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Luna Lovegood and the Shaggy Dog

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This story is No. 17 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Other BtVS/AtS Characters(Current Donor)vidiconFR1529124,4703337365,98511 Oct 1125 Jun 14No

Debts of honour

Author’s Note:

This is the direct sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon do.

Thanks very much to my Beta Letomo, but all mistakes are still mine.

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that.

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

Thought: *What’s on second.*

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

Thanks very much to DofEire for recommending this story.

Going up early because I’m going to have a long, long day tomorrow…

Debts of honour

Monday 8th of January 1996

Minister Fudge’s Office, the Ministry

Amelia Bones leafed through the considerable volume of material that Cornelius had handed her. He was nursing a drink and looking at the fire that was burning on the hearth.  

“Your point with all this, Cornelius?” Amelia asked.

Fudge sighed. “Don't pretend you don't understand, Amelia.”

“Well, it’s a rather elaborate plot to effectively dethrone Albus from both his positions and honours, while at the same time concentrating power in your hands, yes. But as it also contains notes on how you will have me removed and disgraced for being 'Dumbledore's lapdog' and you're letting me read this? You'll have to excuse me if I find that confusing.”

“I changed my mind,” Fudge told his glass of firewhisky.

“So you don't think I'm Dumbledore's lapdog anymore? Well that's a relief,” Amelia answered dryly.

“I was plotting to take over the Ministry and set up a dictatorship!” Fudge shouted, gesturing with his glass.

“Yes, and? Nothing you've done so far is a crime, whether felony or misdemeanour. Actually, I'm not even sure if setting up a dictatorship even is, at least, not the way you were planning to do it. Getting voted into the position is hardly an act of evil. And bribing members of either house of the Wizengamot is more one of their perks than your crime, there’s actually bylaws about it!” Amelia pointed out.

“So you're seriously telling me you're not going to arrest me?” Fudge asked, stunned.

“Quite seriously. You might want to hand this to Albus. He might find your analysis interesting, and some of the facts you've gathered as well,” Amelia smirked. “And with a bit of luck, he'll tell you that you can have the lot.”

“The lot?” Fudge frowned.

“Every job he has, except headmaster,” Amelia stated, as she closed the book with an air of finality.

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Monday 8th of January 1996

Remus Lupin smiled as he remembered how Ron beat Harry at chess. He had decided to use chess as an example, to show how planning, forward thinking and strategy could be used in a formal setting. Later he intended to teach how they might apply that lesson to real life situations.

“Something amuses you, Remus?” Albus asked as he poured gravy over his roast potatoes.

Lupin nodded. “Just thinking about Ron Weasley. That boy has to be the best chess player his age in Hogwarts.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “You sound very sure of yourself, Lupin. How can you know? Have all the Ravenclaws faced him? I understand Director Bones enjoys a good match with her niece, and I know that Mr. Malfoy plays quite a good game for his age.”

“He beat Harry and Hermione both, Severus,” Lupin explained. “I doubt any one could match Miss Granger in intelligence.”

Snape shook his head. “You never learn, do you? Headmaster? I seem to recall that there are a number of Cups beside the Quidditch cup. I propose we reactivate them: Gobstones, Chess, Chequers, Whist, or maybe Bridge. If Mr. Weasley wins his matches against,” Snape seemed to think for a moment, “.... Miss Lovegood, Mr. Malfoy and Miss Bones I will grant that he is the best player of his age in the school. If he loses one, Lupin will acknowledge that he isn't.”

“Not fair, Severus, he would have to win three and only one of them would have to win one,” Lupin pointed out.

“Ah, but if he is the best player, what are you worrying about?” Snape declared. “But that's why I added Miss Lovegood – because she’s younger than he is.”

Lupin pulled his lip. “Very well. If Albus agrees. I do think it’s a good idea, more Cups will allow for more pupils to participate in regulated intra-House activities than just Quidditch, And hopefully they'll get to know each other better than the Quidditch teams do.”

“Excellent!” Albus cried. “I will make the announcement after dinner, the details to be settled later. Now, Remus, Severus, a bet of this kind needs a wager, does it not?”

His eyes twinkled. “I understand, Remus, that with your friends you had something called the Usual Dues?”

Remus chuckled wryly. “I should've known you knew about that.”

“Indeed. Shall we say one night of the usual dues for each game won or lost?” Snape proposed smoothly.

Remus frowned at the other man and then nodded. “Very well. And I won't even ask how you knew.”

Severus smirked. “The same way Albus does. Pomona told us over a pint of Bitter.”

*********

Thursday, 11th of January

Ron smiled broadly as he read the announcement on the once-dusty club and meetings board. Dumbledore had arranged for the various clubs very quickly. Flitwick was the teacher in charge of the chess club, and a neat list of matches and opponents and practice sessions and such was tacked to the appropriate section.

He noted that he was supposed to play Lovegood, Bones and Malfoy the first evening.

*Fine by me. I can trounce all the Houses in one night!* Ron thought gleefully, and then withdrew.

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Friday, 12th of January

Ron Weasley strode into the long-empty room where once the Chess club had met and now would again. A set of small bleachers stood folded and stacked against a wall, but other than that the room was neat and clean. The House Elves had seen to that.

Ron had a battered old chess set with him that had belonged to his Uncle Gideon, and his grandfather before that. He looked around the room and saw a number of others, of all the four Houses, were present. He stalked towards the nearest blonde head, ready to sneer a bit, when he realised it wasn't Malfoy.

“Oh. Hello Luna,” he greeted her.

Luna smiled at him rather vaguely and then returned to studying the problem set up on the board.

Ron took in the positions at a glance. “Black will be mated in three moves.”

“I know that Ronald. It says so with the problem,” Luna told him mildly. “Up for a game?”

Ron nodded and sat down, taking out his own set. “My set, your choice of colour?”

He was offering the usual wizarding courtesy. One’s own set tended to be dreadfully biased and the shouts of encouragement and derision could be a major factor in a game.

“I'll have black, thank you,” Luna smiled and set up the board.

Remus Lupin, in the corner with Snape and Flitwick, smirked. In the opposite corner, Sprout and McGonagall were watching.

Twenty minutes later Luna shook the hand of the rather dazed Ron and moved on to the next board, nodding cheerfully at a suddenly nervous looking Hufflepuff.

Flitwick was beaming. “Incredible! The most unconventional game I've seen in decades!”

“And this is surprising how?” Severus smiled at Lupin, raising a single digit to scratch his nose.

“One.”

Remus gulped, suddenly wondering if this had been such a good idea.

Ron studied the board for a few minutes, rose and sought out his next opponent. Susan Bones was a sweet and unassuming girl with auburn hair and wide-spaced blue eyes who might have been Ron's sister, but was actually his second cousin.

She smiled at him sweetly and Ron immediately had flashbacks to the previous game, manned up and held out his fists, with a pawn in each.

Susan sniffed. “Your set, my choice, Weasley. I'll have black.”

As a girl and a Hufflepuff, Ron was expecting her to play a defensive game and started out with an aggressive attack on Susan's pawns and rooks.

Half an hour later his assault lay in shambles, shattered by the spirited counter offensive that Susan had unleashed. Ten minutes after that, Ron conceded.

Remus looked at the smirking Snape, who crossed his arms and tapped two fingers. 

Ron was decidedly unsure of himself when he faced his final opponent for the evening, Draco Malfoy. Malfoy tended to brashness and aggressiveness and Ron, white again, started with a defensive gambit.

Two hours later they were still at it and Ron was starting to sweat. Draco was concentrating intensely on the board, seemingly unaware of anything else. He moved his pieces with deliberation, taking care not to over-extend. He was playing exactly the opposite of how Ron knew he should play.

Finally, Ron saw an opening and sent his Queen through, supporting her with a rook and a bishop, then saw his hastily scrambled attack falter as a black rook took his queen and a black bishop his rook, while Malfoy sacrificed a bishop. Malfoy moved into his own offensive, taking advantage of the holes that Ron's losses had caused in his defence and Ron conceded twenty minutes later. He'd played Malfoy for three hours and fifty minutes. Malfoy shook his hand and left the room quickly. Besides the two of them and the teachers it had been empty, as everybody else had left before curfew.

Severus ‘tssk’ed’ and walked out of the room. He cast a glance at Ron who was sitting dazedly, looking at his board and depressed chessmen.

Minerva made to move towards him, but a shake of Flitwick’s head stopped her.

Flitwick sighed. “As I feared. If you’ll excuse me for a minute, Remus?”

He moved and sat opposite to Ron, raising the level of the chair so he could comfortably face him. “Good evening Mr, Weasley. It’s almost time for curfew, but I think it might be wise if we had a little talk first.”

“’bout what?” Ron asked, his voice choked with tears and anger.

“About why you lost,” Flitwick tapped the board and it reset.

“‘S easy, ‘cause I’m crap,” Ron muttered.

“Now the game against Miss Lovegood. You were expecting her to be erratic and inconsistent and were not expecting erratic and brilliant. Miss Lovegood, on a good day, is frightening in the extreme. On a bad day, she loses to a five year old when other things draw her interest. She was interested today because it was the first time in a while she’d played someone who is not her father or in her House.”

Ron was about to speak, but Flitwick held up a hand. “When you faced Miss Bones all of us could see what you were thinking: ‘Just a Puff’.”

He eyed Ron sternly. “That sort of thinking lost you a game.”

Ron nodded and Flitwick smiled. “And that brings us to Mr. Malfoy. Can you tell me what went wrong there?”

Ron picked up a dejected white pawn. “I underestimated him too.”

“Correct. Over the past three years you’ve played, and consistently beaten, almost everybody in your own House, but no one outside of it. You know how they think and play and their usual level of ability.”

Flitwick smiled. “Professor Snape would have talked to you, but he thought you might listen better to me. He gave instructions to each of your opponents.”

“WHAT? Why that-” Ron thundered.

Flitwick held up a hand and his expression froze Ron’s voice in his throat.

“His instructions were to pick black, then let you hang yourself.”

Ron blinked. “What?”

Flitwick sighed. “Tonight you faced three opponents in every game. Your own preconceptions of your opponents, your overconfidence and the actual opponent. You’re a very good chess player, Mr. Weasley. And once you’ve beaten the first two opponents, I’m sure very few of the third will stand a chance.” 

Ron nodded, thoughtfully. “Sir? Does Professor Snape play chess?”

“Yes. I would advise a lot of practice before challenging him, however,” Flitwick smiled. “Now it’s time for you to go to Gryffindor Tower. I’m sure Professor McGonagall will take you so you don’t run into any trouble with Prefects or Mr. Filch.”

Ron nodded, gathered up his chessmen and left. Lupin, meanwhile, sat down looking rather frightened.

Flitwick smiled at him. “Really, Mr, Lupin. You should know better than to bet with Severus. He only does so on a sure thing.”

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Friday, 12th of January

Luna Lovegood was waiting at the Apparition point, her weekend bag slung over her shoulder. Headmaster Dumbledore had suggested that it might be good for father and daughter to spend the weekends together, and had given permission for Luna to be absent from the school.

So here she was, her classes for the week over and her homework and clothes packed neatly into her bag. Waiting for her father.

The slight 'pop' of apparition drew her attention. Xeno stood, looking uncommonly annoyed, with Arthur Weasley beside him and Lucius Malfoy on his other side.

“I assure you that I'm quite able to Apparate. And Side along with Luna, too!” Xeno gave both men a mild glare.

“No, you can't. The Healers said so. Your magical core is severely depleted and using so much magic might make you ill for days. You'll be allowed to Apparate again in a few weeks,” Lucius stated flatly.

Xeno sighed. “And what if I want to take Luna somewhere?”

“Floo there, or floo us,” Arthur replied. “Lucius?”

Lucius stepped forward and bowed slightly for Luna. “Miss Lovegood? Would you care to accompany me?”

He extended his arm in the ancient way to invite someone to a side-along apparition.

Luna nodded gravely and took his arm. “Thank you, Lord Bedell,” then she smirked. “Home please, peon.”

Lucius lifted an eyebrow. “But of course, your Royal Highness,” then he turned towards Xeno who was grinning. “That reminds me, the Bulgarian Minister of Magic wished to ask if Her Royal Highness would deign to visit his country preparatory to negotiations starting.”

“We ran out of money ages ago. If they want it, they can try and get it from our dirigible plum orchard,” Luna spoke before her father could.

“Money? Oh no, Your Highness. His Excellency the Minister is a staunch Royalist, chosen on a broad platform that includes the restoration of the Empire of the Five Kingdoms,” Lucius smiled suavely. “Under the rule of House D'Albane.”

He apparated them out with a pop. When Arthur and Xeno appeared on the lawn of Rook House, Luna jumped into her father’s arms immediately.

“DADDY! I don't wanna be an Empress!” she wailed.

Xeno sighed. “Wrong nose of authority to tweak, my little Syllabub. What did I tell you about Slytherin humour?”

Luna looked up hopefully. “It was a joke?”

“I'm sure it was,” Xeno assured her.

Lucius nodded gravely. “Of course. Do not worry.”

He cleared his throat. “I'm dreadfully sorry to have upset my future daughter-in-law.”

Arthur coughed a surprisingly laugh-like cough.

Luna blushed, disentangled herself from her father, bent her head slightly and smiled serenely. “I shall send a message to your liege, Lord Vicari. We will no doubt be able to negotiate the terms of the contract most satisfactorily. I understand one of my ancestors kept his wife leashed to his bed. I'm sure Lord Vicari will know a good harness maker as well and Draco will be very happy.”

Lucius' eyes widened marginally, then he let out a curt but real laugh. “Merlin girl, but you are wasted on the Ravens. You ought to have been sorted into Slytherin.”

Luna tilted her head and smiled serenely. “Oh come now, my lord. Where would the surprise have been in that?”

She nodded to the two men, grabbed her father’s hand and dragged him inside, talking about dirigible plum and cayenne pancakes with Plimpy soup.

Lucius looked at the now closed door for a few seconds before he turned to Arthur. “Do you think Xeno would gut me if I reopened negotiations for a marriage agreement between Draco and her?”

“I think he'd start lower,” Arthur told him wisely. “Just let nature take its course in this matter.”

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Friday, 12th of January, evening

Xeno Lovegood was quite a good cook, if one took into account certain eccentricities. For instance, he was quite capable of serving breakfast in the evening, and cook a full side of beef with a bushel of roast potatoes for a light lunch. 

He also included things in the diet that would surprise most British and American guests. His cooking had been heavily influence by his late wife's family history.

The Lovegoods were of ancient British blood.  If their title was less lofty than that of others, they could claim to have lived in Ottery St.Catchpole for nigh on fifteen-hundred years. And before he had met Selene, Xeno's cooking had been about as adventurous.

The D'Albanes, a family less ancient but once far more powerful, had reigned over an area of continental Wizarding Europe that spanned all of the old Holy Roman Empire at its widest expanse, and then some. Spread out from their great seat in the Albanian mountains, the Empire of Magic, sometimes called the Five Kingdoms, stretched from the Channel to the Black sea, from the Dnieper to the Adriatic. And so did the family's taste in food.

Earthy peasant dishes of Wizarding Bulgaria were mixed with convoluted delicacies once served to Emperors dining on terraces overlooking the Dardanelles.

The problem was that though Selene D'Albane was a genius at Charms and a magnificent potion mistress, she was 'utterly terrible' at cooking.

So Xeno had cooked their dinners, breakfasts and lunches. And when Selene was alive, she kept an eye on the menu and the time he started. After her death, he tried, but his mind was often on other things. And his daughter, much of the same mind, quite happily ate cereal with milk at night and glazed pork at seven in the morning.

So they sat eating the spicy little pancakes that had been popular in Byzantium before the fall of Constantinople and talked, just to remind themselves of who they were and that they were alive.

Xeno was frowning. “So besides Buffy there was another lady who helped save you from that man?”

Xeno did not even want to name Adolphus Travers if he could help it.

“Yes. She knew who she was, though. Captain Carter, Buffy said her name was,” Luna ate with great attention to her food. The Hogwarts elves were marvellous, but nobody made tapioca pudding like her father.

“And she knew your name too,” Luna added ingeniously.

Xeno smiled indulgently. “I fear that I have no torrid romances with Mug- Normal ladies that I've hidden from you. I cannot imagine how she would know of me. But I will send an owl to America and ask Miss Buffy. I would like to thank her as well.”

Luna sighed. “Another scoop gone. No Romance for the Lonely Editor.”

Xeno waved his wand and summoned a tub of ice cream, scooping a generous amount in a bowl for Luna.

“Maybe a different scoop will soften the pain,” he teased.

Luna took his hand as he handed her the bowl. “I don't think it could've softened a different pain,” she confessed. “Ever.”

Xeno put the bowl down and Luna ran around the table, landing in his lap, hugging him tightly. “Don't leave daddy. Don't ever leave.”

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Saturday, 13th of January, quarters of Severus Snape

Severus Snape was studying the blackboard he'd hung on the wall of his private study and frowning. The ping on his wards was ignored, as was the second, and the third. Then there was a sound like Big Ben in the ringing room and Severus nearly jumped out of his skin. He glared at the door and lifted his wards even as he strode into the sitting room.

Minerva came in, smirking. “Taking a nap, Severus? Is your age creeping up on you?”

“I was working, if you must know,” Snape drawled. “Important work.”

Minerva sat down, uninvited. “Albus sent me to tell you everything I know and can remember about Tom Riddle. Filius and Silvanus will be by later. Can I assume your work has to do with that?”

Severus nodded. “It does. I'm collating information to send to Clarice.”

“Your sister? I admit she is a powerful witch, but she's only just come into her power. Riddle would slaughter her,” Minerva asked, confused.  

“I don't want her anywhere near Riddle. A female Vicari? Currently third in line to the Matriarchate? And still able to bear children?” Severus shuddered, then walked back into his study and emerged with a book which he handed to Minerva.

“Profiling the Criminally Insane?” Minerva mused as she leafed through the book. “Dear me... Yes, this might be very useful.”

“Kit thought of it. She's a great fan of her aunt's work. That's her copy, a gift from her birth mother and she solemnly promised to eviscerate me with a bobby pin if I as much as crease a page slightly,” Snape glared at the book. “Whatever a bobby pin might be.”

Minerva laughed. “Oh Severus, stop trying to look angry. You were impressed by the girl.”

Severus allowed himself a small smile. “I admit that I thought it might be fun to have the teaching of her.”

“Fun?” Minerva sniggered. “Oh Severus, you big softy!”

She gave him a look and sighed. “And I suppose I should thank you for what you did for Ron Weasley.”

“Did? I was under the impression he won my bet for me,” Snape replied.

“No doubt. And you allowed Filius to teach him a very important lesson, and didn’t crush him beforehand. There’s hope for you yet, Severus Snape,” Minerva declared fondly.

Snape rolled his eyes. “I believe you were going to tell me what you knew about Riddle?”

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Fred and George Weasley were well known for the fact that they occasionally made an end run around the truth. And that they like a joke or two. Or three. All of which explained why they were currently in the Dungeons while they were supposed to be lying in their beds, or at the very least, be confined to their Common rooms and the Gryffindor Tower.

They were executing a long-laid plan, the dungbomb mining of the Slytherin corridor. Which was a tricky business, since each and every single Bomb had to be carefully set in place to cause the maximum splash and smell as well as to not do so when in striking range of Professor Snape.

Despite having seen Snape in a more human way over the holidays, the Twins were of the firm opinion that this humanity did not extend to them, and any prank that even sideways involved the Potions Master would end in a three month detention involving tooth brushes and the floor of the potions classroom toilet annex.

And worse, possibly a visit by Snape's highly attractive and incredibly scary niece, Buffy

And so it was they ended up in front of the Potions classroom, with the door open and heard the conversation that would scar them for life.

“I'm really not sure about this, Severus,” Lupin spoke in a rather hesitant voice.

“Oh come now, Lupin,” Snape sneered. “It’s not as if you haven’t done it before. Or at least tried. I know you tried to do this with Potter and Black. Not that I'm surprised they failed.”

“Yes, well that was different. It- it was a completely different sort of relationship,” Lupin asserted.

“Of course it was,” Snape growled. “I'm utterly uninterested in the sort of relationship you had with them. You're here for one thing only, Lupin. And once its done, I really couldn't care less. Now come over here and bend over.”

The twins' brows shot up and their wide eyes met in horrified realisation.

Lupin’s answer was subdued. “Very well, Severus. But why do I have to wear... this? A school uniform!”

“Why, Lupin? Because I want you too. Albus approved of it. So why are you still sitting?”

“I’ll get you for this, Severus,” Lupin’s voice was icy.

“I’ll get you first, Lupin, for three nights,” Snape answered. “Now get moving before I get out a cane and give you a good whipping.”

The Weasleys ran, unwilling to listen to anything more, horror struck that Dumbledore had apparently allowed one teacher to abuse another.

Remus got up from his place at the brewing table, straightened his school uniform, glared at Snape and bent over the bowl before him. “This smells vile!”

“There’s a reason why I want you to brew this yourself, Lupin. Now, grind it finely. By the time it’s ready it should smell of decayed dog skin instead of rotted faecal matter,” Snape instructed.

“I preferred not knowing what I was drinking,” Remus objected weakly.

“No doubt. If it makes you feel better, you get to dismantle the dungbombs the Weasley Twins planted,” Snape walked over to the door and closed the small gap, smirking.

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Saturday, 13th of January, Bedell Manor, Wiltshire

With some care Lucius removed Caratacus from his chair. As the biggest, and grumpiest, of his wife’s Siamese Kneazles, the huge animal felt entitled to all the best things in the Manor, including Lucius’ favourite chair.

Putting the cat down, looking around furtively and gently scratching the beast behind the ears, Lucius sat down and opened his newspaper, only to be interrupted by the Kneazle jumping into his lap, kneading fervently and then dropping into a huge cream coloured ball, with tips of black. Lazy blue eyes looked up at Lucius before blinking closed. 

“Insufferable creature,” Lucius huffed in the last part of his nightly ritual, rustled his newspaper before he started to read. An occasional furtive stroke on the feline’s fur made it rumble with deep purrs.

*******

Narcissa had long been aware that Caratacus wasn’t her cat. Lucius had adopted him the day he had first ventured from the nest and had stolen one of her husband’s quills and played with it right under his nose, on his desk. That was why, despite being ‘defective’ in a breeding sense, Caratacus lived in the Manor.

Most of her cats lived in a separate building, where she carefully controlled access and breeding. As a founding member of the British Society for the Preservation of the Siamese Kneazle she had a reputation to live up to, after all.

She was studying her latest litter. Larger than normal cats, more intelligent and both more wilful and more loyal, they were used to things supernatural and less likely to succumb to the dangers of wizarding life. They were ideal pets and familiars.

Ordinarily she would very carefully vet any new owners before selling them, or giving them away if she thought the recipient worthy. Few animals were as loyal as Kneazle, with the possible exception of spirit familiars, which might not actually be animals. In a few weeks time Lucius would travel to America, Muggle fashion, to meet his brother and his brother’s family. And if Narcissa had anything to say about it, a few weeks later her nieces would get a kneazle.

One of the little creatures jumped out of the basket and hissed at Narcissa, who picked her up and petted it until it calmed down. “Quite a little firecracker, hmm? I think you will do for Dawn and Kit.”

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Sunday, 14th of January, Quarters of Remus Lupin

Remus glared at Snape. “You can’t make me do this! Merlin, Snape! This is low, even for you.”

“Is it? I seem to recall Potter making Black write his mother about all the things he’d done that week. He griped about it for months. I didn’t really understand then, but I do now. So, get writing,” Snape pointed at the parchment even as he studied the lines he’d written so far.

Remus let out a sigh. “They don’t want to know me, Snape.”

“Nonsense. If that was the case they would’ve kicked you into St. Mungo’s instead of moving heaven, earth and Dumbledore to get you into school,” Snape didn’t even look up. “You’re not doing as I told you to, Lupin. Want me to call Minerva and ask her to think up a task? You know her opinion on welshers.”

 Lupin shuddered and started to write. John Lupin Esq. and Mrs. Delilah Lupin, The Herbiage, Salem, Massachusetts. That done, he took another deep breath and started the letter.

Dear Mum and Dad, I know I’ve not written or contacted you in far too long. I’m not asking for money, or aid, or anything. I’ve just been told that it wouldn’t be fair on you if the only thing you might hear about me is my obituary. And in case you’re wondering, I’m the DADA teacher at Hogwarts. Not the safest job in the world, as you might know.  

Once he’d started the letter it flowed. He wrote of pain and bitterness and how lonely he’d been, and that he missed them and was sorry. And that if he lived through the year, he’d do his utmost to come and visit them.

“So how are we getting this to the Colonies? Owl Post?” He asked as he contemplated a paragraph.

“I was considering prevailing on Miss Granger to borrow her owl,” Snape replied without looking up.

“Dodger? He’s much too small, he’d never make it!” Remus objected.

Snape’s head moved marginally. “Exactly.”

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Sunday, 14th of January, Crouch Manor

The house was large and damp and depressing. The old ‘Lady’s suite’ had been inhabited by Mrs. Crouch for years, ever since her illness rendered her bed-ridden for most of the time.

Or at least that was the story Bartemius Crouch told his friends and his wife told them as well, before she withdrew with a broken heart over her son’s crimes.

The son whose place she took in Azkaban, for whom she had died. The son who had taken her shape through Polyjuice the few times ‘Mrs. Crouch’ had appeared in public the last ten years or so.

Barty Crouch got up from the bed and smiled. The Imperius his father had placed on him had failed. Finally he could start to work on the restoration of his Lord.

End Note:

Remember that the Malfoys are now know as House Bedell! Lord knows I had to correct that myself. But Ron uses by my intention.

 

 
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