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Shifts, Chapter 32: Charms - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chapter 32: Charms
Chapter Thirteen (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) is up at SQ. Fixed a couple of problems, but looking at it, I'm slapping my head, as Remus still has a pennant in his hand, even though I took it away from the boy who dropped it off. Sigh. I thought I'd taken it out, but I must not have saved it afterward.

Remus intended to discuss the Snape situation more with Sirius, but he finds the Weasley twins in the house when he gets there.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The first thing Remus noticed when he came through the door was raucous laughter coming up from the kitchen. Mrs. Black's portrait had apparently given up on fresh invective for the day, as she was simply tearing at her painted hear and wailing incoherently. Remus made a stab at closing the curtains alone, but didn't get far before he realized that the voices separating themselves from the laughter didn't belong here at all.

"...and Umbridge was knee-deep in it by the time she figured out it wasn't an illusion--"

"--stupid old cow, really--"

"--and she had her Inquistorial Squad--"

"--Slytherin gits--"

"--flailing around in the water... oi, Lupin!"

Remus reached the bottom of hte stairs, puzzled. He'd become sidetracked wondering about Snape's state of mind, and he'd forgotten entirely about the odd comment regarding Molly Weasley. He couldn't imagine what the twins would have to do with a floo conversation, though. "Fred, George," he said. "Aren't you meant to be somewhat north of here?"

"We've left school," George announced cheerfully, tearing a large piece of bread from the nearly demolished loaf in front of him.

"Gave it a proper send-off, too," Fred added.

Sirius kicked the bench across from him, pushing it out for Remus to sit down and grinning broadly. For a moment, he was not merely a shadow of his childhood self, but the laughing ghost of the teenage boy he had once been.

For no reason he could identify, a deep dread spiralled up through Remus's spine as he sat down.

"It seems we have Fred and George to thank for our conversation wiht Harry on Monday," Sirius said.

"And Ginny," Geoge said. "We wouldn't have known if she hadn't told us he needed help."

"'Course we would have done it anyway."

"Just a matter of time."

"But it wouldn't have got anything done except annoying Umbridge."

"Not that that's not a perfectly good reason to do something."

Sirius summoned more butterbeer for them, obviously delighted at the story they were telling. "Do you want to guess where Harry called from?"

Remus thought about it, and--in view of Sirius's grin and the twins' presence--it was obvious. Mad, but obvious. "Umbridge's fire."

"Right in one," Fred said, smiling.

Remus rubbed at a spot on his forehead.

"Oh, dear," Sirius said. "You might want to run while you can. I think Moony's about to throw guilt at you." He winked.

"You were expelled?" he asked.

"Oh, no. We just left."

"It was time."

"Past time."

"And it seemed wise to get out before Filch got to his whips."

"Oh, he's always threatening that," Sirius said.

"Umbridge got him permission to do it," George said.

Fred nodded. "So we thought we'd leave."

"Sounds like a good idea to me," Sirius said, leaning back.

"Your N.E.W.T.s?" Remus prodded.

"We were only taking a few."

"Spent most of the year doing customer research."

"Though Flitwick's miffed," George said fairly. "Sent us a Howler at home, screeching about how we could have got Outstanding N.E.W.T.s in Charms."

"At least that's what we think it said. Mum was shouting over it."

"I don't doubt it."

George sniffed. "Doesn't matter. We could have got Outstanding N.E.W.T.s in Potions, if we'd taken it."

"But who wanted two more years with Snape?"

"And your mother...?"

"Oh, she didn't chuck us out or anything," Fred said. "She's in a right temper, but she wouldn't do that."

"Then why are you here?"

George puffed up like a popinjay. "We've rented premises in Diagon Alley for Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes."

"There's a flat above the shop we mean to share."

"But we, er..." George shrugged. "We got moving in something of a hurry, and we forgot that we didn't have any furniture."

"We could Apparate back home--"

"--but we sort of told Mum that we had everything under control--"

"--and we'd be fine."

"You can stay here as long as you'd like," Sirius said. "Or better yet, take any furniture you fancy from here, except for Buckbeak's bed, which he's attached to. Do you want a pair of snake candlesticks that'll bite if you don't keep an eye on them?"

"Thanks," Fred said. "We could use two beds and a table and a couple of chairs."

"Mum gave us cooking cauldrons. Said she could at least send us out with something."

"But what we're really here for..." Fred grinned at George.

"Other than a place to stay the night..."

"And we know you might not want to give it to us..."

"Even if we, er, solemnly swear we're up to no good..."

They looked up with identically hopeful expressions.

Remus shook his head. "Harry has the map."

"As well he should. It's his." George glanced at Fred, then looked back at Remus and Sirius. "What we want is how to make it. We'd cut you both in."

"Reckon it would sell in big families. It definitely would have come in handy to know where Ginny was eavesdropping from sometimes."

"And there'd probably be a few more made at Hogwarts."

Sirius cocked an eyebrow in Remus's direction. "I don't know, Moony. Should we let them in on it?"

"I'm not sure how marketable it is. It needed quite a lot of magic from each of us to get it to answer properly. It's not a generalized sort of item." He sighed. "And honestly, even if you only wanted it to reveal where people are, I'm not sure, with the war on, that it would be a good idea to have it readily available to anyone who wants it. I mean, we've been depending quite a lot on Invisibility Cloaks, and the map would render them useless if one of the Death Eaters had one."

"Are we sure one doesn't?" Sirius asked. "Wormtail may be hopeless at magic, but he was there while we did it, and a halfway decent Legilmens would be able to pull it out of him."

Remus considered this. It hadn't occurred to him at all that Peter would have shared the tricks of the Marauder's Map with Voldemort, which was odd when he considered it closely. He'd given up James and Lily's lives; a shared schoolboy secret was hardly going to be sacred to him. And certainly, no Death Eater had attempted to break into the Department of Mysteries while a Cloaked Order member was present. And unlike Sirius, he didn't think Peter would have needed anyone else to work the magic.

"And anyway," Fred said, "that brings up another use--home security. We'd market it as a toy because that's what we sell, but it wouldn't take long for people to figure out that it would also tell them whether or not they were alone in their houses when they thought they were. Or who was at the front door."

"We'll talk about it and get back to you." Remus took the last of the bread. "I hope you're ready to open your shop without it."

"Oh, yes," George said. "We're out of fireworks--"

"--and Skiving Snackboxes--"

"--but they were put to good use, and we're ready to make more. And we've still got a good supply of Headless Hats and a lot of other trick sweets. We expect most of the walk-in business to be in sweets at first. Canary Creams are fun."

"And Ton-Tongue Toffee is good to feed to other people." Fred grinned. "At least if they can't keep their fat fingers off of it."

They laughed.

"What is Ton-Tongue Toffee?" Sirius asked.

"It's got a Swelling Solution in it. Makes a person's tongue come out like a snake."

"Totally temporary, but good for a laugh."

"We dropped one in front of Harry's bullying lump of a cousin just before the World Cup. You should have seen him."

(I don't know what happened to the boy the summer before this, but he came back to school a different boy in a lot of ways... he must have lost forty pounds of fat in four months, and I don't think that's safe...)

Remus closed his eyes. "Dudley is terrified of magic."

"We already got this lecture from Dad. Don't worry. We're not giving it to any more Muggles."

"And it will be labeled."

"Lots of warnings on anything dangerous."

The image of Severus, upside down by the lake, came back again. Remus took a deep breath. "Right," he said. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spoil your good mood."

"Not possible. We're free of Umbridge, we've got premises, and we're ready to go." George Summoned a butterbeer and popped it open. "And we promise we won't hurt anyone."

Remus looked at them dubiously, then shook his head. "All right. Now, do I even want to know what a Skiving Snackbox is?"

They spent the rest of the evening talking, the twins filling them in on everything that had been happening at Hogwarts, Sirius letting them know quite a lot of what had been going on in the Order. He spent an inordinate amount of time recapping Remus's personal life for the boys, who were both greatly amused and a bit impressed. The next morning, they were even more greatly amused by Remus's appearance charms as he headed out to Smeltings, and offered him a cane to go with his white hair and wrinkles (Remus had no doubt that the cane would turn into a stork).

When he got to the office, he e-mailed Dudley, asking him to come before lunch. He got back a reply almost immediately: "You know what I want."

Yes, Remus typed. And I'm ready to discuss it with you.
13 comments or Leave a comment
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: February 3rd, 2005 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeee. I know you've heard it before, but the way you end these sections is wonderful and infuriating. :)

I noticed a few typos, mainly in the top quarter or so... there was a hear instead of hair and a wiht instead of with...

And you're right - why wouldn't Peter have come up with some sort of version of the map to be used by the Death Eaters? I'd never thought of that at all.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 3rd, 2005 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
And you're right - why wouldn't Peter have come up with some sort of version of the map to be used by the Death Eaters? I'd never thought of that at all.

Honestly, I never thought of it until the middle of the conversation. It was supposed to go straight into the home security aspect!
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: February 3rd, 2005 11:48 am (UTC) (Link)
And I love the way you take it from Snape's Worst Memory *and* the twins leaving school and then tie those JKR elements into your own story of Dudley's experience with magic.

I honestly didn't see that coming, but it makes such perfect logical sense...
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: February 3rd, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that was SO enjoyable! Flitwick sending the twins a howler was hysterical, and then the suggestion that they didn't hear it becasue their mother was yelling louder than the howler... LMAO!
Sirius's reaction was spot on and I love the way the story ties the characters together so well. Right down to Dudley's 'scarring' from the Ton-Tongue Toffee.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: February 3rd, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow... your line with Sirius once again reminded me how close to the end this fic is, and it's chilling.

I would ask for you to end the fic before his death, but in a sort of morbid way, I think it'll do a lot for the plot. Dora and Remus will have to face a tragic event for both of them together, and there's no telling how they'll cope. I also have to kill Sirius off too when I write my during-OoTP-fic, and so I know how it feels. Not fun, especially when dealing with the people closest to him. Poor Dora, Remus, and Harry... and Andromeda too, come to think of it.

Ack, now I'm going to be depressed this morning! Thanks a whole lot! ;)
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 3rd, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)


"(I don't know what happened to the boy the summer before this, but he came back to school a different boy in a lot of ways... he must have lost forty pounds of fat in four months, and I don't think that's safe...)"

Absolutely brilliant. I would have never thought of it.

trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: February 3rd, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay twins! The comic relief brigade has arrived!

There were a bunch of typos. You should give it another read-through to catch them.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: February 3rd, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since other people have already mentioned other things I really liked--the death foreshadowing, Flitwick's Howler, Dudley's Ton Tongue Toffe trauma--here's another line that I really liked:

<"Fred, George," he said. "Aren't you meant to be somewhat north of here?"

It's a classic Remus understatement!

Am glad that Remus is willing to discuss Dudley's desire for a memory charm. I was getting worried about both of them.
From: isabela113 Date: February 4th, 2005 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
It is interesting to see the twins with Sirius and Remus, since they get so much comparison to the Marauders. What struck me, though, was the paralell specifically to these two men. It is nothing I can point to directly in this chapter, just a more generalized idea based on my perceptions of the characters. I think though, that Fred seems, like Sirius, to have good intentions but becomes blinded by his own pursuit of the joke or the spotlight or whatever, while George seems more aware of what the consequences of a given action will be, as Remus does.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 5th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, this whole story is just brilliant - a very minor point that I have yet to see correct in any fan fiction - I believe

Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes

should be Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 5th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh, you're right! I just remembered it the other way and for some reason didn't even think to check.
murgatroyd314 From: murgatroyd314 Date: February 6th, 2005 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
It's inconsistent in canon. On page 51 of GoF (the first mention of the venture), it's "Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes". On page 595 of OotP (Fred & George's departure from Hogwarts), it's "Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes". (British paperback edition of GoF, British hardcover edition of OotP)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 6th, 2005 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, maybe they changed the name in the interim...
13 comments or Leave a comment