Authors: dramaturgy and thinkatory
Rating: Heavy PG-13, R (for violence)
Word count: 12,047
Era: The First War Against Voldemort (1970-1981)
Characters: Remus Lupin, MWPP/L, Fenrir Greyback, many, many others
Chapter Summary: Jeremy shrugged. "Fenrir sent his assassin to Hati's pack to kill some people and we need to know if something happened and warn them if he hasn't made a move yet. Neither Remus nor I can go -- if he's there, he'll recognise us." He glanced at Remus, then said to Julia, "He's being humble. He's Fenrir's named first, his heir."
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Fathers and Sons
Chapter 23: The Dogs of War
Mr Crouch offered his sincerest promise to the wizarding world that the Ministry would do everything in its power to contain and defeat the unholy alliance between the Dark Creatures and the Dark Lord, citing the terrorist actions of the werewolf community, led by fugitive Fenrir Greyback, as the first of Magical Law Enforcement's aims. In a move unprecedented so far in this war, the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, headed by eminent magizoologist Newt Scamander, and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, announced today that they will be working in partnership to conntrol and end the menace that werewolves pose to the wizarding community. Mary Brookstanton, "The Dogs of War," The Daily Prophet, 9 September 1981.
Barty Crouch was a firm believer in the necessity of a politician using all of the materials at his disposal to bring across the best possible situation for his people. With this philosophy in mind, he had enlisted more Aurors than any previous head of Magical Law Enforcement, carried on a powerful offensive against the Death Eaters, armed his Aurors with the Unforgivable Curses, restored integrity and reputation to The Daily Prophet, but most importantly, there was talk of the position of Minister in his future.
Minister Bartemius Crouch. He could only imagine the good he could do for magical Britain in that position. And at this point in his career, it was an inevitable step forward, though he was far too modest to say it out loud.
It was with this in mind that he proceeded a step further in his campaign, his move to suppress the decidedly Dark motives of dangerous magical creatures such as werewolves. Today his office expected the arrival of a reporter named Mary Brookstanton, whose career consisted mostly of editorials and opinion pieces carefully tailored to offend only those who had no voice in important matters. This was bound to be her biggest story yet, and he intended on making it worthwhile. Hopefully she would prove herself to be worthy of being the one to handle this message.
His door opened and a gathered, professional-looking young woman entered. "Mary Brookstanton, Mr Crouch," his assistant announced, and withdrew to close the door behind the reporter.
He rose to greet her, shaking the hand she offered. "Miss Brookstanton, it's a pleasure," he assured her.
"Mr Crouch, I am so honoured, thank you for the opportunity," Mary said, deferring with a demure smile.
"It's no trouble at all, I assure you." Barty gestured for her to sit. "Shall we begin?"
Obediently, she sat and waited for him to sit as well. "Of course. Now, if you could tell me about what's going on here in MLE recently?"
He watched her set up her note-taking quill with parchment and ink, leaning back in his chair as he considered the question. "As always, our priority lies in combating the forces of You-Know-Who and the Death Eaters. There are many fronts to this war, as everyone well knows -- the servants of You-Know-Who have developed innumerable tactics to terrorise us all, and have many allies who have aided them in their quest to paralyse and intimidate the people of wizarding Britain. Among these allies are the armies of Dark Creatures who agree with You-Know-Who's agenda of terror and intimidation and choose to align themselves with You-Know-Who to use his platform to bring across their own Dark agendas."
"Dark agendas?" Mary repeated, her quill still rapidly taking notes. "Could you clarify, sir?"
"Of course," Barty said, gracious as always. "There are many races, both Beasts and Beings, that are good friends of wizards -- we aid them, they aid us, and we coexist peacefully. There are some, however, who have purposefully turned against wizards and the help we offer, due to some single-minded racial agenda. Many of those races have found an ally as power-hungry and vicious as themselves in You-Know-Who, and have allied themselves with him accordingly."
She nodded, quickly understanding his meaning, but there was nothing like getting a direct quote from the ever eloquent Bartemius Crouch to make your article instantly attractive to readers. "Are there any specific examples you would like to cite? Certain Dark agendas?"
He clasped his hands and looked thoughtful as he thought how to frame the next quote. "Hm. Yes. The werewolves of Britain... they have made it painstakingly clear that they want nothing to do with the wizarding world. Over the years, the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures has noticed a rise in werewolf aggression, which has been well-explained in recent years as coming from the example, and perhaps even leadership, of the fugitive werewolf Fenrir Greyback."
Mary sent him an approving yet grim smile. "What is Magical Law Enforcement doing to combat these creatures and counteract these agendas?" she prompted.
Ah, to the heart of it. Barty didn't even hesitate as he went on. "The Department of Magical Law Enforcement has taken an official stance against the terrorist actions of the werewolf community and we intend to take every action possible to counteract and contain the werewolf menace. We are working in partnership with the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to root the werewolves out and end the unholy alliance the Dark Creatures have with the Dark Lord."
Her eyebrows rose as she quickly finished recording that quote, and barely hiding her excitement, she had to ask, "Do you have any remarks you'd like to add, anything to comfort the wizarding public in this time of trouble?"
He lowered his glasses and spoke from the heart. "I would like to assure the people of wizarding Britain that their Ministry is doing everything it can to contain and defeat the forces that murder innocents and steal its children away in the night -- that their Ministry is doing everything possible to win this war and reclaim the lives of its people back from the terror that is attempting to conquer it. We will win this war, and things will return to the way they once were, and that is a promise."
She rose to her feet. "Thank you, Mr Crouch, it has been such an honour, sir."
He stood and shook her hand. "Thank you for your time, Miss Brookstanton," he said with a professional smile. As she withdrew and left the room with the glow of excited youthful optimism, he sat in his desk and surveyed his office, the papers and responsibility before him, and returned to the work of saving wizarding Britain from itself.
As the days wore on from the last time she saw Jeremy -- that was how Julia calculated time now, the more days she had gone without seeing Jeremy, the fewer it would be until she saw him again – she tried to get rid of the sense of impending doom she felt. Doom was perhaps the wrong word, but for lack of a better term, doom was impending. She ignored it, tried to shake it off, but it didn’t go away, and by mid-September it had turned into nausea. The nausea in turn culminated in her leaning over the toilet in the ladies’ loo at Quidditch Weekly and vomiting up whatever happened to be in her stomach.
The first time she’d dismissed, the second in an hour was annoying, but the third unnerved her. All food from her breakfast was gone, the back of her throat burned with the stomach acid that was being expelled. Once she was sure this round was done, she left the stall and went for the sinks against the opposite wall. She looked at herself in the mirror on the wall. Her cheeks were flushed, she could feel the heat in them, but they looked as though they’d been painted. She was pale underneath, all that stood out was a childish smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks.
A flu wouldn’t come on that suddenly, she knew. She rubbed her hand across her mouth, and the light glinted off her ring in the mirror. Another fact struck her harder than she would have liked, when she realized something else. “Shit,” she swore to the empty bathroom.
The rest of the day saw very little work being done, as Julia spent it obsessing over when her last menstrual cycle had been. The fact that she couldn’t remember a date, or even anything remotely recent was probably indicative in itself of exactly how long it had been. She’d worked herself from ‘slightly confused’ to ‘frantic’ by the time she went home to her tiny flat (two rooms, it could hardly be defined as such in her opinion but she paid practically nothing and it was a place to be out of her in-laws’ hair), and was fully prepared to spent the rest of the night going from ‘frantic’ to ‘hysterical.’
Except she saw her mother’s owl on her table, for a family birthday dinner. Daniel’s, in fact. She hadn’t seen anyone since July, for Abby’s birthday, when she’d finally told them all about her engagement to Jeremy, and then they’d been married by the end of the month. It hadn’t been an overwhelming success, although it was not that she precisely cared. Still, it would have been nice if the thought of having to deal with their collective reaction didn’t bring her nausea back in full force. She changed her clothes, grabbed her bag, and Disapparated before she could talk herself into skipping.
The house near Haverfordwest was plenty big enough for four children to have lived there without much problem. It was still one of Julia’s favourite places – or the land around it was, at any rate – but once she got philosophical about it, she wasn’t sure that she called it home anymore. She lifted the latch to let herself in the front door, and immediately looked to the cloak rack. Her mother’s handbag hung there, and her sister’s did as well. Wonderful. “Hello,” she called.
“Julia?” the return call came from the dining room. Moira Frobisher emerged seconds later, looking as she always had; somehow amazingly put together, but with an air of effortlessness and being busy. “Hello, darling.”
“Hi,” she echoed, letting her mother kiss her on the cheek. “Who’s here besides Abby?”
“Well, now that you’re here, we’re just waiting on Daniel. He’ll be late, they were working late on the Committee, bless their hearts – he’s bringing Heather as well, so the table will be a little bit more crowded than we’re used to. Come on in, we’ve got a bit of wine before dinner – “
The idea made Julia queasy, the nausea from the morning was still lingering. “Um, could I have tea instead? I haven’t been feeling so well today.” The truth, insofar as anything.
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Of course, tea, if you’d rather.” Moira was unabashed about it, which she counted as a good thing.
To her surprise, the tea actually settled her stomach a bit, and it didn’t want to crawl back up her throat. Eventually, Daniel and Heather arrived, complete with a story about a botched Charm that had contributed to their tardiness. Apparently they were told to get used to such things, being on the Experimental Charms Committee. Dinner unfolded pleasantly enough. Julia didn’t have to say much, she just sat in her seat beside Daniel and across from Michael and Abby, listening as everyone else. Things took an abrupt turn when she unthinkingly reached for the salt at the centre of the table, and all of a sudden her arm was yanked when her sister seized her wrist and turned her hand palm down before she cried, “What is that?”
Her ring glittered in the light, it was obvious what Abby was talking about. “Can I have my hand back?” she snapped, stuck in a half-standing position with her sister’s grip around her wrist.
“No! Answer my question,” Abby insisted.
Julia gritted her teeth. “Let me go. You’re killing my shoulder.” And I’d like to be sick again but I’m not close enough to use your lap.
“Let go of her arm, Abby,” Matthew Frobisher said calmly. After a request from her father, Abby did so, and Julia sat back in her chair.
But now all eyes were on her, obviously waiting for the answer to the question that Abby had asked. She looked down at her ring, the row of tiny sapphires and diamonds on the band, and thought of where Jeremy kept his, on a chain around his neck – charmed invisible, naturally. “It’s my wedding ring,” she said, keeping her eye on it to avoid looking any of her family members in the eye.
The silence in the room was crushing, tempered with a palpable tension. “Heather, could I ask you to excuse us for a second?” Matthew asked in a tone that Julia recognized as exceedingly calm – a tone that she knew as being for the situations that were going to try their collective, non-existent patience. Heather Harper, being a girl of no mean intellect, perceived the changed tone in the room and quickly complied, excusing herself politely to the front room of the house.
Once she was gone, any restraint left the tension in the air, leaving it all the more intense. “Now, Julia,” Matthew started diplomatically. “What do you mean by that’s your wedding ring?”
“I mean that I got married and this is the ring Jeremy gave me,” she said.
“You married the werewolf?” Daniel asked, his eyebrows disappearing into his hairline.
”If you want to think of him that way,” she said testily. She finally built up the nerve to look up at her father and mother. To his credit, Matthew held a mostly neutral expression, but Moira was speechless with shock. “I mean. It’s not like it’s untrue, but he has a name.”
“You married Jeremy,” Abby said, as though she was checking to make sure that she had heard Julia correctly.
“Who is a werewolf,” Daniel added.
“Could you stop that?” Julia snapped, turning her head so she could properly glare at him.
“Stop what? Telling the truth? You’re twenty.”
“Yeah? And when do you plan on putting a ring on Heather’s finger, since you’ve only been dating forever?”
The shift of attention was almost palpable in the air, Julia felt eyes leave her and they all focused on Daniel. He was for once, speechless, and there was a telltale blush in his cheeks that all the Frobishers shared. There was too much dead time gone for there to be a timely retort, which meant only one thing: Julia had unknowingly struck a nerve. “Oh Merlin’s buttons, Daniel Frobisher,” Moira finally spoke up, leaning back in her chair with a hand to her forehead, the epitome of a bewildered, put upon parent.
“I think you’re supposed to ask her on her birthday, not yours,” Michael put in helpfully.
”Shut up, I thought we were talking about Julia,” Daniel returned.
“We were,” Moira conceded, not moving a bit. “But don’t think we’re not discussing this later. Julia?”
“What?” she demanded in return. She felt the blood rushing to her face again, and it was especially dangerous at this point. The nausea had lingered, but it didn’t increase. “What’s there to talk about? We’re both adults and we wanted to be married.”
“Well, but isn’t that – “ Abby interrupted herself, looking around the table, looking for a way she could put this. “… not legal?”
“There are loopholes. We exploited them. We wanted to get married.” On two different days. But nobody needed to know that.
“Yes, you said that,” Moira replied patiently, and the more she spoke, the more that Julia felt like a child again, who’d done something wrong and would shortly be on time out for her crime. “I just don’t know where your sense has gone, Julia. You were always such a nice, sensible girl. Lots of talents, quite lovely when you had a mind to speak up – “
“Wait, stop,” she interrupted, holding up a hand. “What is this actually about? Is it because we kind of eloped and didn’t really invite anyone?” Would any of you have come? “I might’ve changed a little? Is it because he’s a werewolf? Can we just stop beating around the bush and get it all out of the way?” She knew she was edging on hysterical, but after the day she’d had and the possibilities of everything suddenly laid in front of her, she felt that she had earned hysteria.
It was the same uncomfortable feeling they’d had in the air when she’d announced the engagement, the feeling of the undeniably awkward elephant in the room. No one wanted to appear unthinking, or in possession of what might be considered archaic prejudices, but the fact was they were there. It was just that nobody wanted to actually be the one to say it. “It’s not necessarily that, per se,” Matthew started slowly, exchanging glances with his wife.
Except it is. “What is it?”
“It’s all the trouble that it’s going to bring you besides,” Moira answered. “Being young and married and in the middle of a war like this – without adding the kind of trouble one of you being a werewolf is going to bring.”
If he even survived all of this. He had to, they had to. “I imagine we’ll take the problems as they come, just like we’ve taken everything else, one at a time,” she said, calmly.
“Well, and if it doesn’t, then it’ll just be easy enough to undo, I’m sure,” Abby said in what Julia was sure she considered a helpful tone, but she could only hear ‘condescending’ and it made her angry.
She opened her mouth to speak but found no need to do so, Michael had silenced Abby with little more than a look. She was still trying to decide what to make of that when Moira spoke again. “We are just trying to keep you from setting yourself up for disappointment like your m – “ Even as Moira stopped herself, it was obvious to everyone how that sentence was meant to end. Like your mother.
If someone had reached out and slapped her, Julia could not have been more shocked. There wasn’t anything left to say. “I’m going,” she said quietly, and swallowed the ball of emotion that had tied itself in her throat. No one stopped her as she pushed her chair back, stood, and left the dining room. She didn’t slow or even stop to pick up her bag on the way out, just took it and walked as fast and as far as she could, before she Apparated back to her shoebox flat, fairly hollow and hurt.
In September of 1981, when the chill of autumn was starting to set in, Fenrir Greyback realised that the war was almost over. He had complete control of all the werewolves except those at Hati's pack, who would soon be under his control. Of course Hati had wands, but as always Fenrir had a plan to deal with that. He had to focus on his victory -- his inevitable victory -- the victory that he couldn't fail to secure. Wesley knew his orders, so there was no reason to call him to a meeting. Fenrir waited in the upstairs room for Conor and Remus to arrive, trying to untangle the possibilities of the various plans as he blankly considered the wall.
Remus was by nature a reflective person, but he hadn't allowed himself much time to do so lately. If he did it, it was a mess of guilt and anger. But mostly guilt. At home they didn't trust him -- except for James and Lily -- and the only person in the pack house who didn't trust him was buried in a shallow grave out back. So he tried not to think about it.
At the appointed time, he ascended the staircase and went to the room where Fenrir normally waited for meetings with his inner circle. He pushed the door open and immediately assumed his deferential demeanor. "Good evening," he said, more of a greeting than he usually made.
"Remus." Fenrir couldn't help but be pleased to see him, but remained reflective and sober. "Have you seen Conor today? I haven't, and that makes me wonder."
"I haven't," he admitted. "But that doesn't necessarily mean much." He hadn't seen Briony either, although heaven only knew what could come back to haunt him if he said that out loud.
"Can't trust a bastard, Remus. They'll only tell the truth when life's on the line, and even then you can't be sure. Ah, Conor," Fenrir went on seamlessly as the older werewolf entered. "We were wondering where you were."
"I wasn't off planning the end of the unified pack, if that's what you thought." Conor closed the door. "I was talking to Briony and Skylar. They had some suggestions, some concerns. As usual, rumours are spreading."
"Rumours. You two are obsessed with rumours." Fenrir didn't look at either of them. "Let's hear it, if you're so concerned. What sort of rumours?"
"More of the same old," he said. Speaking to Fenrir made Remus nervous, sometimes he felt as though all he would need to do is just pull that connection they had as Father and reluctant son, and then he would see everything in his head. "Making war on Hati... possibilities of her attacking us.”
The wolf reached out to its son and Fenrir felt Remus's tension, but it could only be expected of someone who listened to and trusted rumour. "We won't have to worry about Hati soon enough," he said with a smirk. "That's part of why I called you both here. We're going to rid Hati of her wands."
Conor had a strong feeling that this was just as bad as it sounded, especially with Wesley's absence, but there was an equal possibility that Fenrir was just being hopeful. "We are? How are we doing that?"
Remus didn't like this either, mostly because he had a feeling that this was going to involve his wand in some way. He calmly regarded Fenrir in return, feeling the wolves touch as his went still. "Yes, how?"
Fenrir picked at his fingernails. "We only have two wands in the whole of this pack, and I'm sending you both to find Alecto. You're bright, Remus, I know you can figure out a way. Yaxley's useless, we need someone who'll fight for us. The Dark Lord promised us protection and we damned well better get it."
Conor couldn't help but feel a bit puzzled at this announcement, though he did well at hiding it. "We have two wands?" he asked. "And are you saying we're going to declare war before they do?"
Fenrir's breath caught in his throat and then he glared at Conor. "You think they're going to declare war on me?"
Jeremy was the second wand he was counting, Remus knew it had to be. Unless Fenrir knew something that the rest of them didn't, in which case they were severely screwed. "She'd be foolish to do so, of course," Remus added hurriedly before this got out of their hands, "but strategically speaking, not out of the realm of possibility. It could be to her advantage, if she were to strike before we were ready."
"So we should prepare," Fenrir said slowly. "We need wands. We need to rid of her of her wands and get our own. Wesley is already on his way to Hati's pack with a wand and his knives to strike them at midnight, and kill as many wizards as he can."
Remus was stuck somewhere between the incongruous mental picture of Wesley wielding a wand (what was he going to do, poke someone’s eye out with it?) and the image of the plan just disappearing in smoke. There were five at Hati's pack with wands, and many wolves. But he knew just as well as Conor what could happen when Wesley went creeping in the dead of night. "I think preparing would be. After that, yes."
"Fenrir!" Conor walked up to Fenrir where he sat and grabbed the arms of the chair, staring him down like he might have when Fenrir was a boy. "What if he's unsuccessful? Have you thought of that? What if you send Wesley on that fool's errand and the wizards kill him on sight? Hati is smarter than you think, you may have lost us our greatest weapon! We need wands and we need them as soon as we can get them, we might have Hati march on us at this rate."
"Stand back," Fenrir growled, staring down Conor just as harshly. "Don't question me. Remus? Get the Curenton unnamed and find Alecto. I have her address, you'll find her and tell her we need her and her friends as soon as they can come to us. I trust you to handle this and keep the bastard in line."
No one in the Order knew where the Carrows were, not with all their connections, wit, and considerable magical power, Remus somehow doubted that he and Jeremy would be able to unearth Alecto Carrow or even her brother if neither of them wanted to be found. Not that they wanted to Still, what choice was there? "We'll. We'll look," he said, edging towards the door.
"Wait." Fenrir pushed past Conor, opened a drawer and held out a piece of parchment to Remus. "She wrote down all the information there. You have to find her, she'll be willing to back up Wesley at the very least." She had to care. She had to help. They had no chance without her, though he would never admit this.
"Why would you just send Wesley out there without talking to any one of us? Why didn't you consider the possibility of failure?" Conor demanded.
"Because this is my pack and I make the decisions here, and I do not fail, I can't afford to fail," Fenrir snapped back at Conor. "Now leave me, bastard -- Remus, stay for now."
Remus took the parchment and looked at it fleetingly, but put it back down when he was left alone with Fenrir. He didn't dare look at Conor before he left, lest anything be given away. He tried not to look for ways out of this, not yet. "Yes?" he said.
Fenrir stressed their tie, and touched Remus's shoulder at the same time, feeling so intensely that sensation of pack. "I need you to step up as my heir, now. This is the last of our wars. I need your wand. I need your intelligence. Are you prepared for this?"
He had no idea how ready Remus was, or for what. "I am prepared," he said, forcing the wolf to listen to him, and give away nothing.
Fenrir put on a grim smile at that and opened the door for his son. "I knew I could trust you," he said. "Go. Do me proud."
He mirrored the smile and tucked the parchment in his pocket, leaving the room with some speed but not quite what would be considered a hurry. He didn't 'hurry' until he reached the foot of the stairs when he began looking for Jeremy.
Jeremy finished talking to the unnameds and Gemma who he was moving out tonight and left to tell Sky about how things were progressing, only to see the blur of Remus practically running past the end of the corridor he was in. Against his better judgement, he followed and hissed, "Remus!"
Remus slid to a stop and backtracked at the sound of his name. "Jeremy," he said. "There's - there's... we need to go, and we need to talk," he added, keeping his voice low.
Jeremy took this seriously, having no other option, and drew his wand. "Outside, behind the house, Apparate, now." He Disapparated an instant later, pacing the second his feet touched the grass outside of the house.
He followed almost immediately, putting a hand on the wand in his pocket. He kept his footing and looked at Jeremy. "We have a kink," he said quietly. "Fenrir expects us to go find Alecto and bring her back here to help us with war on Hati. And, it is -- he's sent Wesley there to kill as many of the wizards as he can."
Jeremy decided to focus on only one of those at once, because both of them could make his head explode. "He sent Wesley there or he's sending Wesley there? Are we talking about a situation that's already happened? Could someone already be dead?"
"'Wesley is already on his way,'" Remus quoted Fenrir's words. "But he sent him... I saw him yesterday. It had to be today."
"It should take him some time to get there. What was the other thing?" This couldn't be happening. Calm down, the wolf was saying, and he listened, slowing his breaths. "You're supposed to go get Alecto Carrow."
"I am supposed to take you and we are supposed to get Alecto Carrow," he said.
Jeremy was either going to laugh or cry at this situation and at this point, he could only break down and laugh. "You're not serious," he said. "He's sending the two of us to go get her. He realises that'll be nigh impossible, right?"
He recognised the maniacal laughter, and his mouth twitched in return. "Then you're going to love the next part," he said, reaching into his pocket and taking out the parchment. "I have her address. Or what is supposed to be her address. I assume it's correct. I would not doubt that she's out on the Dark Lord's business, though."
All right, now he just couldn't help but laugh, sniggering into his hand. "We... we've been given Alecto Carrow's address." He tried to regain his composure, exhaling. "Okay. Well. We have a few things to do. We have to contact Hati's pack without going there ourselves, in case Wesley is there -- he can't see us -- which means we have to go to the Den. And we have to go find Alecto Carrow."
"And the Lindbergh baby as well, probably," he muttered in return. This was just surreal. "Yeah. Okay. Let's do it."
Jeremy eyed the address. "All right. Is it worth splitting up?" he asked Remus flat-out. "Is it worth the risk that if you find Alecto without me, that she'll inform him? Or should we first send a messenger to Hati?"
Remus hesitated. "I don't want to take chances with Alecto, not when we don't have to. We need to get word to Hati's pack, fast."
Then their path was set. "All right," he said. "I don't trust myself to Side-Along, can you follow?"
He nodded. "I can."
Jeremy Apparated outside of the Den, ascending the steps quickly and speaking to Remus as soon as he appeared. "Welcome to the Den," he called down.
"Thank you," he said, taking in the house for a couple of seconds before following him up the stairs.
Jeremy opened the door and called as loudly as he could, "JULIA, ARE YOU HERE?" He grabbed a copy of The Daily Prophet that was laying on a nearby table and glanced at Remus. "See your pack's new home," he said wryly. "I'm almost worried some of the unnameds will see you and run."
Remus didn't answer, merely gave a dry smile in return, and jumped when there was an answer from the front room.
"Jeremy?" Julia called back, a little confused, but not moving from her place outstretched on the couch.
"She's here," Jeremy said to Remus, and hurried into the front room. "Hey. I need your help. Quickly. ... Are you all right?" Wow, he couldn't afford to be distracted by her now, but it was already hitting him. No.
For the first time in years, Julia wasn't sure that she actually wanted to see Jeremy. She could handle her nerves or his nerves, but both at once may prove to be too much."I'm... fine. What do you need?" she asked, sitting up and running her fingers through her hair.
"I need you to go to Hati." He had never thought about what would happen if Julia wasn't an option. Could he send his father? One of the unnameds? "Are you sure you're okay for this?" He sat next to her, feeling the pressure starting to mount and the wolf's reaction. His wife looked ill, his plan was falling apart, and he still had six werewolves to move to the Den.
He was worried, and that never failed to worry her. "Jeremy, I'm fine." An easy lie. She reached up to touch his face, and dropped her hand after a moment. "I'll go. What's going on?" She glanced at Remus, who was hanging back in the doorway to the sitting room, and did a double take.
Jeremy followed her gaze. "Julia, you might remember Remus Lupin from school. He's my partner in crime these days. Remus, this is Julia -- formerly Frobisher, now Curenton. My wife."
"Certainly ate enough meals at the Gryffindor table," she said, having the face placed for her. "Are you one of the unnameds in the pack?"
"Ah. No," Remus said simply. "It's a great deal more complicated than we really have time for at the minute."
Julia gave him a skeptic look, and looked back at Jeremy. "So? What is going on?"
Jeremy shrugged. "Fenrir sent his assassin to Hati's pack to kill some people and we need to know if something happened and warn them if he hasn't made a move yet. Neither Remus nor I can go -- if he's there, he'll recognise us." He glanced at Remus, then said to Julia, "He's being humble. He's Fenrir's named first, his heir."
Julia blinked at Jeremy, and then looked at Remus before laughing out loud. It was the exact laughter that Jeremy had given behind the pack house. "I can see why you would be good for each other," Remus said dryly.
Jeremy grinned, and quickly kissed Julia's cheek before standing. "I have a message to write. Are you absolutely sure? You look a bit..." He gestured. "White."
She would feel a lot better if she could get an appointment with a Healer before sometime next week. "I'm okay," she said with a little bit of a sigh. "Just write the message and I'll take it."
"Thanks. Thank you so much, Remus, be ready to go," Jeremy added as he rushed out of the room to find some parchment and ink.
Julia picked her trainers up from where she'd pushed them off on the floor when she'd laid down, and untied one. "So," she said, pulling it on her foot. "I guess you weren't bitten after you left school, then."
"No, I wasn't," he said, sticking his hands in his pockets. It was a somewhat sore subject, if she was thinking what he thought she was thinking – what he knew Jeremy thought – and he usually downplayed it considerably. "I was quite young, really."
She nodded, focusing on tying her shoe and then putting the other one on. If he was bitten while young, that meant a werewolf had attended Hogwarts. One werewolf had successfully attended Hogwarts in secret. She had no words, and tried to push it out of her mind. Their silence was long and awkward until Jeremy returned.
Jeremy eyed the two in their tense silence and handed Julia the folded piece of parchment. "Remus, can you give us a minute? I swear it won't be long." He couldn't just leave her. He wished he could, but he couldn't.
"Of course," Remus nodded, and gratefully retreated back to the entryway and stepped outside the front door.
Julia wordlessly tucked the parchment in her jeans pocket and looked up at him. "Yeah," she finally said, clearing her throat.
Just like that Jeremy felt his resolve crumble, and he leaned against her shoulder. "I think I might've underestimated him, I think I fucked it up," he said. "We might -- it might still -- I don't know. I don't know." It was an agonising thing to admit. "I love you. Thank you. I'm sorry and I hope I don't die."
Things were no longer going well, or at least not as planned. She exhaled and touched his back, tense with anxiety. If things had been going well... she closed her eyes, pushing nausea back. "I hope you don't too." Please. "I really hope -- god, Jeremy."
"I'll come back." He touched her face, ignoring the urgent pushes that the wolf gave him. Go. Go. They need you. No, she needed him. "Failure isn't an option. I'll come back."
She almost told him, but in the end, knew it was going to add to his worry and the weight pushing down on him. So she nodded. "We need to go," she said, kissing him.
He held onto the kiss but pulled away with a nod and stood. "Let's go. I'll be back with a new group of people. Good luck," he added, before backing out of the room.
"Good luck," she echoed, pulling her jumper on. Her nausea had not abated, but she could go, and she would go, even with the knowledge that the wind had changed somewhat and now they were improvising.
Remus glanced up when the front door opened and Jeremy exited. "Ready?" he asked mildly, watching him.
"Ready," Jeremy said with a firm nod, pushing Julia out of his mind. "I suppose we have no choice. We weren't lying after all, Alecto is coming back, if we can find her."
"Funny how those things work out," Remus said, pulling the parchment Fenrir had given him out of his pocket. He glanced at it again, pleased to at least see he wouldn't have to be doing any complicated Apparation Arithmancy off the top of his head. "Apparation coordinates," he added, showing Jeremy.
"Oh, good, I think if I had to deal with Carrow and do Apparation Arithmancy in one day I might have brains leaking out of my ears. Remember, privileged named, lowly unnamed," Jeremy reminded Remus, pointing between them respectively. "Ready?"
"I think I have it, thank you," Remus replied. He honestly hoped that they were going to knock on the door and no one would answer, but he didn't suppose their luck ran that way anymore. "Let's go then."
Jeremy paused. "Can I see the numbers again?" Damn if he wasn't getting rusty. Remus showed him. "Okay. I'm good. Let's go." He Disapparated.
He followed behind, reappearing beside Jeremy at what he could only presume was the right location - or as close as they could get, she wasn't taking chances. He'd felt an Apparation ward push him back slightly from where he wanted to go. "We'll have to watch ourselves even closer again, if she comes back," he realized, although with any luck there wouldn't be a pack to be watched in for much longer, either way.
"Oh, Remus, I think you misheard Fenrir's orders," Jeremy said casually. "He said that he'd have us contact her on the day we were going to go. She's not staying with us. He doesn't want her back."
There was a very long moment when Remus didn't say anything at all. "Always a possibility," he said, of course understanding his meaning.
"And Alecto's likely to say that she'll be there as soon as we inform her of the war," Jeremy went on, eyeing the flats they stood across from. "I can't believe she lives in a flat. It looks so normal. I expected a castle of doom."
"Ah yes, but there are many problems with castles of doom. They're drafty, far too spacious for one person to be considered practical, and cleaning it is a nightmare," Remus deadpanned, looking at the parchment again and motioned to Jeremy towards where he figured it would be. "Not to mention it's only worth the investment if it's storming."
"Flat six, that'd be on the second floor, I guess we should just go in," Jeremy said with a shrug, heading towards the building.
It was that simple. They walked up to the building, and they walked in. It was probably locked at night, Remus reasoned, but he still didn't like it. There was a little trouble finding the stairs, but without more trouble than that, they stood in front of flat six. For that kind of trouble, Remus expected a cadre of Death Eaters waiting for them on the other side of the door. He glanced sideways at Jeremy. Privileged named. Right. He knocked on the door.
Jeremy expected to wait a long time for absolutely nothing, and leaned against the wall more casually than he might have if the door hadn't opened within minutes of the knock. "Who is it?" Alecto Carrow's unmistakable sing-song asked from behind the door.
"It's Remus Lupin. I've come from Fenrir with a message... more of a request," Remus started, feeling slightly ridiculous. He'd knocked on a Death Eater's door when most people with his IQ would be running away as fast as they could. "Please open the door."
Alecto opened the door without hesitation and looked at the boy. "Look at you, all grown up," she said. "A regular prince. Remarkable." She glanced aside and found a not entirely welcome surprise standing there. "Why is Curenton here with you, Remus?"
Remus, too, glanced at Jeremy, but not for too long. "He's fine. A wand in case we ran into trouble," he said dismissively. "But, speaking of... wands are our trouble."
"Inside," Alecto ordered. "But don't touch anything, either of you. Especially you," she added to Curenton, and let them inside of her posh little flat.
Remus tilted his head to Jeremy to follow, and entered Alecto Carrow's flat. "Nice," he commented dryly.
"I thought so." Alecto closed the door and looked at them. "This should be quick, shouldn't it? I have a dinner date with my brother and some dementors. Now talk to me, Remus, what's going on? Isn't Yaxley doing his share? What do you need my wands for?"
“Yaxley comes when he has orders to deliver," Remus said. "Never otherwise. We need wands because sooner or later we are going to attack Hati -- or she's going to attack us, it's hard to say -- but she has wands. Not overly many, but considering that it's just the two of us for the pack, it would even our odds considerably to have you and whoever you could bring there." He still couldn't believe how easily it all came now.
"That little prick. I'll cut him out of this deal, it'll be me and Amycus and I'll see if I can get anyone else." Alecto missed Royce Wilkes; bastard that he was, he didn't deserve to die that kind of death. "We don't need that many. Amycus and I are good for a fight. You two know what you're doing with your wands then, been practising for this Hati woman, whoever she is?" She paused. "Oh, right. The female pack leader with the fortress. Well, this should be fun. Does he want me now?"
"No," he answered. "No, we're... to be busy with preparations, and we'll contact you just beforehand and you can come."
"He really carried this whole idea through?" Alecto eyed the boy. "And you're really devoted to it?"
Remus held her gaze, feeling a lot calmer than he probably should have been. "I can understand why you would have your doubts about me, but with all due respect, you've been gone for many months. Fenrir has been carrying it, he will carry it all the way through, and I mean to be there."
Jeremy cleared his throat. "All due respect, Miss Carrow, but Remus pretty much took over your role at the pack and did it really well. I mean, he helped find out Laurel was threatening Fenrir and keeps everyone in line. He's. He's really become the heir of the pack, Miss Carrow."
Alecto looked at Curenton, then looked to Remus and said, "You fixed him. Good job. I'll get some people together and you'll contact me?"
"We will," he said coolly. "Good day to you, then."
"I think you've forgotten where you are and who you're with," Alecto said sharply, all pretense of sing-songing and joking gone. "Werewolves, you get out of my flat, I have better things to do than take care of your weak little lot."
"Shit," Jeremy swore under his breath, and reached for his wand, but Alecto disarmed him.
She held out his wand to Remus. "Get out of here and don't let him get his wand back. I don't trust him."
"Fenrir isn't going to like hearing that, that's all! He doesn't need you for anything more than protection from a hypocrite like Hati!" Jeremy backed towards the door and opened it, quickly closing it before she shot a hex at him and swore.
"Yes, we fixed him all right," Remus said dryly, pocketing Jeremy's wand. "Good bye," he said again, before leaving the flat as she requested, closing the door behind him.
Jeremy sent Remus a grin and put his finger to his lips as he started to descend the stairs, only speaking when they got out the door of the building. "We just played Alecto Carrow like a fiddle."
"Closer to an entire string quartet," he answered, handing Jeremy his wand back.
Jeremy nearly stuck his wand in his belt before he realised. "Enough gloating, we have to see if Julia's back from Hati's yet."
He nodded. "All right." He Disapparated from the spot, back to the Den.