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FIC: Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures, Chapter 17 / 21 (PG-13), part two

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May. 23rd, 2010 | 08:59 pm

Title: Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures, Chapter Seventeen: Foolhardy Decisions, part two
Author: PaulaMcG
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: (subtly, eventually) Remus/Sirius
Chapter summary: A recruit of Umbridge’s army leads Remus on a reckless mission.
Word count: around 5,600
Disclaimer: Remus won't help me make any money.

Notes: I’ll always love to receive a comment on any chapter.

Chapter One can be found here, Chapter Two here, Chapter Three here and here, Chapter Four here, Chapter Five here and here, Chapter Six here and here, Chapter Seven here, Chapter Eight here and here, Chapter Nine here, here and here, Chapter Ten here and here, the first part of Chapter Eleven here, the second part of Chapter Eleven here, the third part of Chapter Eleven here., the first part of Chapter Twelve here, the second part of Chapter Twelve here, the first part of Chapter Thirteen here, the second part of Chapter Thirteen here, the first part of Chapter Fourteen is here, the second part of Chapter Fourteen is here, Chapter Fifteen is here and Chapter Sixteen is here and the first part of Chapter Seventeen is here.

Remus Lupin and the Revolt of the Creatures

Chapter Seventeen continues.


Kostas could probably no longer hear Remus’s last words. He was trudging through the thicket. Just when it looked like he needed someone to help him keep his course, he stopped and obviously listened. Then he turned and started walking across the open wasteland.

“Look. The commanders… whatever,” Jonah whispered, “the men with gold stripes – they’ve turned away. They won’t see where he’s coming from.”

“And the others are calling his name only now,” Remus replied, “now when he could as well have appeared from behind the building. I hope he won’t be punished for coming late, so he can go with them.”

“But he’ll be killed.”

Kostas had now fallen on his knees in front of the commanders. Remus could only hope that they would not kill or torture him as punishment, and to his relief the man was soon allowed and able to stand up and join in the row of recruits.

“He knows what he wants – as well as possible.”

Now Harry evidently could not resist expressing his astonishment. “Are you saying he wants to face Dark creatures – while he’s already wounded and blind?”

“No. As he said, it’s creatures like the one who tended to his girls. People like Thisby. Half-breeds.”

“Aren’t they dangerous enough? I mean, if they must defend themselves?”

Harry’s question made Remus realise how hard it was for him to imagine any part-human with veela or faun blood, or goblin or elf, or even giant blood, causing intentional serious harm to anybody even in defence. However, it was certainly not safe to invade places where they were sheltered by their unique combination of magic.

“That’s what I wondered the first time I heard that the Ministry was raiding the denied neighbourhood. These creatures have unpredictable powers. I doubt that a large crowd gathered at an inn can be defeated by a patrol of inexperienced wizards. Apparition doesn’t work inside their buildings. And they can distort your perception. But now it makes sense to me. These patrols are meant to get destroyed.”

“Why?”

Remus caught himself smiling.

Harry, now hardly having the patience to keep his voice low, demanded an explanation in his characteristic way. “How does that make any sense?”

They must have been standing still in their hiding place for quite a while. Remus pulled his hands out of the pockets and, holding his wand, wrapped his arms around himself for a change. “People are given the impression that everyone who’s not a full human is a serious threat. That’s how they are lured to give more money and power to her.”

“Her?”

“Umbridge. Perhaps you could consider belonging to our crowd, after all?”

Remus was not sure it had been wise to blurt out that. Harry, however, only turned his eyes towards Remus’s, but had to give up any attempts to distinguish his facial expression in the gloom. Uncertainty about his tone did clearly not concern Harry as much as the purpose of the Corps did.

“But how could she send her men to be killed like that… make them kill each other, too, when they are needed for fighting Voldemort?”

“Who says that Voldemort is a serious threat? Well, she does, but… Look. They’re setting off.”

The oddly satisfying discussion had been almost enough to keep Remus warm, but he was thrilled they could finally move on. Or actually turn back, as the patrol was heading across the wasteland for the region at the other end of the gravel road.

“Where do you think…?” Harry asked.

“I wager the denied neighbourhood is not far. That’s the dwelling place of the part-humans. Kostas said the camp seemed to have been built here particularly for these attacks.”

Harry had become talkative and was now almost pushing Jonah aside, doing his best to stick close to Remus. “And we’re going there?”

“You wish you had your broomstick?”

They were now passing the off-license, but they continued to follow the ditch by the road.

“No, I don’t mind walking… So are there no Dark creatures there?”

“There are some werewolves. But they’ll join packs and their own leaders elsewhere before deciding to support or fight Voldemort – or the Ministry.”

“I mean others like that – human-like. Banshees and such… hags and…”

Remus did not let the change of topic prevent him from talking about himself. “I’m not sure, actually… Perhaps this is a proper Defence Against the Dark Arts excursion. The teacher doesn’t need to know the answers, so he can explore together with his students. I’ve told you I’m not a real expert, even though I gathered some book knowledge on Dark creatures soon after I left school. Somehow I’d got the impression that it was the suitable field of study for me, so I tried it before anything else. In fact, I got a small scholarship in exchange for submitting to being the object of an experiment…”

“An experiment?”

“Why are you surprised? Dumbledore had already experimented with me. Some scholar friends of his took the opportunity to test whether a werewolf was capable of higher learning, too. By making the scholarship small enough they could also find out how much a werewolf needed to eat so as to survive. The results were not quite reliable, since at that time I still had parents and friends to feed me. In any case, I managed to learn from books written by wizards for instance that hags ate babies. Ten years later I got to know some hags and discovered that the most revolting part of their diet was raw pork.”

“Excuse me.” Jonah’s indignant voice almost took Remus unawares by sounding from ahead of him.

He felt like apologising for his self-centred babbling, and for not concentrating on what was necessary at the moment. However, he also understood that Jonah had actually been the leader all the time and not reluctant at all to take the responsibility for not losing track of the patrol.

“They crossed here and entered that alley,” Jonah informed his companions. “Now they’ve just disappeared behind that corner.”

There was a plank across the ditch.

“I doubt any full humans live around here,” Remus said after following Jonah to the other side.

In the dark night he could not discern any details in the buildings lining the alley at which Jonah had pointed, but their gloomy shapes were low against the starry sky. Above all, he could feel under his feet and hear in the sound of their steps that the even gravel road ended right here and turned into a bumpy mud path.

“So this is the home for the fey folk?” Harry said, sounding somewhat disappointed.

“Charming, isn’t it? Mind the pools. It’ll soon all be literally a gutter.”

Oddly enough, Remus felt like laughing his pleasure. Perhaps it was simply reassuring to recognise the area, but he was startled by the happiness evoked in him by such a prompt return here.

Jonah’s sensible words brought him back to the reality. “Do you think that here they’ll be more careful… watching that they aren’t followed and attacked from behind?”

“I doubt it. They want to be attacked,” Remus replied, enjoying the carefree tone in his own voice. “Maybe that’s why they’ve used the lumos charm all the time. It’s easy to follow the only light there is.”

“In any case they won’t be able to see us,” Harry offered. “But perhaps we’d better stop chatting.”

Jonah hesitated to walk further, perhaps just hesitated to lead the expedition any longer. Having been brought up to fear and despise part-humans and non-humans, he might have been glad to rebel by joining some creatures who had been recommended as allies by an authoritative figure like Mr Landor. Instead, entering an area like this without any previous plans was likely to feel unnerving, and Jonah had obviously heard what Remus had said about it. Remus trusted that if he, as the only one of the three of them who had been here before, offered to walk first, however, Jonah’s urge to continue would not subside. The boy could not possibly know if there was anything he would be able to do to help his stepfather any longer, or if he would end up doing something else. But he was driven forward by some loyalty in any case.

“I can’t claim to know the way, even though I can guess where they are heading,” Remus explained, setting off. “I was there a few days ago, but I arrived from another direction.”

Harry stayed close to Remus and fell a few steps behind only when, further down the alley, the gutter widened to bathe in stinky water all except a narrow space near the walls. Here there was some light behind the windows, and when Remus glanced back at the right moments, some beams escaping through the cracks in the shutters revealed to him the thoughtful frown on Harry’s face. However, when Harry noticed that Remus was looking at him, the frown was replaced by a grin.

“You don’t mind going,” Remus felt compelled to say, “always eager to plunge forward, even when you don’t know what you’re looking for, besides trouble?”

“I don’t know…”

No, perhaps it was only Remus’s wish that Harry could afford to be like the Marauders as young boys: looking for adventure for the fun of it. At times Harry had been reckless enough, too, but mainly because trouble had found him. Rather serious trouble caused by Voldemort. Remus’s words about this enemy must have sounded inexplicably light-hearted and hard to believe – but perhaps also tempting to accept. Perhaps Harry shared Remus’s wish, and this, after all, made him end up grinning.

They came to a spot where two alleys met, but the distant glow on the commanders’ wands still guided them to the right direction.

“I wish I were properly aware of the location of the Dewbowl Inn,” Remus whispered barely audibly, “so I could apparate there to give them a warning.”

At that moment he felt a presence, which lit up in his mind before his eyes saw the light and before his ears caught the words. That was why the clearly-ringing, polite and almost cheerful voice hardly startled him. “Good evening. Perhaps you could allow me to offer my services.”

The creature standing next to him was not taller than a ten-year-old boy. An impression of great age, however, was achieved by his white self-luminous hair – or perhaps by some serious world-weariness, easily hidden behind a smile but recognised by Remus in the lines of the gaunt face, while its paleness was sickly, too. When the creature lifted his right hand on the top of his head, Remus realized that he had a pair of delicate horns – and was therefore obviously of faun as well as of veela descent.

An open palm was stretched towards Remus, and two other bows were directed to Jonah and Harry. “There’s another patrol, isn’t there? How many witches and wizards this time?”

“Twenty-nine,” Jonah replied.

“Thank you. They’re taking the way which led them to the inn before. I’ll make sure we’ll be prepared to welcome them properly.” The light disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

The glow of lumos was clear again for a moment, before the patrol evidently rounded another corner. Remus hurried forward without saying a word to the others.

In a moment the fey boy returned to his side, to stride quite close to him, in an attempt to avoid getting up to his knees into the water towards the middle of the alley. Now Remus noticed that he was dressed only in a ragged tunic, so he would not have got any clothes wet in any case.

“Hello again! I hope this won’t disappoint you. We’ll let them do it outside this time. They’ve broken enough of our furniture.”

“Do what?” Harry asked.

But this time they had not stopped walking, and as soon as they had rounded a corner Remus, together with Harry and Jonah, was pushed against the wall. Here they were partly sheltered by some stone stairs, which led to a door up at about chest-height.

By the similar stairs of the next building there were two men in ambush – both wearing the black-and-gold uniforms. The ranks – twenty-seven men and women according to Jonah’s counting – were standing a few steps further, facing the building across the alley. Remus could distinguish Kostas among them, as the cold glow of lumos was reflected on the bandage around his head. The silence was broken only by the howling wind which swept along the alley, making the familiar signboard creak.

With louder creaks the door and the shutters of the inn flew open. A rosy light bathed the alley. Like the ominous sunsets, like the painful and hopeful sunrises, it painted the pale skin with the colour of life, of blood: the serious faces, the arms exposed by too-short sleeves when stretching out, each with a firm hold of a wand – apart from the one clutching a harmless stick. At the last moment the recruits were revealed to Remus’s eyes as rather young adults, perhaps young fathers and mothers, who had credulously decided to take this opportunity to both support and protect their families. Almost as individuals they took hesitating steps into the water so as to cross to the door of the inn. But they stopped when the large figure of a creature, perhaps a half-giant filled the doorframe.

As the enormous shadow almost reached their shelter by the wall, one of the commanders shouted the first incantation. “Sectumsempra!”

This hex was too easy to learn. Too quick to complete with almost a random wave of the wand and without more intention than simply an agitated state of mind. All the recruits followed the commander’s example so soon that Remus could not see if the first dark spell had hit any target. The rest of the hexes, at least, were immediately repelled by some non-human magic – which turned the recruits into victims of their own or each other’s cruel gashing spells.

Spurting blood now darkened several faces, among them the one under a white bandage. Without stopping to think Remus focused on Kostas’s exact location and apparated beside him.

He was there just in time to keep the wounded man from falling down to the deep water. His meagre physical strength could hardly allow him to carry anyone to shelter. While uselessly clutching his wand he had his both arms wrapped around Kostas’s waist from behind. The fabric under his wrists was soaked; dizziness threatened to overcome him with the illusion that the blood was his own. He staggered backwards. Reluctant to look at Kostas’s face, he was relieved to remember that Kostas could not have been reassured by the sight of a friend in any case.

His voice had to suffice, in case Kostas was even conscious any longer. “I’ll hold you. It’s all…”

No, it was not all right. Kostas was dying, and he was not the only victim. Remus glanced at his side, realising that he was passing by the commanders. One of them was waving his wand again, unmistakably aiming another gashing hex at a young witch who had knelt to pull a bleeding wizard out of the water.

Leaving only one arm to hold Kostas, Remus lifted his wand. He was bound to be late. The young witch had already been hit. Having pulled Kostas a couple of more steps towards the shelter from where he had come, Remus fell on his knees with the bandaged, bleeding head on his lap. Not too early did he direct his wand towards the other commander, who by now must have paid attention to him.

“Sectumsempra!” the man shouted.

Even though this was not unexpected, Remus could hardly have gathered any defined good intention to channel in his response. Still, desperately, perhaps in order to object to the nauseating cruelty, he stuck to his ideal of defence. “Rafinarisma!”

There was no time to check the effect of his spell. He caught a vague image of the man falling against the wall, of the flow of his blood slowing down. But perhaps it was partly an image he was seeking in order to manage the most urgent magic – to stop Kostas from bleeding.

“Stamatises, stamatises,” he muttered, moving his wand above Kostas’s head and chest.

“Expelliarmus!” That was Jonah’s voice, ringing very clear and forceful just behind him.

He glanced back just when another wand flew to fall at the boys’ feet. Harry was not next to him.

Instead, the little fey boy was suddenly there, kneeling beside Remus. “You don’t want to save any others, do you?” the boy said lightly. “We will take this one to another world.”

“Please, ask the creatures to stop, at least… stop turning the hexes back, if they can. Tell them it’s for their own good. You know who I am, don’t you?”

“Yes, I realised what you wanted, so I’ve already told them.”

Indeed, there were no hexes flying anymore. But it was too late.

Jonah had now arrived. He was holding a commander’s wand in addition to the one Kostas had given away. Remus struggled to stand up, leaving Kostas to the two boys’ arms. Yes, it was late. Almost every recruit had been hit. And some of them had fallen into the water. They would drown, if they were not already dead.

Remus stretched his arms. To his surprise, before he had used his wand or even got aware of an intention to spell out an evaporation charm, a mist rose from the gutter. Was it his wandless magic, needed to save the wounded recruits from drowning? It did not really matter who could be thanked for that. The victims needed healers. Remus could not help them all. He could not even find them in the thickening fog. And he could not find Harry.

He stumbled on someone and knelt down, ready to perform the charms to stop bleeding. But this body was lifeless.

Here was another one. And Harry was here on his knees, struggling to turn this witch onto her back. Remus hurried to help, only to see that she had bled to death or drowned as well.

From behind he heard a harsh voice, “What do you think you are doing? Give me my wand back. These two have their wand-points against your head. Who are you?”

“I… It’s confusing,” Jonah’s voice replied. “I thought you were the enemy.”

“Disapparate,” Harry whispered to Remus with surprising determination in his voice. “I can handle this… with Jonah. Just Go. Go to Anthony’s off-licence to wait for us. Or at least back to the end of the alley.”

“But I must…”

“Okay, stay hidden here in the mist, so you can try to find some more victims to help while you hear us handle it … But we’ll meet you at the end of the alley. I’ll make them call healers.” While talking Harry stood up and bared his head. Having pushed his hood back, he also brushed his hair away from his forehead. At the last moment before vanishing among the mist he turned to wink at Remus.

“Hey, mate! Are you there? What will our professors say… We’ve got involved in something like…”

Jonah’s reply was almost choked in sobs, but his tearful voice still managed to convey both astonishment and indignation. “You talk about… professors! People are dying here… and… disappearing.”

Harry, instead, made himself sound childish and pompous. “Don’t tell me it’s my fault again – that I get myself and everyone in trouble. I think we’ve actually done some good. Perhaps those creatures somehow… with their intuition they knew who I was and they stopped killing Ministry’s soldiers and escaped into this fog they made.”

While listening Remus tried to search in front of the inn as systematically as possible. The water was now hardly ankle-deep in the middle of the alley, whereas he realised how deep in the gutter he had waded and knelt earlier, as his drenched robes, tangled around his legs, made it difficult to walk briskly. He expected to step on bodies, but to his surprise – relief or despair, he did not know – he did not stumble on anyone any longer. The light spilling out through the windows still coloured the mist above his head, but the door had been shut. There were no sounds except the howling of the wind and the discussion towards the other side of the alley, close to the stone steps behind which the fey boy had first pushed them.

“And who…?” demanded the commander’s voice, but the question gave way to an exclamation. “The Boy Who…!”

“Yes, and this is my mate from school… Did he disarm you by mistake? We’re sorry, but listen. We just happened…”

“To look for trouble,” Jonah cut in, “typical of you… like when you tried to solve some other mysteries and got involved in You Know Who’s…”

“But we can help, too,” Harry continued. “Let’s not waste more time. We can help find any victims who are still alive, while one of you apparates to St. Mungo’s. We’ll stay here until you apparate back with healers.”

Remus had now done his best to search on both sides of the alley, also around the stairs which had sheltered the commanders. He was starting to doubt that the healers would find anyone to help even after the wind would have scattered the mist. At least, if Harry’s plot worked, the commanders would do their best to save some of the victims, since they would not like the famous hero to spread the news that the Ministry killed its own soldiers on purpose. In the worst case, too, they would have no corpses to show as a proof that the creatures had actually killed anyone. Had the creatures really taken not only Kostas, but almost all the others, too, either dead or wounded, to their own world?

After a brief silence Remus heard a new, strangely dragging voice. “All right. You go, and bring healers, urgently. I’d say only the six of us are unharmed, or only slightly wounded, while perhaps no more than ten recruits can be helped any longer. Those beasts…!”

The voice probably belonged to the other commander – the one whom Remus’s magic had evidently paralysed only for a moment. The man sounded still dazed, and he had perhaps no idea of what had hit him, or even that he had tried to hit anyone but another recruit or perhaps a part-human – which would, of course, have actually been a correct guess. He must have given his order to the commander whom Jonah had disarmed, since the new recruits were probably not able or authorised to apparate.

Having heard the crack of apparition, Remus gave up and, still hidden by the gradually thinning mist, rounded his two friends and what was left of the Corps. He walked now so slowly back towards the previous corner, before which they had first met the fey boy, that he hardly noticed how after a while he stopped completely and stayed still, staring up above the roofs.

The crescent moon was squinting at him through fluttering haze. Only when the sound of footsteps startled him, did he become aware of the cold which had numbed his mind and body.

“You didn’t go further…” Harry said beside him.

“Or find… anyone, either,” Jonah added.

Both boys were still clutching their wands, but they had not bothered to dry their clothes either, even though they were visibly shivering.

“I took him there,” Jonah continued after a brief silence.

“We did. And he asked for it,” Remus replied, forcing himself to talk. “Perhaps there was no way for him to avoid it. The creatures had invited him… and I trust they know he was determined not to hurt anyone on either side. He’ll have his reward… somewhere.”

When Jonah resumed walking towards the gravel road, Remus kept to his side without minding his steps on the edge of the wide gutter.

After a while Jonah spoke again. “You didn’t know him…”

“I wish I had… I’ve been to Greece and I liked the people a lot.”

“Greece…”

It might have been stupid to take up such a topic, but Remus wanted to cautiously give Jonah a chance to talk about Kostas. Therefore he asked, “Was he born in this country?”

“He said he came from Cyprus… in 1974, when he was almost ten. Too late for going to school. It took him some years to learn the language, and before his parents started making any money. You know, he used to like talking to me…” Jonah had launched into a fluent account, but now his voice became stifled again. “I wanted him… to be my… Dolly, at least, to have…”

Remus wrapped an arm around Jonah’s back and squeezed his shoulder, while they continued to walk. “I’m sorry… and thank you. The two of you did handle it – as well as possible.”

He glanced at Harry, who was walking behind him, but there were no more winks or grins.

Jonah was soon leading again. When he reached the plank across the ditch, he chose to follow the same path in the shelter of the thicket which they had taken earlier.

By the end of this foolhardy adventure Harry had proved his ability to stay calm and cunning. Perhaps he had learnt such resourcefulness due to his previous encounters with evil will since he was eleven – and also due to the unfair treatment he had endured before that.

Instead, could this trip possibly have taught anything to Harry? Had there been any purpose in it? Perhaps the interference had saved a few lives of people who would now continue to serve the enemy until their next opportunity to become victims. Perhaps Umbridge would have to be more careful, so that any suspicion possibly awoken in Harry Potter himself would not lead to questionable revelations in any inquiries. But Harry had hardly got any clearer idea of the lives of these wizards, witches and other creatures. The images of life and unrelenting hope had actually dimmed in Remus’s own mind as well.

All he could now say to Harry was to ask about the current situation. “Are you sure the Corps aren’t following us?”

“The healers brought a Portkey, so they all left for St Mungo’s. We gave the impression we had our broomsticks nearby and we’d fly back to some people we were visiting close to London.”

“Good. I hope we’ll get back through the off-license. Anthony said he’d shut down the floo.”

Harry replied bluntly without meeting Remus’s eyes, “Let’s just wake him up and buy some… firewhiskey.”

In front of the off-license, too, the gravel road was illuminated only by the waning moon. The lanterns had been turned off. However, before Jonah had knocked on Anthony’s door, a flickering light like a lonely flame appeared behind the window.

The bearded face peeking through the crack of the door was lit up in a surprising smile as well. Could Anthony have heard the tinkling of coins in Harry’s pocket, or why was he so happy about their return? Remus turned to check that Harry had covered his forehead again.

Having hurried them, this time in – with almost exaggerated gestures of hospitality – Anthony extended his hand to Remus. “I have to apologise. I must be a bit slow, but soon after you’d left I was sure I’d recognised you. This is an honour. Besides, I have a chance to offer a service both to you and to a beautiful lady. She’s waiting…”

Tapping both Harry and Jonah on the back, Anthony started pushing the three of them towards a table behind the counter. He was so absorbed in his excitement that he evidently did not pay any attention at all to their emotional and physical state.

In the warm light of a candle Remus was startled to see that both boys’ hands and clothes were covered with blood. Only now did he realise that he inevitably wore similar signs of the battle. Somehow he felt he did not deserve to get rid of them, but he quickly settled with the appropriateness of spells, which would make them appear neater and less suspicious only for a limited period of time in any case. “Scourgify, Siccarus,” he muttered quickly three times, aiming his wand first to his friends.

Remus wondered if this shop-owner had any idea of what they had been doing and what had just happened in the neighbourhood. Yes, he was certainly able to guess some of it, since he had talked at least to a couple of recruits. But now he seemed to be interested in something else.

When Anthony noticed what he was doing and looked astonished, Remus caught himself explaining, “Just preparing ourselves for… meeting that lady.”

Until spelling this out he had been unable to properly register all of Anthony’s words. Now he could not repress his amazement. “How is it possible that you want and manage to arrange a meeting between…?”

Remus was still not sure whether the two of them had the same and correct idea of who this lady was. He remained standing close to the table, still holding his wand, and he was happy to see that Harry and Jonah looked alert as well.

“Some of her new followers have asked me to send a message through them, if you should drop by,” Anthony explained with pride in his voice. “When I moved down from Yorkshire, I found here – among… well, among them – my brother. We lost him when he was ten. Perhaps I came not only in the hopes of good business, but because I wanted to find out what had become of him… But it’s no time for talking about me. She’s been waiting…

Remus now trusted he knew about whom Anthony was talking. Still, the sight of her was startling.

When Anthony pulled aside a curtain so as to reveal a low door-opening in the back wall, the light fell first on the crown formed by her golden brown plaits. She had bent her head to enter the room, but after having straightened up she was as tall as the bulky shop-owner. However, she looked slimmer than Remus had remembered, perhaps because now she was not wearing the hides but simple grey robes.

She took the few steps to stand in front of him, quite close to him, with a playful smile on her enticing lips. But when their eyes met, hers became serious, almost sad. “Not the best moment for hopeful plans, is it?”

“It’s… you – good to see you. And yes, it is… I mean, hopeful plans are what I need right now.”

She lifted her arms cautiously. Her hands were empty, but he felt that she wanted to offer to him again the bowl of life in her embrace.

With his face buried in her shoulder he received another gift from her. No youthful strength or exuberant joy, since the moon was fragile. The warmth of her body and spirit, certainly. Renewed clarity of mind, awareness of the nuances of the situation, combined with confidence in the existence of right choices.

When the two of them slowly pulled apart from each other, he sensed clearly also Harry and Jonah’s astonishment – mixed with indignation and a trace of disappointment. He felt a need to declare that this was not his woman.

“This is… not an old friend,” he managed to say, almost amusing himself. “We’ve met only once before…”

She was still holding his left hand, and he knew he had the permission to reveal anything.

He continued, “When we first met, in September … Hecate saved me – helped me escape her village just before the rise of the full moon. And, well, these are Jonah and Harry.”

He wished Hecate’s touch could help the boys as well. But he knew that she would never be much more than an ordinary woman in their eyes. He could only hope that they would not consider her less than that – and that they would allow her to touch their hands. That she would do it, instead of following some such customs of her village which could have been – in addition to a specific decision to torture an alien werewolf by denying physical contact – a partial reason for the manner in which Remus had been welcomed to Ice-Stare’s village.

His fears turned out unnecessary. Hecate let go Remus’s hand and stepped closer to the boys, offering one hand to each of them. They replied to the gesture without any visible hesitation.

However, as soon as she touched their skin she hardly managed not to recoil. Rubbing their fingers, she said, “The two of you are too young and too human for this… this blood, I mean. Did you have to kill?”

Jonah merely stared at her; Harry shook his head. “No… not yet.”

“Remus, you must take these children home. I’ll see you again. Even though I’d better not leave my village too often any longer. We are preparing ourselves… But most of those who want to follow you and me remain here. They need to learn a lot, your peaceful defence magic, for instance. So I hope you’ll come and guide them. If you can possibly bear working with Paul.”


The first half of Chapter Eighteen here.

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Comments {4}

kellychambliss

(no subject)

from: kellychambliss
date: Aug. 6th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
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I really enjoyed Remus's talk with Harry -- the way he politely and honestly challenges Harry's preconceptions, gives him other ways of looking at ideas that Harry has accepted with perhaps little thought. I like the careful way you set up the complex social interactions of the creatures, the racial and class issues.

No, perhaps it was only Remus’s wish that Harry could be like the Marauders as young boys: looking for adventure for the fun of it.

I find myself wondering why Remus would wish this: though he (believably) still loves the Marauders, he also understands their flaws, and surely one of those flaws was this willingness to charge rather blithely into "adventure" just for the hell of it -- when often the "adventure" was serious life business for the other people involved, not just a lark.

A powerful, well-paced chapter overall; you cover a lot of emotional ground, and the OCs add a lot (love Hecate especially).

the light fell first on the crown formed by her golden brown plaids.

I wonder if you mean "plaits"? (braided hair?)

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PaulaMcG

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from: paulamcg
date: Aug. 11th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
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Your appreciation of the social interactions I show in this story continues to warm my heart. Thank you also for pointing out Remus’s politeness and honesty in the way he challenges Harry. You’ve made me first realise that perhaps information on my HP world is more enjoyable to receive in the form of talk like this to Harry – and then that perhaps I’ve also made use of Harry here (too) so as to challenge readers as well.

Having already got used to your praise of my IC Remus, I was startled by how you questioned that wish of his. And I have to agree with you. You’ve helped me understand that what I’ve actually meant to say is “wish that Harry could afford to be like...”. Remus was not sad that Harry wasn’t irresponsible, but that Harry had no chance to be carefree.

I’m thrilled you call this chapter powerful, and that the pacing as well as the emotion work for you. It’s also wonderful that you’ve enjoyed meeting again this female OC. I’ve sometimes wondered if she remains too ideal, romantic a figure (even romantic in the sense that some readers might regard her as a love interest for Remus), but I think the story benefits from the contrast between her like that (in Remus’s mind and through his eyes – which is how we perceive everything here) and others Remus interacts with. Perhaps a reader can still extrapolate a full person – a real, powerful woman.

Thank you once again for your highly valuable feedback – including the help with Hecate’s hair!

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kellychambliss

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from: kellychambliss
date: Aug. 27th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
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I was startled by how you questioned that wish of his. And I have to agree with you. You’ve helped me understand that what I’ve actually meant to say is “wish that Harry could afford to be like...”. Remus was not sad that Harry wasn’t irresponsible, but that Harry had no chance to be carefree.

Ah, I understand now. Yes, this makes good sense.

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PaulaMcG

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from: paulamcg
date: Aug. 27th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for replying! I’m so glad to hear that what I’ve wanted to say here can make sense, after all.

And I’m overjoyed to receive your wonderful comments on the next section. I’ll enjoy composing a proper thank-you note soon. It means a world to me that (even when the summer is over) you continue to read this story and to share your thoughts about it.

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