Hi everybody! :) It's time for Round 7 of the QLFC. (Just in case you didn't get the note, btw, I wrote a section of "The Green Lady", which there's a link to in my profile! I'd love it if you'd read and review :D) My prompts this round were:
1. The Wolfsbane Potion and/or its effects.
2. A very pretty photo of a fire in a fireplace.
4. Precisely 2,000 words. (To my judge, the site is weird about the word count, so if you need some kind of proof that there are 2,000, let me know!)
Damocles Belby developed the Wolfsbane Potion in 1979, during an intensive study of the properties of aconite (otherwise known as wolfsbane, from which the potion gets its name). Belby's goal in studying the highly toxic plant was actually to assist a family member (an older sister) who had suffered a werewolf bite as a young adult and had lived with the condition for a number of years.
Although Belby has as of yet been unsuccessful in developing a cure for lycanthropy, his efforts have been lauded by the Potioneers' Society of Britain and Ireland, the Ministry of Magic's Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and in 1984 he was awarded the prestigious Golden Cauldron. Belby, however, has gone on record as saying, 'the awards won't mean a thing until I've managed to help in a more meaningful way.'
- from Modern Magical History by Pollina Gabble
1 June 1980
The fireplace in Lily and James' kitchen was crackling merrily, lighting the hearth with a warm, orange glow. Remus frowned at the cauldron that hung over the flames as it churned out clouds of blue smoke. "You're sure it's safe for you to be doing this?" he asked Lily as he watched her chop up another bundle of wolfsbane, her hands covered by protective gloves.
"The only thing the baby's objecting to," she said, turning and facing him, her pregnant belly brushing the countertop as she did so, "is me being on my feet for this long. Get me a chair, will you, Moony?" she smiled, pushing back a few strands of auburn hair back from her face.
Remus nearly tripped over himself scrambling to get to the table and drag two chairs over to the fire. Lily settled herself down and picked up a long-handled spoon, stirring the potion slowly in a slow, even, counterclockwise motion.
"Don't look so frightened, Remus," Lily said gently, touching his arm. "It's going to go well. Everything looks exactly as it should. I wouldn't let you take it if I thought it was going to hurt you, I promise."
Remus gave her half a smile. "I know."
14 August 1993
"Ah, Severus," Professor Dumbledore said, rising as the office door opened. "Excellent."
Remus stood as well, turning to face Snape. Tall, sallow-skinned, and scowling, he looked quite the same as Remus remembered him. He glowered at Remus, his dark eyes gleaming rather malevolently.
"Severus," Remus said, trying to remain calm and pleasant. He held out his hand. "Thank you for coming. I appreciate it."
Snape stared at Remus's hand briefly, then ignored it. "You wanted to speak with me, headmaster?"
Remus sighed and faced Dumbledore as well.
"Yes, Severus. Given our resources here at the school, I thought you might be best suited to assist Professor Lupin with his particular needs for the coming school year," Dumbledore said, a hint of warning in his tone.
A flicker of a smug grin crossed Snape's face as he turned back to Remus. "I see."
Remus drew from the pocket of his patched waistcoat a creased, worn recipe pamphlet with a red cover. "I apologize, it's rather complex, and I'm afraid that some of the ingredients are not easy to come by."
Snape gave a sneer. "You'd be surprised what we can manage around here, Lupin. I know how to make a Wolfsbane Potion, I don't need that," he added, with a withering look at the pamphlet. "It looks like it's probably ten years out of date, besides. You're lucky you haven't poisoned yourself."
Remus pocketed the pamphlet.
"That will be all, Severus," Dumbledore said quellingly. "Thank you."
Lily beamed at Remus, her green eyes lit up with excitement as she faced the cauldron again, flicking her wand. The recipe pamphlet she'd ordered specially (through a long and interminable list of connections, including, Remus believed, Professor Dumbledore himself) soared over from the countertop and she consulted it, squinting through the steam billowing from the cauldron.
"I need four valerian roots," she told him, "chopped up evenly and dropped in the cauldron piece by piece while I stir." She started to awkwardly get up, but Remus put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'll do it, Lily, just relax for a minute."
Lily smiled again and turned around in her chair to watch him, keeping her wand trained on the spoon, which was now rotating itself smoothly around the cauldron. "Are you excited, Remus?" she asked.
"Excited?" he repeated.
"Well… maybe that's not exactly the right word," she said. "But are you looking forward to seeing what this does?"
Remus shrugged. "I know what it does. But yes," he added, when she looked disappointed, "I'm interested to find out how well it works. Honestly, though, after all this time, I've rather gotten used to not letting my hopes get too high." He smiled faintly.
"But there's so much that could change for you now, don't you think?" she asked.
"I suppose," he said, shrugging again as he sliced the valerian roots. "It's not exactly a miracle cure, but it's something. And it doesn't do too much to change… well, certain people's perceptions."
"Oh, come on," said Lily as Remus scooped the chopped roots into a bowl, "you know Sirius and Peter and James and I don't care."
"Of course," Remus said, his back to her. "Of course I know that."
Lily frowned. "Holding out for galaxy-wide popularity, are you?" she asked seriously.
He snorted and turned around, coming back to the cauldron, which she was still stirring. "Not exactly. But it'd help if this stuff wasn't the only thing that made me polite dinner company."
15 January 1996
"I think everything below my kneecaps has gone numb. It's bloody cold," Tonks whispered. Remus felt her shift beside him, and saw a slight ripple in the air where her Disillusionment Charm adjusted itself.
"Two more hours," he replied, watching a pure-white peacock strut along the top of the garden wall that surrounded Malfoy Manor.
"Y'know, I've seen this Malfoy bloke wandering about the Ministry once, maybe twice in my life," Tonks whispered back, "and I can tell you that I'm not the least bit surprised he's got a pet peacock."
Remus snorted, and a disembodied cloud of steam dissipated into the air. "You sound like Sirius."
She was quiet for a moment; Remus wondered if she was smiling. "I'm worried about him, you know?" she said. "Cooped up in that house all day. You should hear my mother talk about how she remembers it. 'Course, he can take care of himself."
"He always could," Remus murmured, feeling a hot flush in his cheeks. He was grateful that he, too, was Disillusioned.
"My mum asked me how he was," said Tonks. "I didn't really know how to answer her. Except…" she laughed. "Well, he's still pretty handsome, isn't he, even after Azkaban?"
Remus's stomach plummeted. "I wouldn't know," he replied, rather coldly. "He always did get the women. Sort of the occupational hazard of being a werewolf with human friends."
There was another long silence. Remus forced himself to focus on the peacock, now strolling the other way along the wall.
Finally, Tonks's voice cut sharply through the quiet. "You'd know perfectly well who I've fallen for, if you weren't too busy feeling sorry for yourself to notice."
Remus's heart leapt.
Lily rolled her eyes. "Don't give yourself so much credit. None of you are what I'd call polite dinner company."
Remus laughed, watching her stir in the last of the roots, which fell into the water with a satisfying hiss. He sat down beside her. "Thanks again for helping me. Just like Slughorn's class, right?"
Lily gave him a skeptical look. "I think this would've made things a little difficult in Slughorn's class," she said, gesturing to her stomach.
"Who knows," Lily went on, now opening the pamphlet again. "Maybe you'll have a cub of your own one of these days." She grinned at him, and he smiled, although he turned red.
He stood up suddenly. "I'm, er… I think I heard something round the back. I'll just go and make sure all the windows are locked," he said uncomfortably.
"I'll be back!" he said, waving a hand. He strode out the front door, his wand drawn. He wasn't hurt, so he didn't know why exactly he couldn't bear to be in the room any more; Lily and the others, they could joke like that with him any time… perhaps it was because he had, against his own better judgment, put much more import into the success of this potion than he'd realized he would.
He focused on the thud, thud, thud of his feet as he walked around the house, making sure it was secure. Of course, it was. Sirius, Peter, and James weren't expected back for hours, and Remus had been charged with the protection of Lady Prongs. Feeling guilty for abandoning his 'post', he came to the front door again, collecting himself. He could stand a little good-natured teasing. He just needed to remember what he was.
17 October 1996
"How many different ways can I say it? I don't care," Tonks snarled.
Remus ignored her, stripping his torn shirt over his head as Aberforth Dumbledore came stumping into the back room of the Hog's Head bar, a clean but shabby set of robes over his arm.
"He's on his way, Lupin, just sent a message to the school," Aberforth said, casting Tonks a stern look. "Dunno that you'll want to be away from your post when he gets here, he won't be happy."
"Thanks," Tonks snapped, as Aberforth left the room. "Remus. Remus."
He finished dressing and faced her, his vision obscured by his swollen eye, a souvenir from last night's hunt with Greyback's pack. "Tonks, I've got an hour before Greyback and the others know I'm missing. I need to report to Dumbledore."
"I don't see him here, do you? So talk to me," Tonks begged.
"There's nothing to say," he told her. "It's too dangerous. I'm dangerous."
"That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard," she said.
"So, what? You just want to keep feeling sorry for yourself?" she asked. "You want to carry on thinking you're an unloved monster? You know how untrue that is, Remus."
"I don't think I poisoned him," Lily smiled, opening the guest bedroom door for James, Peter, and Sirius when they arrived at the house. "But it must make you sleepy. He's been there for three hours."
"Can I draw on his face?" Sirius asked, practically shoving Peter over. Peter snickered and shoved him back.
"How do we know if it's worked?" James asked, frowning at Remus's passed-out figure on the bed.
"He has to take a dose every night for the next week. Then he transforms, and we see what happens," Lily replied.
James grinned. "This'll change everything for him."
1 May 1998
The Great Hall was buzzing with chatter as the younger students were rushed in the direction of the Room of Requirement. Remus, clutching his wand, was looking out over the sea of students for a signal from Kingsley, who was at the front of the room with Minerva.
"I heard he's a werewolf, he used to teach here."
"But he's not with them?"
Remus swallowed, pretending not to hear the whispered conversation taking place at his elbow, and turned his back.
"Oi, you two—d'you even know who that is?" asked a voice behind him. "He's the best Defense professor we ever had. Now, c'mon, catch up with the rest."
He looked around; Dean Thomas (though he had some slightly overgrown scruff on his face and he'd grown about two feet since Remus had last seen him) stood before him, a fierce, defensive look in his eye as he shepherded the stream of younger students out of the hall.
After they'd gone, Dean gave Remus a grin. "Good to see you, Professor."
Remus swallowed and nodded. "Good to see you, too, Dean."