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Shades, Chapter Sixteen: Interlude (4): Fade, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter Sixteen: Interlude (4): Fade, pt. 3
Ugh, I have a headache. It's making me sour-tempered. My hands also hurt, becaue they've given us a table instead of a desk, and it's maybe six inches higher, and in order to work the keyboard, my arms are at entirely the wrong angle. I didn't notice it building up until late. Tomorrow, I'm going to mess around with the chair to get it higher. Meanwhile, I think I'm going to go put my wrist brace on.

Anyway, what better way to take it out than some werewolf scenes. I wrote some of this longhand, but I'm not sure how much I can still decipher!

Greyback has been called away with the DEs to do some mischief under the full moon, and Remus is left with the others. He's able to slip away and get Moody to warn him about Greyback, and when he gets back, he finds himself talking to Sweet, who's been talking to a Death Eater. He stays a bit too long (it's getting close to sunset/moonrise), and is shooed out of the females' area. The other men gathered in the meeting clearing are hostile, so he runs back toward his shed, where Alderman finds him, and they get to the cave where the boys transform just in time.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

It is raining and the cave smells of moss and wet fur and rabbits' blood.

There is no squabbling over the carcasess when he gives them a sharp grow. One pup bares his teeth playfully, but the others only sit on their haunches, whining. The other grown wolf rolls over and shows his belly.

Blood floods into Lupin's mouth, the scent of it boiling into his brain and blotting out the name so tentatively trying to surface. He eats his fill, then leaves the remains to the others. The urge to hunt is still with him, though his hunger is sated. He moves up in the cave, away from the pups.

A howl breaks the silence and he follows it up toward the surfce, toward the cool, wet air outside. He smells her before he sees the outline of rocks against the stormy sky and he runs toward the scent, the overpowering smell of her.

She howls again and he nearly runs full tilt into the rocks.

He howls back.

She scratches at the rock from the other side, digging and making sharp, yapping sounds, and the smell is stronger.

He digs at the rocks until his paws are bloody and he leaves smears on their surface. The rock tips.

Then there is a yowl of pain, a new scent, still a scent of
them, stronger and filling his skull. The new one nudges at the rock and it rolls back into its place.

He sidles to the edge of the rock, the narrow passageay to the outside, too small for him. He runs at it anyway and is thrown back. As he lies, dazed on the ground, he sees a grey-furred paw reach inside. He makes a lazy grab for it with his jaws, but only catches her skin before she pulls away, howling.

He howls back and paws at the rock.

He does not know how long this goes on, but it is still happening when the pains begin again he is twisted backward, thrashing against the rocks, and he

was aware of himself as he changed, aware of his body collapsing inward, aware of the layer of sweat that covered him, aware--keenly--of his body's urges releasing themselves painfully as he transformed.

Remus lay quietly on the rocks, his eyes closed. He could feel the blood rising to his face and knew he was flushed. He felt distantly ashamed.

"You'll want to clean up," Alderman said from somewhere above him. "Before Greyback gets a good whiff and knows it was you she came after."

"She?" Remus muttered weakly. "What? What do you...?"

"Probably Mina," Alderman said casually. "Whichever one is Greyback's usually goes after someone else if he's gone, and she was making noises about you yesterday. That's why I brought you here. I saw her headed up to the shed. Figured you'd have a longer life expectancy if I got you clear of her."

Remus considered the implications of this, and nodded, getting to his feet. "Thank you," he said.

"Greyback aside, I don't figure anyone would want to wake up with Mina."

Remus smiled. "Good guess."

"I mean, she's pretty enough. But not really the brainy sort."

"Oddly enough, transformed, that didn't seem to be an issue of vast importance."

"Tell me about it. Do you believe me about them now? What I was telling you back in August?"

"Oh, yes."

"Bloody evil, they are." Alderman shook his head helplessly. "You... well, not transformed... your girl... is she smart?"

"I don't have a girlfriend anymore."

"Oh. I just..." He shrugged. "I wondered. I never had one."

"I didn't live in the forest when I was fifteen, and still hadn't had one."

"Right." Alderman nodded, then disappeared into the shadows.

Remus spent the next fifteen minutes sponging down the area around the mouth of the cave with a wet shirt Blondin brought for him, then had a quick, cold bath in the lake. He was nearly lulled into a pleasant if weary post-transformation euphoria when Hamilton ran back into the cave shouting, "Greyback's back! He wants everyone at the waterfall."

Remus groaned and swam to the shore, pulling on his clothes against his wet skin. The air outside was cold, and he shivered as he followed the boys down to the flat area by the river. He could hear voices before he saw the gathering.

"I didn't do anything!" Mina was protesting. "I didn't do a bloody damned thing, and you can smell it!"

"I found you at the boys' cave with a hole in your hand. Looks like someone trying to drag you around that rock and you not fighting much."

"It's not why I went! Don't you reckon if I meant to sneak on you that I'd have gone to one of the other blokes? One of the ones out running about?"

Remus came to the edge of the clearing. Mina had fallen to her knees in front of Greyback, but she looked sullen and argumentative. Her hand was bleeding, and he remembered biting her.

Greyback paced in front of her, apparently not entirely certain what to do with her protestations. "You went there," he spat. "You think I don't know what you meant by it?" He turned on Remus and the boys. "Oh, of course. Lupin." He sniffed at Remus. "And all clean and prettified, too. Someone think that would be a good idea?"

"I was in the cave all night," Remus said.

"And she were right outside it!" Greyback flailed an arm in Mina's direction.

"But not inside it."

Greyback sniffed. "That bath you took was stupid, Lupin. You can't lie to save your life."

"And I'm not lying when I tell you that there was no betrayal."

"Listen to him!" Mina said, moving forward on her knees. "I..." She looked at Alderman and bit her lip, and Remus guessed she was afraid that someone would talk about her "making noises" yesterday, but Alderman said nothing. "I only went because one of the little ones wandered away. I had to bring her back. You wouldn't want one of the little ones out in the woods with the blokes, now would you?"

Remus sat down heavily, thinking of the fight when Mina had appeared, the first he'd dug for, the first...

He took a shaky breath, but no one noticed.

"Which one was out of the cave?"

"I don't know," Mina said. "I'm not usually in there. I came when I grew up. I don't know who they are when they change."

Greyback spun on the group of huddled girls. "Come forward!"

The girls moved up in a group, bent forward.

"I was outside," Evelyn burst out. "We... we all... Well, there was a passage. We never saw it... we..." She looked around frantically. "I don't know where..."

"You don't lie any better than he does," Greyback said, cocking his thumb in Remus's direction.

"I was out," a tiny voice said, and Sweet pushed her way forward through the crowd of girls. "Evelyn was just trying to cover for me. I swam under a rock before sunset."

"You see!" Mina said. "It was her!"

"Quite a scratch on your face," Greyback said, examining four parallel marks on her scarred cheek. "Mina did that?"

"No. I... I went at that gate. After Mina... helped me back. The one by our cave? You know the one. It threw me back. I broke some branches and cut my face on them."

"I've told you to stay away from that thing," Mina said frantically.

"Now, why would you tell her that, when she's always inside?" Greyback asked.

He went among the three of them, sniffing and questioning, but finally couldn't prove to himself that Mina had done anything deliberate to be near the cave, that Remus had done anything to assist her, or that Sweet hadn't been hurt in the manner she described. In a high temper, he slapped Mina backhand and sent her sprawling into the water, but stormed away before he did any more damage. Remus sat through all of it without saying much, his mind gnawing at the idea that the first female he'd smelled, the first he'd tried to get through to, had been a child not old enough to have been Sorted into a House at Hogwarts.

"I didn't do anything," Mina muttered again.

"Oh, don't mind Greyback," the man Stanfield said. "He was going to bring us some comp'ny today, and the bloody Aurors got in his way. They guessed this fellow might have made someone angry, what with his rabble rousing and insulting the new order. Whole place was locked down tight and some one-eyed madman was standing around insultin' us 'til moonrise. Bloke's lucky we didn't bring him back."

Remus clamped his jaw and didn't speak, not wanting to send himself into another tailspin like last month--nothing had happened, after all.

But it was only because of well-placed rocks.

After a bit of desultory talk about the nastiness of Aurors and the Werewolf Capture Unit, the meeting broke apart, and Remus was left in the clearing with Mina, Sweet, and Alderman. Mina grabbed Sweet and started talking to her in an intense whisper that Remus couldn't hear.

Alderman sighed and shook his head. "Let it go, mate," he said. "I helped kill someone and I don't look as bad as you do."

Remus blinked. "I'm sorry," he said. "I... I'm being awfully selfish, aren't I? Do you need to talk about that?"

"No. It's over. And I'm getting away from Greyback. I don't care how. I'll stay as long as I have to, but I'm getting away from him. I don't like this. The Werewolf Capture people are right. We're monsters. I don't want to be. I want to..." He shrugged. "I want to register with the Ministry and be good."

"Greyback isn't asking you to spy on me, is he?"

"No. But I reckon that's smart thing to ask."

"I'll help you."

"I hoped you would." Alderman nodded sharply and left the clearing.

Remus took a deep breath and got to his feet, heading toward Sweet and Mina, who were still having a heated, whispered argument.

"...want to keep watching what comes from your mouth you little--" Mina was saying.

"You're lucky I was out," Sweet hissed. "Gave you an excuse."

"I didn't need any excuses."

"I knew what you meant to do. I went out to stop you. It's not nice and Greyback would have hurt Remus, the same as that other chap got hurt last year."

Mina started to say something, then apparently couldn't think of what she meant. "Fine," she said. "But don't you go talking about claw scratches. Though I don't see any difference, to tell the truth." She looked disdainfully at Sweet's scars, and stalked away.

Sweet looked at the ground, but turned to Remus. "I... er..."

"Never, ever leave the cave under the moon again," Remus said.

"All right," she agreed immediately, then looked up and smiled shyly. "You're fine, though?"

"I'm fine. And you?" He looked at the harsh cuts below her eye. "Those 'broken branches' scratched you pretty deeply."

She touched her face distastefully. "One of them really was. I did run at that gate. It was like it was calling. Only it threw me away. The bottom scratch really is from a branch."

"What do you mean, it 'threw you'?"

"I mean, I took a jump at it and it was like hitting wires or something. It threw me quite a long way, actually. Do you know what it is? You know about magic things, don't you?"

"It may repel dark creatures." He winced, wishing he hadn't used the term around Sweet, but she didn't seem to notice it. "I'll see if I can find anything out about it."

"Do you hate me?"


"Do you hate me? About what I did? I must have followed your scent or something, and it must have been on purpose and--"

"I don't hate you, Sweet. I just want you to stay in the cave."

She nodded. "Right. It's embarrassing."

"There are things we know about a long time before we should."

"I was going to try and stop Mina. That's stupid. She's bigger than I am."

"You're a brave girl, and you tried to help a friend. But don't do it anymore."

She laughed. "I get the idea."


"I should go back," she said. "I'll... I'll see you at lessons, all right? Can I still come to lessons?"

"Of course you can."

She nodded and walked away.
18 comments or Leave a comment
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: January 26th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Sweet. Trying to stop Mina -- or under the moon, maybe competing with Mina. Lying with the truth to Greyback's face. And it would've about killed Remus afterward if he'd gotten hold of her.

...So Alderman wants out. And likes smart girls. Getting in touch with Bill soon?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2006 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
And it would've about killed Remus afterward if he'd gotten hold of her.

No kidding. That's a lot of what Alderman was trying to warn him about early on, I think.

And, yeah. Bill's in the next section.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: January 26th, 2006 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. Goodness. This whole section was a bit gut-wrenching, but the line that got me was Remus asking Alderman if he wanted to talk about things... I love Remus. Can I keep him, please? :)
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 26th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
There is no squabbling over the carcasess when he gives them a sharp grow.

harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: January 26th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Remus. Trying to get at Sweet won't particularly help matters with Dora, will it? Unless he's so busy getting Alderman out he doesn't have time to brood. Oh, I want him to rescue everyone. I can't really see how he could do that and not have Greyback kill him before the end of the book though.

One point of confusion that I forgot to mention earlier: I may just not have read carefully, but I was confused at the start of this interlude. It seemed that Remus was just getting back to the pack after his excursion to the wizarding world, not that he was getting back from hunting, so I was confused for a while until I figured out was going on. It's possible another look at that section would prove that I was mistaken, but as I have class in less that an hour and still haven't written what I need to turn in, I probably shouldn't take that time. Or be writing this. But it's Fernfic! I can't help reading even when I should be in bed or at class or whatever.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm trying to work out the logistics of where the kids can go once they're out. At first, I was thinking Hogwarts is a possibility for the wizard-werewolves but I have no idea what will happen with Hogwarts in book 7. No surprise, however, if Voldemort manages to move in.

There's Beauxbatons. Hard to tell what the attitude in France is towards werewolves, but anyone who's dated Hagrid (who, after all, thinks Aragog is just a large, eight-legged puppy) should be open on the issue. But I'm not sure that a foriegn country with a new language is the best place to send children who may be already be split on whether the larger world is worth the effort.

Also, unlike Remus, I don't think there'd be much of a chance of hiding the fact the new students were werewolves. Multiple students who always disappear around the time of the full moon are a lot harder to make excuses for than just one.

On the other hand, Bill's going to be in an odd place, partly werewolf cursed but with none of the social-legal problems. He's also going to be badly scarred and married to a partly nonhuman witch, plus he's got strong ties to the Goblin community. Apart from Remus, he might be the outsider werewolves would be most inclined to trust. He's also in a somewhat influential position to help them.

As a side thing, I'm wondering if Bill's injuries may not render him immune to later werewolf bites (as far as becoming a werewolf goes, not the being torn to shreds part)? Like cowpox rendering people immune to the more serious smallpox? Although werewolf attacks are nothing to sneeze at, not having to be afraid of being cursed could strengthen his ability to work with them (not to mention the possibilities of a werewolf vaccine . . . a wizarding world made up of people who like their steaks rare . . . I don't know about this).

Oh, and was the tree that threw Sweet out an entry to the Forbidden Forest?

sharonaf From: sharonaf Date: January 26th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Good as usual!

In a couple of places, however, I think the children's voices dimmed.
"Figured you'd have a longer life expectancy if I got you clear of her."

"It threw me quite a long way, actually."

In both cases, I think you slid from your usual dead-on childlike simplicity of expression to something cleverer, more self-aware, etc.
Just a thought.
As always, I enjoyed and look forward to the next installment! Esp. seeing how he sneak Alderman away!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 26th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good as usual!

I actually liked the way that was done. Both Alderman and Sweet move up a notch from where they were before, maturity-wise, and the way they spoke reflected that. Sweet was taking her first steps in trying to aggressively fight to "have" Remus, and her speech reflects this emotional and physical growth in her. At the end of this section, she is a hearbreaking combination of child and woman. Alderman - I'm cheering him along so loudly as he begins to see through Greybacfk and think for himself and take this decision to leave.

As you can tell, I really liked this section.
sharonaf From: sharonaf Date: January 26th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good as usual!

Hmm, yes. That is a good point, with how they're growing. But I've never actually heard a preteen speak that way, unless she's specifically trying to imitate someone -- which she might well be doing, actually.
The Alderman sequence, I like the growth, but I'm not sure where he's getting his speech patterns. The idea of the statement is great, but to me it would sound more natural to him to say something like, "Figured you'd live longer if I got you clear of her."
As always, this sort of thing is in the eye of the beholder. Just thought I'd note it! It's the sort of thing I occasionally do with my own writing, and am never aware of it until too late...
These may be the intended effects, in which case kindly ignore the suggestion!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Good as usual!

No, it's actually well-noted. Sweet is imitating Remus more and more as time goes on, so she's probably developing a larger vocabulary, but I do have to be careful with it. For one thing, while developing a large vocabulary, there are typically a lot of mistakes in using it! Alderman isn't a pre-teen; he's Ginny's age. I don't know about "life expectancy," but I'll keep it in mind.

Thanks (to both of you)!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: January 26th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is Remus truly oblivious to Sweet's crush on him or is he trying desperately to turn a blind eye? Or maybe his own shame at trying to get at her is blocking out the circuits of logic in his brain that are necessary for deducing Sweet's motives... You know, at this point, I'm really hoping Alderman doesn't die (or worse - get caught trying to escape and be punished), and I hope this crush of Sweet's doesn't mean she'll begin to resent him for not returning her affection.. Oh, damn. That's what's going to happen, isn't it?

Overall, this was a great read - all your Remus sections invariably are. (Not that your Dora sections are bad - they're awesome - but I've told you before that I get the feeling you're more comfortable in Remus's skin, even in spite of the decidedly prickly place he is in now.) Great dialogue, and your transitions etc are very smooth. I lost myself in the story again, and that's a feat, given how short the section is.

victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: January 26th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely wonderful. I'm so glad that Alderman wants out, as he's quickly becoming my favourite OC.
sea_thoughts From: sea_thoughts Date: January 26th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent, but then I always like your werewolf chapters. Alderman has really grown on me, from a confused boy to one who is 'on the verge of manhood' as the centaurs would put it. And Sweet is heartbreaking. From what I can see, Remus doesn't really see that she's developing a crush on him and that's as it should be, because she'd be mortified if he knew.

Your description of the wolf's senses was intense as always. Very sensuous. It creates a great conflict with the human part of Remus, which is quite cerebral.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 27th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Amazing stuff. The interludes have always been my favourites, and this is no exception. I haven't told you this before, but I absolutely love your characterisation of Alderman...sort of defiant but at the same time wistful. Him and weet deserve so much more than what they have. I feel so bad for them!
sep12 From: sep12 Date: January 27th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
For some reason, I was confused near the end. I was thinking that Sweet really was covering for Mina, who was near the cave trying to find Remus, and Mina was who Remus was trying to get at, not Sweet. Am I just reading this wrong?

Alderman is my favorite of the pack. (I would say pick of the litter, but that would be a very bad joke :) ). I am glad he wants out, and I am just wondering how many more of the cubs are going to want to go with Remus. It would be lovely if he could save them and maybe start up a little school for them after the War, but that's a long way coming.

I haven't been reviewing as often as I would like to, due to school overload, but I am reading faithfully and I just love this fic. I especially like that Dora is capable. There is so much fic that portrays Dora as just some stupid little girl who lucked into an auror job because she can change her appearance, but that's the only reason. But I've always thought that she is tough and smart and very good at her job, and I like that you see (and portray) her in that way too.

Shameless gushing is now over. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 27th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
For some reason, I was confused near the end. I was thinking that Sweet really was covering for Mina, who was near the cave trying to find Remus, and Mina was who Remus was trying to get at, not Sweet. Am I just reading this wrong?

Yeah, but that's because I was obviously not clear.

Situation is that Mina was planning to batten on Remus and Sweet did go out with the (somewhat disingenuous) plan to "stop" her, but Sweet got there first, because she transformed and was tracking Remus's scent. (How she managed to miss the men, I don't know; maybe I should just start calling her "Lucky" instead.) Mina arrived and swatted her out of the way, injuring her, and she ran back to the women's area. Greyback, who tends to maul cheating females and kill the males they cheat with, knows something was going on, but Sweet covers for Mina by admitting that she had gotten out, and then basically says that Mina kindly escorted her back to the women's area, and those scratches aren't at all Mina getting into a dogfight with her over a guy, since that would have ended up with both of them getting hurt.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 27th, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't think of anything insightful to say, as my brain shut down some time ago, so I shall merely say... great job (as always).

By the way, remember I was challenges to write a sonnet on angioplasty? I finally wrote it - though I don't think it will win any prizes (except for 'weirdest subject matter for a petrarchan sonnet'....)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 23rd, 2006 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Oneof these years I really need to get an account

Have I told you lately that this is brilliant? You have such a fine grasp of characterization and way you weave it and canon together is just delightful!

Typo (missing "l"): "There is no squabbling over the carcasess when he gives them a sharp grow. "

McGonagall's Cat
18 comments or Leave a comment