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Shifts, Chapter 2, Part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chapter 2, Part 1
I have to go back to work tomorrow. Blah.

Table of contents
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Prologue summary: Remus's assignment during Harry's fifth year is to act as a guard on Dudley Dursley at Smeltings, posing as his history teacher. Nymphadora Tonks, posing as his wife (disguised and aged "appropriately") will make regular visits with his Wolfsbane Potion. Sirius is disturbed by the quiet at home, now that everyone except Remus is gone.

Chapter One
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Summary: Remus meets his office mate, a maths teacher named Allan Garvey, who tells him that his (Remus's) predecessor, boxing coach/history teacher Joe Levinson, left the position because of a mysterious disease. He also warns Remus that the boxers were pretty darned dedicated to Joe--a good fellow by all accounts--and Joe's replacement might have some trouble with them. In part 2, Remus teaches his first two classes, falling back into the position gratefully. He and Garvey are on their way to lunch when they meet a group of older kids bullying two of Remus's first form students. It appears to be led by Piers Polkiss, but the real leader of the group identifies himself--Dudley Dursley. Remus meets Dudley's class, and gets a brief Dudley's eye view of the world--full of little runts (Hitler, in Dudley's example) who need to be pounded before they start thinking they're too powerful. Tonks picks him up to take him home.

Remus met his third and fourth form classes on Tuesday morning, and his A-level classes on Tuesday afternoon. He was only able to catch sight of Dudley Dursley on the grounds--as with his assignment to look out for Harry at Hogwarts two years ago, becoming close enough to actually protect him wasn't quite as easy as it had looked in theory. Harry, at least, had liked him. Dudley resented him, and wasn't going to suddenly appear for extra lessons.

Remus had gone over Joe Levinson's notes again over lunch, hoping that he'd missed some vital piece of information about how (and why) he'd taken a liking to the boy. Dudley was difficult to like. But Levinson's notes were purely academic. The only thing that stood out was a note saying, "Dursley has determination. Possible good mind, difficult to reach." The word "difficult" had been underlined twice, and circled for good measure.

It wasn't helpful. Everything led back to the same idea--he was going to have to meet Joe Levinson and talk to him, face to face, to find out about Dudley and to learn about whatever illness had forced him to leave his position. The Order meeting wouldn't be until Saturday evening. With some trepidation, he told Allen Garvey that his plans for Saturday's lunch had been cancelled, and belatedly accepted his earlier invitation. It was cutting things close--there were also preparations to make for the full moon on Sunday night--but if he was going to do his job, there were things he'd need to know.

Wednesday was a repetition of the Monday schedule, and after his first form class, he spoke briefly to Metcalf and Southall, who refused to confirm what that Piers and Dudley had, in fact, been bullying them.

Remus sighed. "I expected as much," he said. "But try to steer clear of them."

Both boys nodded and left.

Daniel Morse, one of his second forms, came to visit him in his office during his free period, happily showing him a stack of books he'd found on the Renaissance in the Smeltings library.

"I was reading in this one," Daniel said, pulling one of the books out from the bottom, "that if it weren't for the Black Plague, we wouldn't have had the Renaissance."

"How does that work?"

"Well, the book says that a lot of people died in the plague, and that meant there weren't enough craftsmen and workers and such, so they became valuable. And there were guilds and such, and everyone felt more, you know, important. And that's why all the thinking changed."

"What do you think?"

Daniel blinked and pointed at the page. "It says--"

"Do you agree?"

"Oh. I... well, it's interesting, don't you think?"

"It's intriguing. What would have happened if we'd cured the plague?"

"We might still be in the Dark Ages." Daniel wrinkled his nose. "It's pretty awful, though, isn't it, when you think about it? All those people dying, I mean? Could you imagine telling them, 'Sure, you're dying, but we'll have a really nice time afterward'?"

"Unfortunately, that's been the course a lot of history. A lot of people get hurt, and then a new idea comes along."

"Well, that's a depressing thought," someone said at the door.

Remus looked up. Dora was standing there, transformed into her middle-aged self, carrying a picnic basket. He smiled. "Hello, Dora."

"Hello, darling," she said, and blew him a kiss.

Remus caught it and rolled his eyes at her. "This is one of my pupils," he said. "Dora, this is Daniel Morse; Daniel, my wife Dora Lewis."

Daniel bowed in fine Smeltings tradition. Dora bowed right back, bumping her head against his. They both laughed.

"Don't let him depress you," she said, flinging a hand in Remus's general direction. "Sometimes people just have ideas for the fun of it."

Daniel laughed. "Thank you, Mrs. Lewis." He turned and nodded to Remus. "May I come again, Professor Lewis? I'll read more."

"Any time the door is open," Remus said.

Daniel grinned in delight, grabbed his prodigious pile of books, and headed out.

"Teacher's pet?" Dora asked, eyes dancing.

"Just a boy who enjoys history."

"I swear, you look younger when you're doing this." She set the basket down on his desk and began to pull out a vast lunch--cold chicken, tunafish sandwiches, a loaf of bread, milk, and two thermoses. She opened one and sniffed, then wrinkled her nose. "This is yours," she said. "I have minestrone."

Remus took it. The smoke was rising from the surface, although he knew the Potion was only lukewarm. "Cheers," he said, and tilted the thermos back, gulping down the Wolfsbane as quickly as he could.

Dora watched him quizzically, but said nothing about it. The door was open, and there were some comments that wouldn't sound quite right going out into the open air.

"Have some chicken," she said. "It's with orange sauce. Should be sweet."

Remus grabbed for it, glad of anything to get the taste of the Wolfsbane out of his mouth. "Dora, this is delicious!"

She shrugged. "Not me. A bored relative." Who could use a Muggle-appropriate name, she mouthed.

"James?" Remus suggested, unable to think of anything else he might remember for Sirius.

"Right. My cousin James." Dora shrugged. "He's really quite bored."

"I'll be sure to spend some time with James then."

"Good thought."

There was a crash outside, followed by the shush of spilling papers and a bit of low cursing. Remus shook his head. "Do you need help, Allen?"

"No." More cursing. "...clasp on the... briefcase..." He came around the door, his arms laden with loose papers and books. He smiled when he saw Dora. "Ah, the lady of the house!" he said, putting the mess down on his desk, where it blended in with the rest of the chaos. He shook Dora's hand. "My Anna is looking forward to meeting you on Saturday."

Dora raised an eyebrow at Remus.

"Er... I'm sorry. Dear. I forgot to mention. This is Allen Garvey. He's invited us over for lunch on Saturday. I wasn't sure whether or not you had plans--"

"No," she said, giving him a sweet smile. "None at all."

"It's a chance to meet my predecessor."

"It's just a few Smeltings couples," Garvey said. "Sometimes we play cards. And the ladies like to gossip."

"Sounds delightful. Would you like me to bring anything?"

"Oh, just Raymond here. Anna likes to put the rest up herself."

"I'll bring him with a bow on," Dora said.

Garvey puttered around at his desk for a few minutes, found his wallet under the avalanche of papers, and left with a quick "Nice to meet you."

Dora turned around. "Were you planning on telling me before we were expected there?" she asked.

"I was just going to say that my wife was otherwise occupied. I only need to talk to Joe Levinson about Dudley. You won't have much to do."

"There's always gossip," she said, and waggled her eyebrows. "Now, what shall I gossip about?"

Remus's face went hot. "Dora, don't."

"Oh, don't worry. I won't tell them about our steamy private life. Unless they ask."


She giggled. "Remus, I'm joking. I'd turn eight shades of red trying to imagine it, and that would look a bit suspicious for an old married lady." She quickly checked out the door, cursing herself for being loose-lipped, and came back satisfied. "We should get our stories straight, though," she whispered, leaning over the desk. "I'll be over tonight. I'm sure Sirius will have cooked enough."

Remus nodded.

Dora packed up the scraps of their lunch--he was surprised to see that they'd actually eaten nearly all of it--then kissed the bridge of his nose and ruffled his hair. "I'll come back tomorrow," she said loudly. "It's good to spend lunch together."

She left.

Remus sat at his desk for a long time, not thinking. After awhile, he got up to teach Dudley Dursley's class.
11 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 16th, 2004 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or is this not going to be a romance? Because it seems to be gently hinting that it's going down that path...

I'm glad the hinting is gentle; I'm taking that slow and easy, because Remus isn't ready. But rest assured, I'm a dedicated R/Ter. :)

I find I really like writing Remus-the-teacher. Having a devil of a time convincing these boys that "it says in this book..." isn't an argument, though.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: May 16th, 2004 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you've got something brewing and it isn't the Wolfsbane potion, is it.

I suspect you're going back to work this week and I haven't gotten enough of this fic yet. Will you be slowing down now that you're telling teenagers how to use the card catalog again?

Did you know that the Iowa Test of Basic Skills still tests on card catalogs? I haven't used a card catalog in 20 years.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 16th, 2004 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
As in a card catalog with actual cards? Wow. Didn't know antiquing was a "basic skill."

I actually write more when I'm working than when I'm on vacation (vacations tend to make me totally veg out), so it shouldn't slow down too much.

Oh, you've got something brewing and it isn't the Wolfsbane potion, is it.

myf From: myf Date: May 16th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I swear, you look younger when you're doing this."

*sigh* Wish he was my professor.

Thoroughly enjoying this, Fern! Hope going back to work isn't too nasty...
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: May 16th, 2004 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I'll bring him with a bow on," Dora said.

I loved that line!!!! Priceless. :~D Lovely interaction and believable dialogue from both of them.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: May 17th, 2004 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved the R/T interaction :-D They're so sweet together. I can't wait to see them out visiting together. :D

Daniel Morse, one of his second forms Second-formers. I don't think Remus would be called 'Professor' in a school. In Muggle Britian, a professorship is only given to the most senior lectureres in a university, and there are a limited number of them (or 'chairs' as they're called) in a given Division or School. Remus would be just Mr Lewis, or Dr Lewis if he's pretending to have a PhD :-P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2004 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, question on the pupil/student thing... in the British edition of Goblet of Fire, when McGonagall stops Moody from bouncing ferret!Draco around, does she say, "Is that a pupil?" (I never know where the American edition "translates.") Of course, Muggle schools would be different, but I'm thinking about what Remus would be used to thinking. Unfortunately, the only British edition (well, Canadian, but it's untranslated) that I have is Order of the Phoenix, and I can't remember a specific instance of the word.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: May 17th, 2004 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure, I'm at uni and my books are at home. I think I remember both being used, actually, but 'pupil' would be the more usual.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: May 17th, 2004 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)
In my copy (which is the UK edition) she says "Is that a student?"
wm_law2003 From: wm_law2003 Date: May 17th, 2004 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Aaw but they're so cute even when they're just chatting. Loved the blowing/catching of the kiss. Hee!

Looks like Daniel is a bit hermione-ish. :)
mafdet From: mafdet Date: May 17th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the R/T'ness, and Remus as a teacher. He's such a good teacher, isn't he?

I can't wait until the dinner party. And I want to find out more about what happened to Levinson.
11 comments or Leave a comment