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Running With Wolves : The Journals and Correspondences of Cerridwyn Lupin (Year 2) by Aurora Dawn
Chapter 41 : Odds and Ends
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 6


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Well, the inevitable happened today. It was only just a matter of time I suppose before Fenrir showed up here at the house. I'm actually surprised that he hasn't been here sooner, considering that his daughter has lived with me on and off for several months.

Mary Ann and I were out in the yard having a snowball fight when she suddenly froze, snowball in hand, as she stared at something over my shoulder. Her expression had instantly gone blank and unreadable. I turned to see what was bothering her and saw Fenrir lumbering out of the woods.

"Just me." he said, as though his presence was not a cause for alarm. His tone was friendly which put me even more on my guard.

"Is there something you want?" I asked, trying to sound casual. I have a fine line to walk around him with Mary Ann living with me. I'm afraid to set him off for fear of him taking her away in retaliation. At the same time I feel the need to let him know that he needs to keep his distance from me too.

Mary Ann came to stand beside me, whether the gesture was protective in nature or if she was looking to be protected, I wasn't sure.

"I'm sorry about that fuss with Sheila the other day." said Fenrir as he approached. "If she does it again, I'll kill her."

I put my hands into my pockets casually, the better to get hold of my wand in an unobtrusive way. Fenrir recognized the gesture for what it was however, and laughed. "You don't need that. I came here to thank you for taking such good care of my girl." he said, reaching out to rest one huge hand on Mary Ann's head in what was supposed to be an affectionate gesture.

Mary Ann visibly stiffened, but held her ground, her expression still neutral. There was absolutely no life in her empty eyes as she waited quietly to see what was coming next.

I wondered what Fenrir was up to. Hadn't he shouted at me on the night that Royal had kicked him out of the werewolf commune that he didn't want Mary Ann and I could keep her? Why was he suddenly interested in her now?

"Not going to say 'hi' to your old dad?" he asked, looking at Mary Ann.

"Hi." came the prompt, mechanical answer.

"Wish you could do something about her manners." he said, turning back to me. "And teach her to look people in the eye when she talks to them. You have a wand now, do you Mary Ann?"

"Yes."

"Can you do anything with it? Not a squib after all?"

For a moment I saw fire spark in Mary Ann's eyes and her head shot up as she looked Fenrir in the face. "No. I'm. Not."

"Mary Ann was actually manifesting her powers without a wand." I told Fenrir coldly.

"What did she break?" he asked, indicating that he had known all along that Mary Ann had had untapped magical abilities.

"Nothing that wasn't fixable."

"Well, she has a temper, I know. Gets it from her mother obviously." said Fenrir, not quite managing to keep a straight face. "Where'd she get a wand? Steal it, did you, Mary Ann?"

"No." said Mary Ann, and this time I could hear suppressed rage in her tone. I remembered that it had been Remus suggesting that she might be a thief that had originally turned her against him.

"No, I suppose not. You don't have the nerve." answered Fenrir, as though a reluctance to steal was a serious shortcoming. "You bought it for her?" he asked, turning to me.

"Yes."

"Well that was nice of you. You did say 'thank-you' didn't you Mary Ann? Probably not. You get your manners from your mother too. Me, on the other hand, I can act civilized despite what Lupin says. How is Lupin anyway? Is his father dead yet?"

"No." I answered, trying not to sound annoyed and wondering if he was ever going to get to the point.

Fenrir smirked and then reached into his pocket for a grubby money pouch. "Got paid half up front for a job I'm going to do this next full moon....what do you do with Mary Ann during full moons anyway?"

"I give her wolfsbane potion."

"Do you? It must be costing you a fortune having her here, especially with how she eats." Fenrir counted out ten galleons. "Here. For you."

"No. Thank you." I answered, trying not to sound completely furious. No way was I going to accept blood money.

He smirked. "If it's bothering you, I didn't get it for doing a kid. It's for the romantic rival of the man who paid me. Seems to think it'll raise his chances if the competition get turned into a werewolf."

"No thank you." I said again.

"Well you take it then." said Fenrir, shoving the gold into Mary Ann's fist. "And before I go, let me see you do some magic."

"My wand is in the house."
 
"Well run get it then. Go on. I'm not going to jump on top of your friend here and attack her or anything...if you hurry." His tone was light and cheerful which somehow made it more malicious. My hand tightened around the wand in my pocket.

Mary Ann shot me a worried look and then turned and headed for the house.

Fenrir's gaze turned back to me. "I guess you think I'm horrible for the other night, that thing with Royal. It's true that if I get the chance I'll rip his wife and children to shreds, but so what? He started it. I can't just stand around and let myself be disrespected, can I? One thing I tried to teach Mary Ann is that if someone starts something with her, she needs to finish it. I must say she's been a bit disappointing though. Never really accepted her true nature. Kind of like Lupin -- I bet he's never bit anyone in his life. Unnatural for a werewolf. We are what we are."

I ignored him, knowing that if I commented or disagreed it would just make him keep talking. The big blowhard.

Mary Ann came running across the yard as fast as she could go. Out of fear that she might lose her temper and turn her wand on Fenrir, I presented her with a snowball on which to demonstrate the levitation charm and prayed she wouldn't hit him with it. Fenrir does seem to command her respect though. I don't think that the idea once crossed her mind. She performed the spell quickly and then turned to him and waited.

"Is that it?" he asked.

"I haven't been learning long." she answered, just managing to keep affront from her tone. "I know how to unlock doors with magic too."

"Do you?" asked Fenrir, and I saw the first glimmer of genuine interest spark in his eyes. I suddenly knew what he was up to. He'd re-thought things and had come to see if Mary Ann's magical training could somehow be worked to his advantage. Being a thief --- among other things --- it's no wonder that the 'alohomora' charm would catch his interest.
I realized that at some point, when he decided that Mary Ann had been taught enough by me to make her useful to him, he would try to take her back. Eventually I was probably going to have to fight him.

"You behave yourself and learn what she has to teach you." Fenrir told Mary Ann. "She's a genuine Hogwarts teacher, you know. Hand picked by Dumbledore so they say." He looked at me as though wanting confirmation. I made no answer. "Well, I guess I'll see you around." he said, turning back to the woods.

Mary Ann watched him in silence until we were sure he was gone. Her face was no longer blank, but looked as though she felt sick to her stomach. "He's going to take me back. He wants me to help him break into places."

"I got that idea myself." I answered, feeling equally sick. "But let's not worry about it. I doubt he'll try taking you back until I'm ready to leave here. By that time we'll hopefully have found a home for you. If not, you'll come to Hogwarts with me. I don't care how bad he is --- no way is he setting foot on Hogwarts land while Dumbledore is there."

Mary Ann fished around in her pocket and pulled out the gold he'd given her. "I know I cost a lot to keep here."

"I don't want it."

"It would be stupid to not use it."

"Maybe we could buy you some clothes with it." I suggested.

"Yeah. We could go to Diagon Alley, and while we're in the area we could go see Jillian. I bet she buys lunch. Or...." she said more thoughtfully. "Maybe I could buy her lunch."

I was surprised by this sudden upswing of generosity. I have been noticing little positive changes in her lately though. For instance, although her mouth is just as smart as ever she has at least stopped physically attacking people. If Fenrir takes her back, every bit of improvement she's made will just be washed away. Well, I'm not going to let that happen.



Nights keep going  by faster and faster with Severus and I making no serious progress in the basilisk hunt. Maybe I did the wrong thing by suggesting we look for the basilisk and not the chamber itself. I don't know, but the whole thing is just making me sick. We're running out of time and are no closer to finding it than we were when we started.

Severus seems neither disappointed nor surprised by this. If anything, I think he's glad that I haven't been put into any danger. His worst fear is that I'll come to Voldemort's attention and  I know he doesn't want me involved in this at all. I have a feeling that appealing to Dumbledore for more time won't help if he's promised Severus that he'll stick to the deadline originally agreed on between the two of them.

If anything, Severus seems to be treating our excursions into the sewers as training exercises or something. We're back to drilling unforgivables again, practicing on rats and bats and whatever else comes our way. We found a lost cat down there the other night and I think he would have cursed it if I hadn't put my foot down. I brought it back up to the surface where hopefully it returned to its owner.

He's even had me practice fiendfyre one time, deciding apparently that all the water made up for the danger of the close confines. It's a pretty cool effect when fiendfyre lights up an entire canal full of water as though it was full of gasoline. Severus, slightly caught off guard by this unexpected effect, had to respond quickly with the countercurse to freeze the water in turn.

"Oh great. We backed up the sewers." I said, looking at the now still canal.

"No...it isn't really backed up. The water will continue pouring into the passage and the level will rise because of the ice, but it won't cause any damage."

"Well let's be glad the fire didn't get out of control. I could have just seen someone sitting on a toilet when all of a sudden fire came shooting up through the u-bend."

"I wonder which pipe leads to Lockhart's rooms? You should try there." Severus suggested, making me laugh.

I am enjoying getting to spend so much time with him, I just wish we were doing something more useful. I know Dumbledore would not approve of some of the spells we've been casting down there at all, and though there's really only so much we can do, I feel like we're not doing enough. I wish I had more time.






The boys -- Basil and Augustus -- came by today with some good news. At least something's going right for somebody.

"Oh, it's Fenrir junior." said Basil when Mary Ann opened the door and found the pair of them standing on the doorstep.

"Oh look, it's the guy that will never get to kiss Tonks." she answered, turning away with a smirk.

Augustus was laughing as they entered the house and shut the door behind themselves. "Guess what Kerri -- we have good news."

"Good news?" Mary Ann repeated. "Does that mean that you're leaving already? Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

"How do you stand her?" asked Basil, removing his head from the refrigerator to glare at Mary Ann with great dislike.

"How can you stand knowing that Tonks would rather kiss a dementor than you?" Mary Ann shot back.

"You bratty little ----"

"If you two don't behave, I'll put you both in detention." I told them in my best school teacher tone.

"Oh please. Don't try that on me." said Basil contemptuously.

"We have Muggle jobs." Augustus said happily. "We start after the full moon. We told them we needed to give notice at our old job, but mostly we just didn't want to start a new one while we felt under the weather. And we're thinking of not telling the Goyles that we're quitting. We might just not show up."

"You're the supervisor of the packing department, Basil. Won't that create problems if you just disappear?" I asked.

"I hope so." he answered fervently.

"You shouldn't burn your bridges. What if something goes wrong?"

"What can go wrong? We're going to be janitors. We're going to sweep floors and clean toilets and ---"

"Toilets could be good for you." Mary Ann interrupted, snickering. "Become one with the toilet."

"Anyway...." said Basil, ignoring her. "Thought you'd like to know."

"The best advice I can give you is to try not to talk too much at first. Look and listen instead. Be good employees and they won't care if you seem a bit odd. "

"We're used to people thinking we're odd." said Augustus dismissively.

"Well, like you said, how much trouble can you get into cleaning floors and toilets?" I asked. "You lived most of your lives without having wands or being formally trained in magic. You're used to doing things by hand."

"Don't worry about us. If nothing else, we'll dazzle the Muggles with our charm." said Basil cheerfully. "Oh --- by the way. When you leave for work on the night of the full moon, don't have heart failure when you walk outside and find the yard full of werewolves. We heard about the thing with Sheila and we're going to make sure no one messes with you."

"You don't have to do that." I told them.

"Yes, but we're going to."

"The last time you came here on a full moon Remus had a fit because Fenrir came to investigate."

"Remus will get over it." said Basil dismissively as he finished making a sandwich that must have been a foot thick. "Hey -- thanks for the food."

"Yeah. And for helping us with this job idea." agreed Augustus, backing toward the door with a block of cheese and a box of chocolate chip cookies.

"They're stealing all our food." Mary Ann complained.

"I'll cook later." I promised as I watched them go.

I hope this job thing works out. I'll feel like it's my fault if it doesn't, since I'm the one that suggested it. They're very happy about it though and I know that they're good workers. What's the worst that can happen?



Some good news today and some bad news today.

"It's your idiot boyfriend." Mary Ann told me, poking me awake.

The sun was glaring in through a crack in the curtains and I rolled over to get it out of my eyes. Between excursions through the sewers at night and going to work in the wee hours of the morning, I'm not getting much sleep lately. "What does he want?" I asked.

"How should I know? I try not to talk to him much."

Rolling my eyes I pulled on a bathrobe and left the bedroom. Remus met me with a Daily Prophet in hand and a very excited air. "Look at this."

The paper was turned to an article about a wizard who had been caught with illegally magically altered purple chickens while trying to slip past the authorities dressed as a priest. "Mundungus Fletcher? Isn't that the guy that sold Basil that stolen car?"

"Yes -- but that's not what I want you to see. The other article down at the bottom."

It was a tiny piece, only one paragraph long, stuck down in the very corner of the page. "They lifted the law against werewolves apparating on public land?" I asked, surprised. "What prompted that?"

"Well, there have been rumors about it for a while now. Usually when they give us a privilege it means that they're going to take another away. Another rumor going around is that Umbridge and McNair are writing a bill to have us re-classified as beasts instead of beings. I prefer to be optimistic though."

"McNair doesn't live far from here. Let's go kick his ass." Mary Ann cheerfully suggested.

"I'm sorry I woke you up, Kerri, but I had an thought of a place we could go to take advantage of the apparition law being struck down." said Remus, ignoring her. He paused for a moment as he looked at me, seemingly distracted. "Kerri, I don't think I've ever seen you just fresh out of bed with the sun shining on you like that. You look especially pretty -- your cheeks are so pink."

"She hasn't had breakfast yet -- she doesn't want to go anywhere." Mary Ann informed him.

"I'll make breakfast." I said.

"I've eaten." Remus answered.

"Yes, but I've learned a lot about werewolf appetites over the last year or so. I'm sure you can eat again."

"Is your father really dying?" Mary Ann asked Remus, making me want to strangle her.

"Mary Ann!" I exclaimed.

"Your father suggested that didn't he?" asked Remus calmly after a moment of shocked silence. "Has he been here recently?"

I wanted to stomp on Mary Ann's foot to shut her up but there was no way I could do it without Remus seeing.

"Just the other day." Mary Ann answered.

"I didn't want to worry you." I told Remus quickly.

"Kerri." he said, and the disappointment in his tone made me flinch.

"His daughter is here...he does have a legal right to see her. I can't do anything about it until I find somewhere safe for her to live. He didn't come in or anything."

Mary Ann was looking from one to the other of us avidly, probably hoping we'd get into a fight. I wondered if she'd planned that when she started the whole thing.

"Kerri, I'm trying hard to support you through this but it isn't easy when you keep facts from me." said Remus in a level voice.

"I'm sorry. It just wasn't a big deal. He wasn't even here very long."

Remus glanced at Mary Ann as though wishing she'd give us some privacy. "Kerri." he said, looking back at me "Is it that you don't trust me or that you think I'm incapable of handling problems?"

"I just don't want you worrying." I answered, squirming uncomfortably.

"Kerri, it's a bit late for you to worry about Fenrir hurting me." said Remus, his tone now slightly sarcastic. "You might also consider that I've interacted with werewolves a good deal more than you have. Sometimes I think you forget that I am one."

"I just don't care that you are one."

"I don't need protecting, Kerri. I can take care of myself. Despite the fact that I have a chronic disease, I am not fragile. Or do you think that I am?"

"No, I don't." I said quickly. "I admire how you handle problems. It's just that you worry about me and I don't want you doing that. I think that you sometimes forget that I'm a Hogwarts graduate."

"You've never seen Fenrir Grayback at his worst and I hope that you never do. You do not comprehend how dangerous he really is and that makes you easy prey."

"All right, fine. I'll tell you everything. While he was here I got the feeling that he thinks it would be useful to have a daughter who can do magic. He asked about your father --- like he always does -- but you already know that." I said, shooting a furious look at Mary Ann who was looking disappointed that Remus and I did not seem to be arguing. "He talked about killing Celestia and her children, but that's nothing new either since he's been doing that a lot lately. He's been hired to bite someone this next full moon and been paid up front so he gave Mary Ann some gold. And if it really makes you happy to know --- there have been times when he's barked at me from the woods on full moon nights. He hasn't done it since Mary Ann moved in though and the boys are going to be here to keep an eye on things this month."

"I know they are."

"You do?"

"Who do you think gave them the idea?" asked Remus.

"Well who's keeping secrets now?"

"I didn't want to worry you."

Mary Ann was looking hopefully from one to the other of us again. To spite her I kissed Remus, despite the fact that I was annoyed with him. I'm not fragile either. "From now on I won't keep things back." I promised...about the Fenrir Grayback situation at least. "What do you want for breakfast?"

"Eggs and bacon and toast and waffles and sausage and ham." Mary Ann promptly recited.

"I think I heard her say frozen waffles, didn't you?" I asked Remus.

"I'm certain it was in there somewhere."

"Good. That's what I'll make. Now where is it that you wanted to go?"

"To see Vashti to ask her if she's willing to introduce us to that couple I mentioned. Someone who might be willing to take you in." Remus added for Mary Ann's benefit.

"All the places you could practice apparating on public land to, and you want to go see her." I complained. "Maybe I'll make eggs, and bacon and toast, and all the rest of it after all. That should buy some time."

"I can go alone if you prefer."

"No way." I said flatly. Vashti has not shown interest in Remus ever since he began seeing me, but I still don't want to give her any opportunities to get her claws in him.

"What are you going to do with me while you're gone?" Mary Ann asked.

"As it's your future we're discussing, I think you should come along." Remus told her.

I showed off some advanced cooking skills with the toaster and finished eating long before Mary Ann did. She was still stuffing her face with everything she could reach when I went to my room to get dressed, Remus ceding a good deal of his portion to her, as I hoped she noticed.

When I returned from my room, Mary Ann was still eating and Remus was sitting at my desk with a peculiar expression on his face. "Sexiest Sorcerers?" he asked, holding up the calendar Tonks had given me for Christmas.

My mouth fell open in horror and I could feel blood rushing to my face. "Tonks gave me that as a joke. I had it stuffed into a drawer -- where did you find it?"

"Right here in plain view."

"Mary Ann!" I shouted.

"I was looking up when the full moon was!'' she said quickly.

"Full moon is right." I muttered, looking at Mr. January. Taking it from Remus who was looking highly amused at my reaction, I shoved it underneath a pile of books. "I swear to God I'm going to throw it away. Or maybe send it to Charlie Weasley anonymously. He'll blame Fred and George."

"Well, shall we go?" asked Remus, who I could tell was trying not to laugh.

"Maybe we better." answered Mary Ann, seeing the furious glare I was shooting at her.

I'd never been to Vashti's building before but it was built on the same plan as all Minsitry provided werewolf housing. Three wings, several stories, lots of rickety stairs and landings. Bad plumbing too, apparently.

"How do you know where her room is?" Mary Ann slyly asked Remus, apparently still hoping to start a fight.

"I've been here before."

Mary Ann snickered.

"I was here on business for the band. It was when I was trying to negotiate with her on the Howl Off issue." Remus clarified.

"Negotiate? Is that what you call it?"

"It might be a good idea if you don't talk much while we're here." I suggested.

"I don't have to talk much. All they have to hear is "Fenrir Grayback's kid" and that'll be the end of it."

Remus stopped before a door on the third floor and knocked. On the other side we could hear something being dragged on the floor and soft cursing. Moments later the door opened and there stood Vashti. I might not have known her if I had run into her looking like that out in public somewhere. Her black hair was tied demurely back at the nape of her neck and she looked completely different without her makeup or the glittering red dress that she habitually wears onstage. She was wearing a simple robe of a rough brown material which made her look younger somehow. Her expression upon seeing us at her door was surprised and unfriendly. "What do you want?" she asked bluntly.

"I'm sorry to bother you," said Remus politely "but Kerri and I have a matter we'd like to discuss."

Her eyes fell on Mary Ann. "I know who you are. I doubt I want to hear this." she said, but nevertheless swung the door open wide to admit us.

Her room was small, sparsely furnished, and had only one window. The floor was covered in bowls of varying sizes that were catching water leaking from the ceiling. "Bathroom upstairs." she explained.

"I could fix that for you." Remus offered.

"Have at it." she answered, sitting down on the low sill of the window and crossing her arms over her chest.

"Impervious." he said, pointing his wand at the ceiling. The water instantly stopped dripping.

"Well chivalry isn't dead after all." said Vashti, sounding bored.

"You're welcome."

"Now what are you doing here? Let's not kid ourselves. We don't like each other very much so what brought you to my door?"

"Speaking for myself, I have no dislike of you." said Remus.

Vashti looked from him to me. "I know your girlfriend here has other feelings. Why do you have this girl living with you? She isn't a puppy dog or something that you can keep as a pet."

"Why do you always assume I have some bizarre motive?" I asked.

"Because people like you don't usually do much good for people like us."

"Actually, we didn't come to discuss Kerri." Remus cut in. "We wanted to discuss Mary Ann here."

"What about her?"

"I've heard that there is a couple in this building who have been thinking about starting a family but are hesitant to have a child of their own."

"Do people have nothing better to do than gossip?"

"It's untrue?"

"No. It's true. But if you're thinking what I think you are, I think they had in mind something small, cute, and not related to Grayback."

"I told you so." said Mary Ann in an audible whisper.

"I'm sorry." said Vashti, pinching the bridge of her nose. "It's been a long day and it isn't even noon yet.'

"We came to you because we know that you hold a sort of leadership position here." Remus told her. "We was hoping you'd make introductions."

"And if they do take the kid we'll end up with Fenrir Grayback on the rampage here. I heard that he's been threatening Royal Fabian and it's just a matter of time before he makes good on it. You keep messing with him and you'll end up belonging here after all." she warned me.

I didn't reply. I thought it was best to just keep my mouth shut and let Remus do the talking.

"I was trying to tell her that." Mary Ann agreed with Vashti. "She's so stupid sometimes."

Remus cleared his throat. "I know that taking Mary Ann would be a risk to anyone. Whoever does it will certainly have to relocate."

"Here's an idea. You marry whats-her-face here and adopt the kid and set up housekeeping together at Hogwarts when she goes to teach. Dumbledore will love it I'm sure." was Vashti's facetious solution.

"That wouldn't be feasible." said Remus without flinching. "Getting married for such a reason is unrealistic. Besides, if I married Kerri it would ruin her reputation and her career most likely."

"And I'm sure she wouldn't want to risk that. It's okay to play around with werewolves but she certainly wouldn't want to make a serious commitment, mess up her career. And you --- I'd think you'd have more pride than to let yourself be led around like a puppy --"

"I don't think this is worth his pride or mine." I snapped getting to my feet. "I'm not going to just sit here and listen to you insult us like that. I'm sick of you shooting off your big mouth about things you know nothing about. "

Vashti flowed to her feet as well, as smoothly as a snake about to strike.

Remus positioned himself between us while Mary Ann watched avidly, as though the scene was an entertaining show on television.

"Get off it, Lupin.' said Vashti coldly. "I have more class than Grayback. I'm not going to attack your girlfriend unless she makes me. Look -- I even feel sorry for the kid here. I'll talk to Alan and Binne and see what they say -- assuming you want my help -- or does she speak for you?"

"No, that's fine. We appreciate it." said Remus, ignoring the jibe. "We'd also appreciate if this was kept as quiet as possible. We'd rather her parents not know this is going on until after she disappears from their reach."

"Well of course. Now get this..." Vashti looked at me and faltered as though she could not think of any word bad enough for me. "...out of my room." she lamely finished.

"Porous." I said, undoing the spell Remus had placed on her ceiling to fix the leak. Masses of water began flowing again.

"Impervious." Remus re-corrected it. "Kerri -- let's go."

Mary Ann was laughing as she followed us out.

"Calm down." said Remus to me as we headed down the hall.

"Calm down? As far as I'm concerned, we can do without her help. "She insulted me -- she insulted you -- maybe you can sit still and just take it, but I can't. "

"It takes practice"

"Why would anyone want to practice being a doormat?" I asked.

"Yeah." Mary Ann agreed. "My dad taught me not to let anyone push me around."

"That's why." said Remus significantly.

"Oh come on. You're nothing like Fenrir. You don't have to let people insult you to prove it."

"I stand up for myself when I feel it's justified. What would arguing with her over such a ridiculous point have accomplished? A year from now would it matter that she called me a ''puppy dog?'' " asked Remus, laughing as he repeated the insult.

"I'm glad you thought it was amusing."

"Laughing at things is better than fretting.  You'll be going gray in your early thirties too if you're not careful."

We passed a knot of people talking on a landing. They were Full Moon Rising supporters and they 'booed' us.

"Blow it out your ---" Mary Ann began before I clapped a hand over her mouth and hustled her down the stairs. "How come you can do it and I can't?" she questioned.

'Because I could blast them all through the wall if I had to.' I didn't say it, but I thought it. Remus would have had a fit, and besides, I knew he was right. "For all of the reasons Remus just explained." I told her, and relapsed into a seething silence.

Author's Note : Wow -- reviews and chocolate have really been pouring in. I appreciate it.

Next Chapter : The basilisk hunting deadline arrives; Basil and Augustus get fired from their new job.

Excerpt :
"What happened?" asked Tonks, pushing aside her books and sitting back, ready to hear what was probably going to be an entertaining tale. When any of these guys say "promise you won't laugh" usually the story that follows is a good one.

"We got caught playing with our broomsticks." said Augustus seriously.

I saw Tonks's lips twitch and had to look away before she set me off. "Playing with your --- doing what?" she asked as calmly as she could manage.

Basil rolled his eyes. "Well you know that we like to goof around and stuff."

"It was late." said Augustus defensively. "We were tired."

"We started talking Quidditch."

"No one was around though."

"And we were sweeping the floors ---"

"Oh --- those broomsticks." said Tonks in comprehension. "I was wondering."


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