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Shifts, Chatper 6: Detention With Dudley, Part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Shifts, Chatper 6: Detention With Dudley, Part 2
Kind Eyes (the Grim story done for kikei at the gen ficathon) is up at SQ now. I realized that I forgot to put it at HB.

At any rate, I think it's about time to move on with Shifts.

Table of Contents and Summary so far

He arrived early on the Smeltings grounds, walking faster than he'd anticipated being able to walk this morning. The dew was still wet on the grass. His feet, still given to sharp pains where the tendons and ligaments had been stretched last night, groaned at the dampness. The Potion Sirius had brewed helped, but it didn't cure, and if it was like any other Potion Remus had tried, there would be a price later--probably an abrupt drop off to sleep, which he couldn't afford any time soon.

He chastised himself for being ungrateful; a mild Potion might not solve all of his problems, but it had been kind of Sirius to think of brewing it, even if it had been meant to distract him from the business with Harry, and it did work to some extent. And as far as sleep went, he needed it and had a right to ask for time to get it.

Alan Garvey was already in their shared office when he got there, answering his computer correspondence. As Remus came in, he abruptly cried, "HA!" and typed a furious response.

Remus smiled. One week, and already, this was routine. "What's today's subject?" he asked.

"Bajoran religion," Alan said, as if had some inherent meaning. "Sisko playing at being the Emissary, and all that."

Remus considered asking, opted not to, and went to sit behind his desk. Unfortunately, a small paper sack had beat him to the spot.

He picked it up and held it out to Alan. "Is this yours?"

"Hmm?" Alan glanced over. "No. Oh, I nearly forgot. You just missed your wife. Said she couldn't make it for lunch--something about work--but you'd forgot to pack before you left."

"I see."

He looked curiously inot the sack. There were two large roast beef sandwiches wrapped in plastic, with a note in Andromeda's handwriting saying "Sorry to miss you last night!" taped to them. A handful of Dairy Milk Chocolate bars. And a flat, rectangular package, with Dora's incongruously careful writing on it: "You forgot!" He drew it out and pulled the off the paper she'd wrapped it in.

It was the photograph. He hadn't realized she'd taken it with her that night. She smiled out of the frame at him, her eyes dancing, her cheek resting against the side of his head, her arms stretched out to the camera. His eyes drifted to his own hand, hovering there at her elbow.

He didn't know what it was he found so disturbing about that. The hollow of her elbow was not on any recognized list of inappropriate bodily locations, as far as Remus knew. But still, his hand, hovering there...

"What did she leave you?"

"Just a photo," Remus said, bringing his eyes up from it and setting it on the desk, facing out.

Alan looked at it. "Good likeness," he said. He opened his desk drawer and took out a similarly shaped item, handing it across to Remus in a disinterested way. "This is Anna and myself, down at Broadstairs."

Remus took the photo and glanced at it curiously. Anna and Alan were at the seaside, each with a thick book. She was lying on her stomach on a beach towel and he was sitting in a plastic chair, wearing a straw hat. His feet were crossed and resting lightly on the small of her back, but they weren't looking at one another, instead smiling in a vague way at whoever was taking the picture. And yet, there was something about them, something that simply stated union, and left no room for argument. It reminded him of Ted and Andromeda, although the two couples couldn't be less alike if they tried.

He looked back at the picture of Dora and himself, then put it decisively on the shelf behind him. It was a good prop.

"Looks like a nice day," he said, handing Alan's photo back.

"Any day spent with Anna and Isaac Asimov is a good one," Alan agreed, then turned back to his correspondence.

Remus organized his class notes, growing a bit more nervous as the actual day began. It was too soon to be working. By the time he left for his first class, clouds were rolling in, and thunder rumbled in the distance. It was too dark to depend on sunlight, so he turned on the electric lights, wincing at their unwelcome brightness. It was a marvelous technology really, to have steady light without magic or danger of fire (at least not much), but did they really need to make it so unrelentingly ugly?

Any illusion that today would be business as usual was shattered when his second formers filed in, and Daniel Morse's face went white with concern. He rushed to the desk, biting his lip. "Are you all right, Mr. Lewis?"

Remus nodded and waved him to his seat, but when he went to stand up to write an outline on the blackboard, pain flared in his right knee, forcing him to either sit back down or fall down. He took a deep breath and looked out at the class. Daniel still looked horrified, the others uneasy.

"I'm sorry," he said. "My knee isn't quite what it should be today."

"Is it rheumatism?" a spotty, bespecatacled boy asked. "My aunt gets it something fierce when it rains."

"Yes," Remus said firmly, "It's rheumatism." He hoped to cut off discussion of it and made a mental note to look up the symptoms of the disease. He hadn't thought to discuss the subject with the class at all--students shouldn't have to bother themselves with their teachers' personal lives--but obviously, if he was going to appear the morning after transformations, some explanation would be needed. Whatever "rheumatism" was, he supposed it would do.

Daniel raised his hand. "I can write on the blackboard, sir, if you don't feel up to it."

"Thank you, Daniel."

He lectured from behind the desk that day, drawing the class into a discussion and, he hoped, distracting them from his appearance. He was glad that so many in this group were eager and pleasant. Daniel offered to stay behind to write for his next class, but Remus shooed him on to Maths with a thank you. First form was much the same, though he opted not to introduce the idea of the blackboard, and simply engaged them in a conversation about the reading they were meant to have done over the weekend. (He estimated optimistically that more than half might actually have done so.)

He limped back to his office for his free period and inhaled the two sandwiches Andromeda had sent him--like Sirius, she knew that he tended to be famished the day after the full moon--and dosed himself with a thermos-full of whatever Potion Sirius had brewed this morning. The chocolate bars were undoubtedly Dora's contribution. He was still hungry when he finished with them, though he knew it was unwise to eat any more.

There was a light knock on the door, and Daniel looked around the edge. "Are you feeling better?"

Remus smiled. "I'm fine. Don't worry about me."

Daniel nodded uncertainly, and disappeared.

Remus looked at the ruins of his lunch and smiled ruefully at the number of people making a fuss over his welfare. For twelve years, he'd gotten by largely on his own. Andromeda had helped from time to time, with the really horrendous transformations, and Dora had kept up a spirited correspondence with him, but he'd gotten into his own routines, and started to think of himself as self-sufficient and...


Yes, that was a habit of thought as well, wasn't it? Remus Lupin, bravely facing the world by himself, despite everything turning against him.

It was a wretched habit, and he was very happy for the opportunity to break it.

He poked his finger to into the plastic wrappings from the sandwiches, and urged out a few crumbs of bread and beef.

Alan didn't show up for lunch, and Remus used the rest of his free time to rest with his head in his arms. Feeling a bit refreshed afterward, he made his way to his fifth form class.

They were already sitting quietly in their seats when he got there, which was suspicious enough in itself. Paul Freehof was looking fixedly at his hands, and Stephen Wells was all but shaking in his seat. Piers Polkiss had an ugly, eager expression his face, and Dudley was just staring straight ahead.

Remus walked slowly to his chair, forcing himself not to limp. From the corner of his eye, he saw Piers lean forward slightly.

He looked carefully at the chair, then went around to the front of the desk and sat on the edge of it instead, pulling himself up on protesting arms. Piers sat back, disappointed.

"First lesson," he said, "chairs splay somewhat when you remove the screws that hold them together. Second lesson?" He tossed his briefcase back onto the chair, and it collapsed with a great clattering. "I'm not that stupid."

Paul Freehof tried and failed to suppress a grin. Dudley continued to stare.

Remus shook his head. "Now, shall we get on with the class?"

They participated in their usual, stiffly formal way, apparently not mortally disappointed at the failure of their prank. (Had James and Sirius failed a prank so dismally, they would have been ignoring class to plan the next one, but none of the fifth formers appeared to be doing so.) When the bell rang, they started to file out.

Remus caught Dudley near the door.

"Mr. Dursley?" he said. "I believe we had an appointment."
15 comments or Leave a comment
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: July 5th, 2004 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
YAY, some Shifts again! I was looking forward to it.

Very good, as always. But I was a teensy little bit disappointed in Remus, when he thought about Sirius only brewing the potion for him to distract himself from the Harry-affair ;)

I love the fact that Alan Garvey is a "Deep Space 9"-Fan!

The way Remus let the gang's prank fail was GREAT!

I love "Shifts" a lot. You really are a very gifted writer!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2004 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I was a teensy little bit disappointed in Remus, when he thought about Sirius only brewing the potion for him to distract himself from the Harry-affair ;)
I think he may be a realist here... ;)

I love the fact that Alan Garvey is a "Deep Space 9"-Fan!
You know, I always wanted just have a fannish person in a story for no special plot reason; it's just a tic of his character. I figured, what the heck? If a math teacher can't be a Trekker, I don't know who can.
natgel From: natgel Date: July 6th, 2004 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, more Shifts :)
I LOVED the first lesson second lesson thing, something that I can just see happening.
Looking forward for more Dudley n Lupin interaction (I didn't mean it like that ;) mind out of the gutter!) I like your take on Dudley in this fic.
dipsas From: dipsas Date: July 6th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
On a really miserable day, this update distracted me and cheered me up a good deal. Thanks! I love all the little details you provide us with. "Remus smiled. One week, and already, this was routine. " Of course he would love having a routine and belonging somewhere.
sreya From: sreya Date: July 6th, 2004 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
"Bajoran religion," Alan said, as if had some inherent meaning.
Missing an "it" or something in there.

but it had been kind of Sirius to think of brewing it, even if it had been meant to distract him from the business with Harry, and it did work to some extent.
This is a bit confusing because of the pronouns -- when you say "it did work to some extent", do you mean the potion worked for the pain, or brewing the potion worked to distract Sirius?

answering his computer correspondence.
Oh my gosh, don't ask me why, but I found this line so extraordinarily quaint.

pulled the off the paper she'd wrapped it in.
You've got an extra "the" in here.

Feeling a bit refreshed afterward, he made his way to his fifth form class.
Even without knowing about the prank yet, I started groaning as soon as I saw this line. ;)

Very good piece, the story's coming along so well. I know you're posting this in drafts, and I've been feeling guilty that I keep coming in with praise but very little to help. :P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, thanks. I seem to abound in missed pronouns and doubled articles. Heaven knows why!
sreya From: sreya Date: July 6th, 2004 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those are the easiest kind of mistakes -- usually because you're thinking the story faster than you can type. Or at least, that's my experience. :)

But that is why the world has Beta-Editors! :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 20th, 2004 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Issac Asimov

I really enjoy reading your work and I have sneeked over from the sugar quill to get the most upto date bits of this story.

As an aside did you know that Issac Asimov hated flying and only came to England aboard cruise ships ?
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 6th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! The "gang" ought to know better than to try to play a prank on an ex-Marauder.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2004 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, you know he's thinking, "Amateurs!" :)
vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 6th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

You do know how to strike us with lightning. Whew.

I may have missed it, or it may be coming up, but why exactly does Dudley need protecting?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's talked about in the prologue and chapter one--in the prologue, all three of them think it's pretty superfluous--the off chance that someone might remember that Lily had a sister and figure out that the sister had a son. Privet Drive can be protected, but Smeltings can't, so the Order sends someone, just in case. But then Remus discovers that someone has already been sniffing around Dudley, but he hasn't gotten close enough to figure out who.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 6th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Erm, well, I got the second development. I feel... kind of stupid now. After all, I did understand your Polyjuice ficlet about Dudley... ah well.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 7th, 2004 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah. I believe I've found your error in canon logic. If it doesn't screw around with the plot too much, just have them in on the plot to restore Voldemort somehow.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 7th, 2004 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)



I realize I haven't responded to Shifts in forever. I apologize--I was away for a while and got backlogged. So I'll just say quickly that I loved the way you handled Remus' transformation--it gave me the sense that he was not available as a POV, and it was a handy way of giving everyone else a quick voice (especially Tonks, as I've mentioned before that I've wondered where her head is in all this. I loved her reaction to his little gesture--it made me feel like she's idolized him for so long from 'afar,' in a sense, that she forgot that he too is a real male person with real responses to things...intriguing)

This part was great as well. I loved everyone's mothering--he really deserves to be mothered, even if it doesn't occur to him! That was a very poignant moment. I was concerned for him having to work the day after his transformation, but it's good to see that he still has his wits about him even when he feels like he's been steamrolled (LOL--to use a term that he would definitely not understand). I love it when his past as a Marauder shows itself.

15 comments or Leave a comment