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Shades, Chapter 32: Interlude (8): Make Me Human, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shades, Chapter 32: Interlude (8): Make Me Human, pt. 3
Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Dora blinked at him, shaking her head numbly. "Remus, we can't... there's nothing..."

Remus looked at the pups, gathered around the gate, looking on with little more than curiosity, though Aldmerman seemed to have picked up that something was going on.


"Don't look up," Remus said automatically. In his mind, it was the night Greyback had first entered his life again, a night in a warm field, with trees rising at the far horizon. They'd been there in the trees. Waiting. They should have had him.

"Moon's not risen yet," Alderman said sulkily.

"It will. You..." Remus shook his head sharply. They hadn't had him. Hadn't had him because someone got in the way.

Want what the wolf wants.

He swallowed hard. The wolf wanted only one thing when it came to Greyback. Remus forced himself to look at the children. "Boys, you turn your backs and keep your heads down while Dora gets the girls through. There will be people on the other side. Dora, you'll have to give them a sign when it's all right, but work fast, they can't put it off for long, and--"

"Remus, what in the hell do you mean to do? I thought you were going to be directing the children around until they changed."

He ignored this. "You'll have to keep the girls off the boys when they change. They'll smell them human. I'd give Alderman the wand, but he doesn't know how to use it."


"He has to be distracted," Remus said. "It's the only way. Greyback has brought enough werewolves to destroy all of them. I--" He felt a cramp in his stomach and knew that the threshold was passing, that he didn't have much time. "I have to go, Dora."

"You don't even know where you're going."

"A few miles outside Shrewsbury," Remus said. "I think I can find Greyback. This close... I think I can smell him. I think... I want to find him."

"No, no. I need you here, and you can't do anything there except end up joining him."

"I can slow him down."

"And if you get distracted by a nearby human?"

"Dora, there is no other choice. I can't do what's necessary here, and if Greyback does know, we won't have another chance. And he'll teach us lesson." Remus grimaced. After Christmas, he knew what Greyback would mean to do. They'd be finding the children for the next five years. In pieces. Another cramp shuddered through him. He could feel Dora breathing close by. "In the air," he said. "Set up the barriers now."

"Remus, you can't..."

"I have to. I love you. I never meant to hurt you. Get them out of here."

He felt her hand on his arm and turned to look at her one last time before the moon rose. Her eyes were wide and frightened, but she gulped and nodded, pulling her broomstick around and mounting it smoothly. He could see her hands trembling. She rose and hovered at eye level. "Be careful, Remus," she said. "Meet us in France. I'll go straight there and wait for you. And then come home with me."

He fought not to look up when she took off. A bright sheet of light came up to one side, and Remus realized that Dora had started the magical fire that would keep the clearing closed off while she prodded the pups through the gate. A wild fear rose in his heart, clouding his mind, and he fought for control, fought to hold on. Just long enough.

He squeezed his eyes shut, turned on his heel, and Apparated.

"Well, well," someone said, his voice half a growl. "Look who made it."

Remus opened his eyes. He was crouched in the mud. Greyback was naked and ecstatic, holding off his change. Beside Remus was a limp form in black, splattered with mud and blood.

"Montgomery," Remus gasped. The priest's throat had been ripped open, and his blood was soaking into the dirt. His body was already stiffening.

"Barely put up a fight," Greyback said. "The others are a bit more fun." He swung his arm toward the dooryard, and Remus saw a couple and a small boy crouched beside a pump, surrounded by the other werewolves. The woman had her wand and was throwing weak Stunning Spells, most missing their targets in her hysteria. The targets, the other men, were guarding the door to the house. The man's wand was broken on a rock. The child was crying. Screaming. "Uncle Jerry." Over and over. He was trying to break away from his parents, to run toward his uncle, as if it weren't already too late.

Remus couldn't think. He could smell Montgomery's blood and feel the moon and smell his own fear. The incessant screaming of the child bored into his skull. He had to...

With the last burst of concentration he could find, he raised his own wand and toppled a tree across the dooryard, then lit it with the same magical fire Dora was using in the forest.

He turned back to Greyback.

"Thought you might make it," Greyback said, then took a deep, joyful breath and looked up at the sky.

His body blocked the mooon for a moment, and Remus saw him start to change, heard the cry of pained exaltation, saw the claws begin to emerge. He could hear snarls and howls now beyond the fire.

"Go!" he yelled at the Montgomery family. "RUN! Now! You won't get another chance!"

Then Greyback moved and the moon came into view, and

the transformation rips through him like a dull knife, tearing flesh and breaking bones. His robes are shredded to nothing in moments.

There is heat and light and the smell of prey, but mostly there is the Other, Alpha... but no longer of his pack. There is prey and there is space, but not until Alpha is gone.

He growls deep in his throat, crouches, leaps, his claws outstretched and teeth bared.

He hits Alpha like a wave striking a rock, and his strength shatters against he return blow. Claws tear across his chest, drawing deep red lines, and teeth clamp against the back of his neck. He kicks futilely, clawing at the earth, trying to pull away, and is shaken like a prey animal and thrown to the ground, dazed.

Alpha howls, breaking the night, and there is a scream: "NO!"

The wolf catches his breath and leaps back to his feet. Alpha has prey in his mouth, tearing, and another human is running forward, waving something.

He launches himself at Alpha again, knocking him down, away from the bleeding prey. Something flashes and stings his side, and he is pushed away, then there is another figure rushing in, another, stronger blast of power, and Alpha yelps like a small dog, jumping away, and that is good, that is right, he is weak.

The wolf dives on Alpha again, ripping at his shoulder, but the weakness doesn't last, and Alpha bats him savagely across the legs, flaying muscles, then clamps his teeth down on his neck. He feels his blood begin to flow, his mind going darker and darker... he won't die like this, will save this humiliation for his own other, will...

The man makes a strangled sound and there is another yelp from Alpha, then suddenly the smell is gone and the blood scent is vile and

Remus looked up at the full moon, red with the blood that was filling his eyes. His legs seemed to be on fire and he could feel the wind deep inside his chest.

So this was all it took. All he had to do was die, and he could look straight at the full moon. Good to know.

From the corner of his eye, he could see the woman he took to be Mrs. Montgomery weeping over a bloody bundle, and Mr. Montgomery, a wand raised--and Remus realized it was his own wand--was crouched beside the body of his brother, his teeth bared at the shadows of the forest. He'd extended the magical fire, and the other werewolves were howling behind it as Remus lay dying alone in the middle of a stranger's tragedy.

He felt himself fading, the world shrinking around him. First, the Montgomery brothers disappeared into the gray mists, then Mrs. Montgomery's shrieks became muffled and distant, and he imagined Dora's face, her hands, and he wanted to go home to her. He wondered if he would see Sirius and James and Lily. He thought of the past, and the disappearing future.

When cool hands touched his shoulders, he almost didn't feel them.

"Remus," a low voice said.

He knew the word. "I'm Remus," he said.

"Yes. You are."

Pain ripped through him as he was rolled over, and the world was full of white, white stars on a black sky, moonlight shining on white hair.

"Dumbledore," he whispered, then the mist closed in and he knew nothing else.
29 comments or Leave a comment
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 27th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Dear Lord. I thought with this chapter, it would be over, but it's not, is it.


Fern... unbelievable writing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 27th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I know he won't die, because we've seen him, but oh! I do love Remus so much. The poor, deluded, noble, wonderful man. Fern, you're amazing. And this really does give Tonks something to worry about!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... I was trying to think of just what would make an Auror as careless as she was when Harry saw her. I thought this would do it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. This is worse than Shifts at the DoM, because at least then we knew the major plot points. Brilliant writing.

Typo in the second paragraph...

though *Aldmerman* seemed to have picked up that something was going on.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I've managed to mistype Alderman's name two posts in a row! Thanks.
shadowturquoise From: shadowturquoise Date: August 27th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Why on earth did it take me by surprise that Remus would drop his plans and run off to protect the Montgomery family? We know he wouldn't be killed, but HE could be the one to kill the child! And the fact that Greyback expected to see him? Scary stuff. Its amazing how much surprise you manage to put into a story that we already know how ends.

One thing I don't remember if you addressed and I've just forgotten: is Remus back on Wolfsbane now?

A couple of typos:
"Dora, there is no other choice. I can't do what's necessary here, and if Greyback does know, we won't have another chance. And he'll teach us lesson." (a lesson?)

His body blocked the mooon for a moment, and Remus saw him start to change, toooooo many ooooooo's


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
toooooo many ooooooo's

Well, you know... it's the full moon. A-ROOOOO! ;)

No, Remus isn't back on Wolfsbane, but I should clarify that at some point.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: August 27th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
*Sniff* I knew Father Montgomery was doomed, but I couldn't help hoping ...

I cannot WAIT to see what happens to Greyback in book 7 (or failing that, what suitably unpleasant end you devise for him!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I didn't know he was going to die until I got to the actual setting and realized that he wouldn't hide behind his family if he thought he was the one getting them in trouble.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 27th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
That was... awful.
Great chapter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 27th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2006 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Well you didn't make me wait very long at all! I wasn't expecting an installment when I checked when I got home this afternoon. Now I've read it I'm not sure I really should have. I knew it was going to be grim but . . .

Thank you for sharing this,

izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 27th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
*wails* Oh, Remus, you noble, heroic idiot....

Fern, this is not what I was expecting, quite, and it's excellent. Froze my blood, made me gasp...

So this was all it took. All he had to do was die, and he could look straight at the full moon. Good to know.

In spite of knowing that he doesn't die...when I read that, for the moment I wasn't so sure. Which means kudos to you, once more.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: August 27th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
This chapter made it hard for me to sit still enough to keep reading. I like that there's wolf-psychology as well as werewolf-psychology and human-psychology in this - Greyback's simple and devastating plan, Remus' wolf changing back to give the humiliation of defeat and death to its "other", and the one-on-one battle to be Alpha.

It also made me wonder whether Greyback did intend to kill the Montgomery boy - I had thought that it was going to be an Alderman-style child transformation gone wrong, but this setup makes me think that yes, he did intend to kill the boy all along.

Poor Remus. Poor Dora.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Er, that aside, is Remus going to be in trouble? I mean, what with the being there on the night of a full moon and in the company of attacking werewolves? Yes, he saved the family, but none of this would have happened if Mr. Montgomery thought things through before finding someone to get mad at.

snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: August 27th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Remus. I had a horrible feeling you were about to try this, because yes, there wasn't much else that could pulverise Dora quite the way she was. That definitely wraps around the canon scene! At least you didn't have him be the one that killed the Montgomery boy.

Small typo: "His body blocked the mooon for a moment"

Curious stuff at the end there -- was Remus hallucinating? Oh well, I guess we'll find out in the next part WHICH YOU WILL BE WRITING SOON, RIGHT? :D

From: tonkstipied Date: August 27th, 2006 10:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Amazingly painful

and yet at least you alleviated the pain of waiting what would happen since yesterday. We know he won't die but still it hurts so much. The intensity with which you wrote this or the one with which I felt it outdid anything you had done before. In other words, I LOVED IT!

Oh yes, and i got to tell you a funny thing: As you may gather due to my user name, some of my friends call me Tonks but the funniest thing is that I live with a Remus. i swear. Everybody calls him that. Well, it's not the first time it happens but sometimes your story kinda matches something we have gone through (of course no magical hardships like,lol, at least not to this extent) but the latest event that made us laugh is that i'm being sent to France to work for a weekend. And that made us laugh. That is my friend buckbeakie texted me yesterday when I told her that saying: Good luck with the pups!

Once again thanks for that wonderful writing piece
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2006 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I knew something like that was coming, but it still had me on the edge of my seat! Fantastic writing ... I love the way you shift into 'wolf-mode' and back to human point of view when you write your interludes, it makes everything seem so much more real.

And we still don't know for sure that the pups got through safely. Oh, they better have, or else Father Montgomery would have died for nought. Please let the next instalment bring them to safety!

buckbeakbabie From: buckbeakbabie Date: August 27th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. God.

I second the fear that Remus will be in trouble for this. And the fight between remus and Greyback was very very well done. I love how you handle the transformation from Remus' point of view. Particularly the unfinished sentences. It works so well.

And I love that even Remus in wolf form wants revenge on Greyback.

I have a feeling we're going to find out more about what happened when Remus was bitten soon, aswell.

Wonderful, Fern.
From: doctorwhohp Date: August 27th, 2006 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Such a lovely, emotional chapter.
This chapter reminds me why I love Remus so much, he's such a noble prat. *shakeshead*
I love the shrewsbury reference, because I don't live far from there. :)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: August 27th, 2006 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

I can't leave a coherent review, I'm afraid - that was real edge of the seat stuff.
From: boldsunshine Date: August 27th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Still reading, still loving, etc.

I love Dumbledore and his way of saving people in the nick of time.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: August 27th, 2006 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG, hurry up and post the next chapter! I'm just wild to know what happens next.

I can't help but feel annoyed that Dumbledore couldn't kill Greyback while he was there rescuing Remus. But canon says that Greyback is present there at the end, so boohiss.
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: August 27th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
You manage to keep me on the edge of my seat, even we know what's destined to happen. And poor, noble Remus trying to stop the attack & nearly getting killed! No wonder Tonks was frantic at Hogwarts. Can't wait for more..
miss_tilney From: miss_tilney Date: August 27th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
This chapter is so beautifully written, I'm looking forward to going back to read it properly in one go, instead of rushing through to find out what happens.

Wonderful stuff, like everyone else I've been on the edge of my seat. And much more of that to come, I'm sure. Thank you.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 27th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I haven't commented here for a while, but after that I had to. I definitely forgot to breathe during that last part. Amazing writing.

- Whitney
From: lianna_blanca Date: August 27th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, thanks to you I'm now in serious danger of becoming a silly Remus fangirl. I've never been a fangirl, not partial to any pairing, but thanks to you my appreciation for Remus/Tonks has made me a shipper and now... Well, it's not a bad thing, I suppose.

But in words just like those of... someone above me: Remus, you noble IDIOT.
dalf From: dalf Date: September 5th, 2006 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
FIrst a typo:

He hits Alpha like a wave striking a rock, and his strength shatters against he return blow.

The return blow(?)

Ok I am totally lost about the DUng / mongomery / his brother / picturs line of logic. Should I understand it at this point? Should I go back and read or are you going to draw a map for those of us who are a bit slower in a later chapter?
29 comments or Leave a comment