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Stray, Chapter Nineteen: Decoys, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Nineteen: Decoys, pt. 1
Yikes, it's been almost two weeks! I have to put a fire under this thing. I'm still not entirely sure of this section or this sequence, which I put in to cover why Sirius isn't around during the January Hogsmeade weekend. Slight failures of imagination, I think.

Anyway, during patrols of Hogsmeade that Sirius has generally thought of as useless, he overhears two people talking about an attack on a werewolf, and it becomes clear that the werewolf in question is Remus. They plan to attack during the full moon the next day.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

It was raining on the island when he got there, which he supposed shouldn't surprise him anymore. The rain was gray and nearly frozen (in fact, Sirius thought some of it might actually be frozen), and land seemed to be covered by shifting curtains of it. He crossed his arms over his chest and started for the shack. He could see a light in the window, and Dora sitting on the tartan armchair. She looked serious.

He transformed (more for the dog's body heat than for any sort of protection) and padded up to the house. Through an unmended chink beneath the window, he could faintly hear her voice.

"Are you sure you have everything you need?" she asked. "I really should have mastered the Wolfsbane by now..."

"Forget the damned potion," Remus said testily. "You don't need to worry about it."

"I noticed last year that it improves your lousy mood for a week."

Remus sat down beside her, casting a shadow on the ground beside Sirius. "I'm sorry, Dora. Everyone seems suddenly very concerned with my transformations."

"Sirius offered to stay with you?"

"He offered to let me come to the cave."

"Maybe you should. You used to have fun doing that, you said..."

"We did, yes, but we're not children anymore."

"You said he can control you."

"But I'll be in no condition to control him."

Sirius barked loudly and raised himself up to put his paws on the windowsill. Remus winced. Sirius transformed and came around to the door as it opened.

"You heard?" Remus asked.

"Yeah, I heard you, you git." Sirius went in and sat down on the sofa. "Control me?"

"Figure of speech."

"A figure of speech meaning what?"

Remus didn't bother to make anything up. "I haven't changed my mind."

"I know. That's not why I'm here."

"What is it?" Dora asked, leaning forward.

"I was eavesdropping in Hogsmeade," Sirius said, and told them the story of the two unknown men in the shed. "They know where you're going to be," he finished. "And you're going to have company."

Remus steepled his fingers and touched them to his head, taking a deep breath as he did so. He let it out and turned to Dora. "Sounds like Fenrir Greyback might be around again."

"Brilliant," Dora muttered. "Just brilliant."

"That's that crazy werewolf who likes to take little kids?" Sirius asked.

"Yeah." Remus wrinkled his nose in distaste. "Why do you think he thinks I'm one of 'his'?"

"He was the one who...?"

Remus nodded. "I found out during the last war. Dumbledore asked me to infiltrate as far as I could. That's why I was gone so much that last year. I never did get to Greyback's inner circle, but he was aware of me. He still thinks I'm a good prospect to come back, I imagine. After Voldemort fell, he sort of disappeared, except for a few random attacks I saw in the Prophet."

"And now he's back," Sirius said. "Of course."

"As fascinating as the history is," Dora said, "and as disturbing as the implications are, do you think we might look at tomorrow night? I can keep an eye out--"

"Aren't you on duty?" Remus asked.


"Well, nothing. How would you plan to explain where you came across this particular bit of intelligence?"

"I'll think of something, Remus."

"You don't need to," Sirius said. "I'll look after him. Just come to the cave, and when they go to where they think you'll be, you won't be there."

"At which point, they'll go looking for someone else," Remus pointed out.

Sirius considered suggesting that they just leave the door unlocked and let whoever was there deal with Remus as a werewolf, but he managed to stop himself in time. Remus could be sent to Azkaban for something like that, and Sirius had nearly got him in just that much trouble once before. Granted, no one had deserved a comeuppance more than Snivelly, but he hadn't been worth risking Remus's freedom, and neither was whoever it was coming after him now. "Fine," he said. "Buckbeak can guard you in the cave, and you can put whatever spells you need to on it to keep yourself inside."

"If there's no one..."

"I think a large dog might flummox them long enough to take a good bite out of them. Maybe we'll even get lucky and they'll send bloody Wormtail."

"And then what do you mean to do?" Dora asked. "If it's Wormtail, fine, he can clear you, but if it's anyone else, you've got nothing, and you'll end up back at Azkaban if you try to turn someone in."

Sirius considered this. "All right. Do you think you can come up with an excuse to be there? You could leave Remus out of it and say that you just happened across an attack on a dog, which of course ran away after."

"This is ridiculous," Remus said.

Dora raised an eyebrow at Sirius. "Was he always this helpful in planning moonlit adventures?"

"He's being positively compliant," Sirius said. "I think he feels guilty about the 'controlling me' business."

"No, not particularly," Remus said. "And this isn't a 'moonlit adventure,' Dora. Someone wants me dead, and Sirius is talking about going to a barn in the middle of nowhere and waiting for whoever it is to come along. What if the person just pokes a wand through the wall and hits you with a Death Curse?"

"You're going to to have to do better than that," Sirius said. "There's no way that a Ministry-approved transformation spot for werewolves has holes in the wall that someone can just stick a finger through and get cursed."

Remus grumbled something that wasn't an argument with the logic, then shook his head. "We don't know where the Death Eaters are hiding these days. What if one of them is in the Ministry itself and spots an obvious set-up involving a mysterious dog?"

"First of all," Dora said, "part of the point of me being there is to catch the person. And if I don't, then what's he going to do? Report that he was attacking a werewolf in a Ministry safe house, and, wow, I'll be buggered... it's Sirius Black!"

Remus sighed. "Fine."

Sirius grinned. "Sorry to leave you out of the fun part this time, Moony."

Remus glowered, then finally rolled his eyes and sat down. "Fine. I'll go with you early to help you set up--if the spells aren't right, they could notice."

"I knew you'd find a way to join in."

"Dora, when can you be there?"

"Well, it's Hogwarts weekend in Hogsmeade, so I've got a couple of hours I have to be there in the afternoon. I'm assigned to tail Viktor Krum."

"Who's tailing Harry?"

"Mad-Eye's keeping an eye on him personally."

Sirius nodded. "I was going to try and check in on him, but I suppose an actual death threat trumps that."

"Don't you think he might be a little worried thinking you're under Aurors' noses in Hogsmeade anyway?" Dora asked.

"As opposed to hatching plans with them up here?" Remus asked.

She winked. "Anyway, I can get there by four o'clock tomorrow."

Remus grimaced, then said, "All right. I doubt it would be Greyback who comes--he's already turned me, so he has no goal. So you won't have to convince his sense of smell."

"I didn't even think of that," Sirius said.

"I noticed." Remus tapped his fingers against the opposite wrist. "You'll just have to convince a human that I've got there at some point. You can take some of my clothes to leave in the bin outside. At least I hope so. I don't like the thought of Greyback being there."

"Even if he is," Dora said, "he won't be able to talk once he can smell that closely."

Remus didn't look entirely convinced by this. "Sirius will be safe enough from him transformed, but..." He trailed off, noticing Dora's less than sympathetic look.

"Remus," she said, with the air of someone repeating herself, "I'm an Auror. I've had training in dealing with werewolves other than you."

He tightened his jaw stubbornly, then resigned himself and nodded.

Dora looked out the window for a long time. "All of this does bring up one problem that I'm going to have to find a way to tell the Ministry about once this is over. If Greyback is active again--" She shook her head.

Sirius considered this. "If he's with the Death Eaters, they'll want to control him. He might actually be safer with them than he is on his own."

"Are you mad?" Remus asked.

"No," Dora said. "Just raised by a Slytherin. Or more than one. He's not going to be a random threat if they're controlling him. Threats aren't very effective if anyone, anywhere can be a target. They have to be able to aim him, and to restrain him if they get what they want."

"Do you really think they can control him?"

"No," Sirius said. "Not forever, unless he's agreeing to it. But he is, for now. I think he'll be a good little wolf this month. And we'll worry about whoever is coming after you."
17 comments or Leave a comment
alkari From: alkari Date: July 24th, 2009 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the interlude works. Ah, if only Sirius had known who Mad Eye *really* was, especially after the button ...

You know, if Remus and Dora had survived, I think Remus would have ended up with one side of his head being slightly flattened, as Dora would have spent so much time swatting him for being idiotic about things! "Was he always so helpful in planning moonlilght adventures?" - LOL.

And loved her comment about being raised by a Slytherin.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 24th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
If someone had picked up on "Mad-Eye," the rest of the story would have gone quite differently. Bah... for want of a nail... or a nose for Polyjuice Potion.
alkari From: alkari Date: July 24th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes indeed. But not just Polyjuice - I have always felt that the weakest part of GOF was how Barty Jnr could possibly have picked up not only the appearance of Mad Eye, but also all his mannerisms and such, to the extent that he fooled Dumbledore for a year. If DD hadn't really known Moody beforehand, then it would be understandable - but Moody was an Order member and you get the impression that DD knew him quite well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 24th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
True. Maybe there's more going on than Polyjuice Potion? Of course, that's complete fanspect meant for explanatory fics, but maybe he also had some powerful Confundus type Charms going on, or something that was able to steal behaviors as well. Or maybe Barty is just the best actor that ever lived. ;p
From: yesaffirmative Date: July 26th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dunno if you'd need it, really. Moody was such a character that most of his tics wouldn't be too hard to imitate. And he's known for being a bit odd, so if you get the basic mannerisms right most people would chalk any strangeness up to "just Moody being Moody."

It doesn't explain why Dumbledore wouldn't notice, but it certainly covers the majority of people. I think it absolutely helps that Moody probably wasn't terribly close to anybody, not even Dumbledore. So there probably weren't a lot of Moody insiders who knew what he was "really like" and would be able to tell the difference between the real thing and a good impression.

Typing this now, it strikes me that Moody was really the PERFECT person for Barty Crouch to replace. He's publicly regarded as wackadoo enough that you can get away without being absolutely perfect in your mimicry, but also publicly trusted enough that you can get very close to Harry Potter. I can't think of any other OOTP member (save, maybe, Mundungus Fletcher...but he's not trusted nearly as much) that would work as well.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: July 24th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, now the plots afoot. Sirius is taking charge, ably assisted by Dora, while Remus grumps and points out logical flaws. Yup, that sounds right. The dynamics between these three is lovely, redolent of family and treasured, old friends. (For a heady moment, I thought I might be the first commenter, but it wasn't to be.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 24th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--I like the three of them together. And grumpy!Remus is always amusing.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: July 24th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Greyback is such a nasty piece of work. I'm worried for them!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 24th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Greyback is definitely JKR's grossest villain.
From: severely_lupine Date: July 24th, 2009 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Are we ever going to get to see Sirius actually be with Remus when he transforms? I know Remus is always against it, but it would be cool if at least once Sirius is with him for some reason. I'd love to see the interaction while he's a wolf.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 24th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
No... that's one of the things in Shifts... Remus finally tells Sirius "Sure... next month." Less than a month before the DoM battle.
From: severely_lupine Date: July 24th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah... Oh, tragic irony. I do hate it.
From: severely_lupine Date: July 25th, 2009 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry for the random question, but I'm hoping you can clear something up for me. In Shades, you put Remus's wand as willow/phoenix, but in Forest Guard, that's how you describe Tonks's, and Remus's is ash/unicorn (I think). What have you settled on? (I'm assuming JKR didn't specify at any point.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 25th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I forgot I'd even mentioned what Remus's wand was in Shades. Oops.
From: severely_lupine Date: July 25th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I meant Shifts. Yeah, it's the part where he's showing his wand to Dudley.

I'm just trying to reconcile this bit with FG. Unfortunately it can't simply be switched, as it seems to influence the rest of the scene.

"What's it made of?"

"Willow. Its core is a phoenix feather. Like Harry's, though it's a different phoenix."

Dudley's eyes opened wider at the mention of Harry's name, and he thrust the wand back into Remus's hand with a shudder. He tried to say something, but whatever wards had been put on him in regard to Harry prevented him from even addressing the question. He snarled in frustration.

"You've tried to talk about him before," Remus said. "You know something stops you."

Sorry, I'm nitpicking. But my brain just really wants everything to agree.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: July 25th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good! Planning. Always a good thing ^_^
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 19th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
This is just great! I love the complications that you continue to add to the plot. MUST. READ. MORE . . . ;)
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