glanced again at Macnair's wand; it was still trained on Edith. He realized with a wave of disgust that it he could report it directly and no one would believe him. He took a deep breath and sat back in the chair. "What do you want to know?"

"I've already told you what we want to know," Chubb said. "Why were you in that house?"

"And I've already answered."

"I'm less than satisfied with your answer."

The questions went on for several hours--mainly Chubb asking the same thing over and over again. Macnair's presence made it impossible to discuss the situation fully--he didn't need it getting back to Voldemort that Dumbledore had sent him, even if he did dare to say it to the Ministry. He also found himself unwilling to implicate Mrs. Pettigrew, irritating as he found her. The topic sometimes wavered--for forty minutes, Chubb questioned him about his use of Wolfsbane Potion, and whether or not it had been neglected since "the unfortunate incident" at Hogwarts--but it always returned to Chubb's suspicion that Remus was part of the group in the Biddenden house. At one point, one of the secretaries brought food for the Regulation and Control staff; Edith gave Remus half of her sandwich.

It was close to midnight and his throat was raw from repeating the same story so many times when the lift door crashed open outside. Chubb, who had been in the middle of yet another version of the question of how he'd come to hear of the "werewolf uprising" and how long he'd been involved in it (Edith was beside herself trying to make him rephrase), and he stopped abruptly. The door to the interrogation room burst open and an old man with frizzy white hair leaned in. "Begging your pardon, Mr. Chubb, but you and Mr. Macnair are needed!"

"We're in the middle of an interrogation."

"Emergency." The man gasped in a few breaths. He'd obviously run here from some distant point in the building. "One of the portraits was running about saying he heard something, and we found Arthur Weasley, of all the bloody things, bitten up something terrible!"

Arthur! Remus bit his tongue on his immediate fear--he had no reason to show inordinate interest in Arthur Weasley. But had it been his night to guard the Department of Mysteries? Where had they found him? How badly was he hurt?

"Bitten?" Chubb repeated.

"There's something loose in the Ministry! Isn't that what you Regulation and Control folks do?"

Chubb looked irritated, and Macnair frankly irate, but they both stood. Remus started to stand, but Chubb held up one hand. "I don't think so. I'm not done with you. You can stay the night in here, and perhaps you'll want to talk more in the morning."

He and Macnair disappeared. Edith stood up. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't know what's got into them. I believe you, and I'll work this out. But tonight..."

"I understand."

She smiled apologetically and waved her wand at the table, where a comfortable-looking mattress appeared. "I'll... I'll have your wand in the Beings division. You can pick it up when they let you go."

She left, locking the door behind her.

Remus stood at the door for a long time, trying to hear what was going on, but no one returned to the Department that night.

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