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Shifts, Chapter 26: Shifting Focus, pt 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chapter 26: Shifting Focus, pt 3
Yes! Didn't save it until tomorrow.

(I will start writing earlier tonight, I will start writing earlier tonight, I will start writing earlier tonight...)

Anyway, Harry's interview has made a fairly big impression outside Hogwarts as well as in. It continues.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Remus briefly considered showing the Quibbler article to Dudley, who had been making some progress in his fear of magic since learning that Joe Levinson was feeling considerably better (though Remus warned him not to try another visit). His loathing of Harry, however, hadn't gotten a bit better, and carrying a newspaper full of wizarding photographs to Smeltings would be a mad idea at any rate. Instead, Remus merely passed on the information that Harry had made a rather bold move against the people who had sent the Dementors over the summer (whether it had been Voldemort or the Ministry, the article was equally damaging).

"Right little hero, that one," Dudley said dryly, studying a collection of Muggle photographs Remus had found in a Diagon Alley junk shop that had inadvertantly included witches and wizards with some visible sign of their origins. Dudley squinted at the top corner and tapped it. "That one," he said.


"That baby she's holding. She's got the wrong arm under it. It's head should be flopping around, with the arm on that side up and waving."

Remus nodded. "Very good. She's using a Support Charm rather than her arm."

Dudley moved on to the next photograph. "All he did was talk?"


"You lot aren't doing much, are you?" He held the picture up to the window and frowned at it. "Are all of these blokes... you know?"

"I'm impressed. I thought that one was rather difficult."

Dudley shrugged. "Not really. The one up at the end of the table is smoking a pipe, but the smoke's all up at the other end. Cards blew up or something?"


"If they're all playing with the same cards and the cards blow up, then they're either all--you know--or in on it."

It was a reasonable guess. Remus actually supposed the photo had been taken in a magical location--someone's home perhaps--by a Muggle or Muggle-born spouse, and had simply fallen out of a bag somewhere. The group was rather too relaxed to be risking discovery. "What would you do if you saw that particular group in a park?"

"One of our parks? I'd pound them."

Remus rubbed his head and went on with the lesson. Dudley had to be Dudley. In truth, he'd probably freeze on the spot or run home to his mother if he saw a group of six wizards playing a lazy (and highly illegal) game of Exploding Snap in a Muggle park.

Being at Smeltings, where Dudley's apathetic response to the interview was the only response there was, seemed surreal. When Dora came for lunch, she told him that everyone at the Minstry was talking about it, though of course it was forbidden for them to do so and everyone had Transfigured their copies to hide them. "On the street, it's even more," she said. "They've run out at the news stands and people are sitting around reading together."

Alan had come in, so they'd been forced to change the subject, but Remus went to the Leaky Cauldron after work on Monday and saw that she was right. A duel erupted between two wizards who disagreed on the matter of Harry's trustworthiness, which ended up with both of them being dragged off to St. Mungo's. One had horn growing out of his ear and the other was babbling incoherently.

"Professor Lupin?"

Remus turned, surprised. The young man who had approached him tentatively was wearing dirty Quidditch robes and looked vaguely familiar.

"Oliver Wood," he said. "I was in your N.E.W.T. classes?"

"Oh, of course. Oliver. I'm sorry."

"It's all right." He held up the Quibbler. "This bit here, where Harry says that Sirius Black is innocent and this other fellow Pettigrew is alive... he says you saw it."

Remus nodded. Harry had begun to speak about Peter at the graveyard, but Rita Skeeter (wisely, for Rita Skeeter), had him backtrack to explain how a presumably dead wizard had happened to be a major player in the scene. "I did."

"Then it's true?"


"And they really didn't listen to you because you're a... you know?"

Remus, who was beginning to think of "a you know" as a recognizable synonym for "a wizard," momentarily misunderstood, then realized that Oliver meant it to be "werewolf." He nodded.

"That's cracked," Oliver said. He made stilted conversation for a minute or two more, then claimed that he needed to rush back to his flat and clean up after his Quidditch practice before he met a dinner date that his mother had set up for him. "She's four years older than I am," he muttered. "Don't know what we're meant to talk about."

Remus gave him what he hoped was a sympathetic look, as he realized that a boy who called him "Professor Lupin" was about to go on a date with a woman Dora's age, and no one thought that age difference was remotely remarkable except for Oliver. Dora rolled her eyes at this when he told her over dinner at her flat, and said that she refused to kiss him again until he got the silly idea out of his head. This resolution didn't outlast pudding.

By Wednesday, a few other topics of conversation had appeared again, though Harry's interview was still the major cause of loud arguments on the street, and had inspired one intrepid Diagon Alley musician to create a ballad on the theme. Remus made it a point to go every day, in case anyone other than Oliver Wood had questions, but no one seemed concerned with verifying anything. Dora had a late shift Wednesday night and he--for once--had nothing at all to mark, so after half an hour at the Leaky Cauldron, he just went home.


"Oh, Alya. Do be quiet. You're becoming quite tiresome."

Remus, who hadn't bothered to turn around and deal with Mrs. Black's portrait yet, looked at it, surprised. Phineas Nigellus was leaning against the edge of the frame in a casual way while his great-granddaughter gaped at him, apparently unable to conceive of having been scolded, or think of any suitable reply.

"What is it, Phineas?" Remus asked.

Phineas gave a long-suffering sigh. "I'm to tell you that Severus Snape will arrive this evening with news of concern to the Order. He won't be able to remain here for any length of time, as my great-great-grandson's young ward has made life a bit uncomfortable at Hogwarts, so Dumbledore asks that you call as much of the Order as can be assembled to be here between nine o'clock and nine-thirty. Have you a reply?"

"Tell Dumbledore I'll have them here. What do you mean, things are 'uncomfortable' at Hogwarts?"

Phineas shrugged. "The Umbridge woman has put a stop to the students owning certain tabloids, which are hardly appropriate school material anyway, though personally I would have rescinded the privilege when it became clear that there was no educational value--"


"She's made owning the Quibbler an expulsion offense," he said. "And she's forbidden the teachers to have conversations with the students which are not directly related to their subjects. Why an adult would wish to fraternize with students on a non-essential basis is quite beyond me, but the teachers are quite unhappy with the situation for some reason."

"Tell me again why you were the headmaster of a school?"

"It got me out of the classroom." Phineas turned to Mrs. Black and said, "Carry on, Alya," then left the portrait.

Mrs. Black started screaming again. Remus struggled with the curtains by himself for nearly a minute before Sirius came running down the stairs, covered with dust from the attic, and helped him wrestle her into silence.

"Sorry," he said. "I heard her start, but then she stopped."

"It was Phineas. Snape's on his way."

Sirius grimaced. "Oh, good. I was just thinking how much I'd love to have a visit with Snivellus."

Remus, who had not seen Snape face to face since Peter's revelation about Snape's role in tormenting werewolves during the first war, was not particularly looking forward to setting up a meeting tailored to his convenience. But he was their best source of information on Voldemort's movements, and if Dumbledore thought whatever new intelligence he'd received was important enough to call the Order over, then in all likelihood, it was.

By eight-thirty, he'd managed to gather the Weasleys (and Fleur), Dung, Kingsley, Hestia, Dedalus, Emmeline, and Elphias. Dora sent word through Kingsley that, barring emergencies, she would take her break at nine sharp and Apparate to the alley. She might be a few minutes late, but she would be here.

While they waited for Snape, the interview was, of course, the primary subject of the conversation. Molly had wept over it, and Fleur, who had of course had every chance of being the person to touch that cup along with Harry, was clearly spooked. "Cedric was a kind boy," she said earnestly. "'E did not deserve zis. 'Kill ze spare.'" Her eyes filled with tears. "'E was not a spare."

Bill soothed her as well as he could.

"'As Krum read it?" she wondered. "'E was under ze Imperius Curse, and 'e..." She took a deep breath. "'E stopped me from being the one to go through."

Molly reached over and squeezed Fleur's hands. Fleur smiled at her gratefully. Remus tried to imagine the fragile-looking Fleur fighting back from the Cruciatus Curse that Krum had put on her, and felt a respect for her that he chastised himself for not experiencing before. She had been a champion, and she had been chosen for a reason.

Snape arrived sharply at nine o'clock, and did not wait for the Order to settle.

"Our aims have changed," he said.

The door upstairs opened and Dora tripped over the doorjamb, catching herself from falling down the stairs only by sheer force of will. "Sorry I'm late."

"Not an unusual occurrence, Miss Tonks," Snape said. "Sit."

Dora stuck her tongue out at him and sat down beside Sirius. She smiled across the table at Remus. Molly looked between them with glittering eyes.

"If we are all quite finished establishing the... social structure?" Snape prodded, his nose wrinkled in quite genuine distaste.

Remus raised an eyebrow at him, feeling a wave of dislike more powerful than anything he'd felt since Hogwarts. He hasn't changed at all, he thought. He'd do it again for Dumbledore's side, if Dumbledore approved of it. But there was not time to discuss Snape's past. "Go on, Severus."

"The Dark Lord has learned the truth about retrieving the prophecy," he said. "Rookwood corrected Avery's misinformation last night, and the Dark Lord is now well aware that only he or Potter could retrieve the prophecy. He will waste no more effort trying to send others, and he has made it quite clear that he does not intend to go himself."

"Then there's little point in continuing a guard on it," Remus said.

"That was Dumbledore's assessment. And mine."

"So he's given up on the prophecy?" Hestia asked.

Snape snorted. "Hardly. The Dark Lord is not one to give up on what he wants. But at this point, his only avenue is to use Potter to retrieve it, and as long as Potter is under our eyes at Hogwarts, we need only keep him from leaving."

"Which isn't always easy!" Arthur pointed out. "The boys are always finding ways to slip out of the castle."

"I have used an age-line to bar the entrance to the tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow to anyone under the age of twenty-one," Snape said.

"Why not seal it entirely?" Sirius asked. "It's a damned easy way to break onto the grounds."

"If one is aware of the Hogsmeade entrance," Snape said, and is not thrown off by some rather powerful anti-trespassing Charms we've set on the house there."

"I was able to get in," Remus said. "Without the slightest difficulty."

"Yes, well, you own it, don't you? Or Gringotts does, with your name attached at any rate." Snape looked away, displaying a supreme disinterest in his attack on Remus's means. "The house, in any case, has its uses for the Order, in the event that we need to enter or leave the anti-Apparition perimeters. The other tunnels have been sealed entirely, unless you've neglected to mention any of them on that map."

"We gave you all of them," Sirius said.

"So if Potter is to leave Hogwarts, it will have to be through the front door. We'll see him. That is certainly an advantage to Umbridge's approach. The students can do very little without being seen."

"They've got to be going mad," Bill muttered. "The twins have to be beside themselves."

"I wouldn't know." Snape looked back at Remus. His lip curled; it may have been involuntary. "At any rate, Dumbledore believes the Order's time would be better used trying to track the Dark Lord's whereabouts than trying to capture him at the Ministry of Magic."

"Don't you know?" Sirius asked.

"Of course not. The premises are Unplottable, and Death Eaters are summoned there by magic. I doubt anyone other than the Dark Lord himself knows how to arrive without such a summons."

"Maybe we'll get lucky," Emmeline said. "He could trip and break his wand when they're all out, and no one would happen on him again."

Dora grinned. Snape did not.

"I must return to Hogwarts before I'm missed. There is a Slytherin house meeting at which I'm expected."

"Say hello to my little cousin," Dora said.

Snape didn't bother answering. He disappeared as rapidly as he'd come.

"One of the great social butterflies, that one," Dora said. "So what's the plan, Remus?"

Remus was quiet for a moment, letting his thoughts settle. All year, they'd been following a pointless routine, and while he'd been given an instruction for a new goal, he'd been given little guidance on strategies to achieve it.

Finally, he took a deep breath. "First, Sirius, you're going to stop dismantling this house."


"I want you to go through everything you can find in the attic. Papers, photographs, old diaries, anything you can find. See if Bellatrix has claim to any properties that Voldemort may be using. Any land holdings that we can't account for at all--they may have gotten something from--" He broke off.

"Regulus," Sirius said dully. "I know."

"Dora, talk to your mother. Find out if she knows anything about it. Bill, if you can--see what's in Peter Pettigrew's vault. I don't think the Pettigrews have any claim to any land, but we know he's already taken over one house to which he's only tangentially connected. Arthur, find an excuse to look into areas associated with Tom Riddle's Muggle father. He's already made use of the man despite hating him; it wouldn't be surprising if he made further use."

Molly looked up anxiously. "If he is there--"

"Do nothing."

"But he knows Arthur. He bit him as a snake. If he sees him..."

Remus nodded. "You're right. Arthur--do the research. Molly, if there's anything on site, would you be willing to look? Just behave as though you're having a day trip in some QuickSpell Muggle Studies course."

She agreed.

Remus turned to Kingsley. "We'll need to share information with the Aurors more than we're doing. I want to meet with you, Dora, and Mad-Eye regularly. Can you build the schedule so that's possible?"

"Yes. And Mad-Eye's not on the schedule. He's retired."

Moody grumbled something unintelligible, though Remus caught an off-color word followed by "Ministry."

"We'll put together any information we find, and see if it makes sense to anyone. And we'll come up with a reasonable cover story about how you happened to come by it."

They spoke for half an hour more, then the meeting slowly broke up. By ten-thirty, only Remus, Dora, Sirius, and Fleur and the Weasleys were left in the kitchen, and business had been settled. Sirius had Kreacher bring drinks for everyone, and they talked a bit more about the interview. Sirius sat alone at the head of the table, and Remus noticed his eyes flickering from himself and Dora, to Molly and Arthur, to Bill and Fleur, then back again. His mood was falling, and Remus decided to end the evening early, claiming weariness before work in the morning.

He walked the Weasleys upstairs, leaving Dora to try and jolly Sirius out of his descending blues, and helped handed them their cloaks from the wardrobe. Molly, to his surprise, gave him a little hug. "I was right," she said. "Wasn't I? She's good for you."

Remus smiled. "You were right."
32 comments or Leave a comment
awaywithpixie From: awaywithpixie Date: January 9th, 2005 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
One had horn growing out of his ear and the other was babbling incoherently.

er, do you mean *a horn* ?

Great chapter, as usual. Such attention to detail.

of course this slasher read that he had porn coming out his ear...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup. Single letter words are so easy to skip when typing quickly.

:is trying not to imagine porn abruptly emerging from someone's ear
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: January 9th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
"So if Potter is to leave Hogwarts, it will have to be through the front door. We'll see him. That is certainly an advantage to Umbridge's approach. The students can do very little without being seen."

Does Snape not know that Harry has the Invisibility Cloak? Does Harry have the Cloak at this point in the book? ...right, clearly I just need to reread the book...
I've friended you so I can follow the story, is that all right? :) If it's not I'll take you off my list, no problem...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry has the Cloak, but the door still needs to open, and Snape is probably overstating his safety. Also, Dumbledore is still there at that point, and can see through the cloak.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: January 9th, 2005 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
It is good seeing the reactions to these events beyond the boundaries of Hogwarts. It sort of fills OotP in. :) The idea of Remus sort-of-owning the Shrieking Shack is an interesting one (I always assumed it was Dumbledore's). It's also nice to see the Order sort of in action. :)

One tiny thing - "If one is aware of the Hogsmeade entrance," Snape said, and is not thrown off by some rather powerful anti-trespassing Charms we've set on the house there." I think there's a speech mark missing after Snape said.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right. I was originally going to put an argument about Peter there, followed by an implication that they wouldn't exactly be averse to trapping Peter in the tunnel, but there was already too much in this section. Long story short, I kept fiddling around with that line and must have erased the mid-opening quotes.
azaelia_culnamo From: azaelia_culnamo Date: January 9th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
One tiny nitpick - I think the books would've mentioned it if Harry had claimed Sirius was innocent. Maybe that's just me, though. But wouldn't him saying that give Umbridge a reason to get him into a lot more trouble?

I had to admire Remus in this one, being civil around Snape after what he did to Elizabeth.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 9th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't put two and two together there until I read your comment. Thanks for the heads up!
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: January 9th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Super chapter Fern! Phineas is perfect - I love this line:

Why an adult would wish to fraternize with students on a non-essential basis is quite beyond me, but the teachers are quite unhappy with the situation for some reason.

I love the Order members' reactions to the interview, especially Fleur's, which is very believable, but not one I'd ever considered before. Snape is marvelously obnoxious, and Molly's concern for Arthur and comment to Remus about Dora are totally IC and just great.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I never thought about Fleur until she opened her mouth here. I just had her around because she's with Bill. I was going to have her say something trite, and then I realized, man--she was crucio'd and could easily have ended up as dead as Cedric. She was part of the story Harry just told.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: January 9th, 2005 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for giving Fleur her due, and the respect she deserves as a talented witch.

And I do enjoy your Moody -- he's such a curmudgeon.

So, Lupin's the Ron of this bunch, eh? The strategist?

Sorry about babbling Fern, I just adore this story; I snuggle down in my chair and chortle before reading....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Always glad to cause a chortle. :)

No one in the grown-up order seems to be much of a strategist, but I'd guess Lupin in his role as Dumbledore's lieutenant here would have to take over. And frankly, someone should have told Sirius to get to work on this a long time ago instead of just demolishing things.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 9th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's head should be flopping around, with the arm on that side up and waving.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 9th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love this! I hope Fleur gets a chance to tell Krum that, under a spell or not and using one of the unforgivables or not, he saved her life.

A couple of questions, however.

1) What's your take on Snape? I think my view is a bit kinder than yours, but where do you see him as coming from?

2) Why is Remus believing Peter's statement about Snape? Sure, Remus has reasons not to trust or like Snape, but Peter had plenty of reasons to lie to him in that scene or misrepresent. I wouldn't trust him if he said rain was wet.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
1) What's your take on Snape? I think my view is a bit kinder than yours, but where do you see him as coming from?

I'll have to do a Snape essay at some point, but I basically think that while he might have switched his loyalty from Voldemort to Dumbledore, he still has a fairly severely impaired sense of right and wrong (threatening to kill Neville's toad, bullying students, etc). And I think, from PoA, that he very, very genuinely hates werewolves. This may be related to the Prank, or the prank may have exacerbated it, but while Lupin may be wrong that he'd happily return to torturing them--I'm not sure he is, but it's likely that it's an overreaction--I don't think Snape would argue with a proposition to lock all werewolves up somewhere and not fret too much over their health, if such a suggestion came from Dumbledore. Basically, I don't think much of Snape. Fascinating character, horrid man.

2) Why is Remus believing Peter's statement about Snape? Sure, Remus has reasons not to trust or like Snape, but Peter had plenty of reasons to lie to him in that scene or misrepresent. I wouldn't trust him if he said rain was wet.

I think he believes simply because it's statement that fits with what he knows of Snape, even recently. Plus in my little ficverse, he knows from Elizabeth that she was attacked by a young, dark-haired Death Eater with a silky voice, so it didn't take much to put two and two together.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: January 9th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful as usual. One thing though, I think QuickSpell should be spelled Kwickspell, or something like that. I don't have book 2 handy, but I think it is spelled strangely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probably. I didn't check.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 9th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Minor point: If memory serves, it was Cedric who Krum Cruciated, not Fleur. Fleur was Stunned by Crouch.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Argh. Not a minor point for the scene. I wonder why I remembered it as Fleur? Anyway, you don't need to anonymize to correct.
Shloz - (Anonymous) - Expand
Shloz - (Anonymous) - Expand
sannalim From: sannalim Date: January 9th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

That bit was absolutely wonderful.
myf From: myf Date: January 9th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, Fern!

I've been away for the week, so one of the first things I did when I got back was gorge myself on the 6 or 7 new sections that have been posted. It's really enjoyable reading, especially the reactions to the new bout of officialdom which Umbridge engages in around this time in OotP. I can't wait to see Molly's reaction to the twins' grand exit!

As usual, you've made me view canon in a new light. Thank you!
nymphgalatea From: nymphgalatea Date: January 9th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading this for a while, but only just got an account/courage to post. I really like this story. Dudley's such good fun in a horrible sort of way, if that makes sense. You've given him a third dimension, anyway. And though I've never really got into Remus/Tonks as a 'ship this is rather charming. I might even be converted by the end. All in all it's just a lovely backstory for what the Order was up to, something that was sorely needed. Bravo!

PS I friended you so i can get updates quickly. That okay?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 9th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Friends are good. I like friends. :)

Glad you're enjoying!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 10th, 2005 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
If you still haven't checked yet, Kwikspell is the proper spelling. The Lexicon http://www.hp-lexicon.org/magic/kwikspell.html cites it as Chapter 8 in CoS.
From: isabela113 Date: January 10th, 2005 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Trust Molly to think of romance at a time like this. I do love her, as overbearing as she may be.

The detail about Snape being the werewolf killer adds a fascinating dimesion to their relationship. I always think of Remus as the one who knew they treated him badly, who gave him the benefit of the doubt when Dumbledore trusted him. And then to think that he is probably realizing how profoundly Snape hates people like him for the first time, all the while working with him for the greater good. Lovely shades of gray in there.
32 comments or Leave a comment