A/N: This is a companion story to 'For Tomorrow We May Die', a story that is technically SS/OFC but has drifted far enough from the romance theme that the pairing is a technicality.
Originally, this story was going to be a part of TWMD, but in one of my uncommon moments of foresight, I realized that the story was crucial to this fic in that Lupin's character undergoes a fair bit of change, and this story is too complex to work into the already complex plot of TWMD.
Neither Man Nor Beast will run simultaneously to TWMD, though I do not consider either essential to the other. It was more important that I work out what all was happening to Lupin so I get his evolving character right than anything. Any plot development from NMNB that is necessary for TWMD will be explained in TWMD, and vice versa.
Therefore, if you'd like to read about Lupin and the changes to the Werewolf Code of Conduct, check out Neither Man Nor Beast. Otherwise, trust me to tell you what you need to know about it.
In order to avoid a lot of complicated explanations in this story, here is the run-down of what you need to know.
1. The story begins in August before Harry & Co' s seventh year at Hogwarts.
2. Minister Fudge has been killed and replaced by a Minister Marius Davis.
3. Snape and Lupin had been enjoying a rapidly advancing friendship until very recently.
4. Snape has had a disagreement of sorts with the Order and has not been in communication with them for the last two weeks.
5. The new Minister Davis has been passing a number of new laws and acts, and the latest one, the Magical Creature Protection Act is the one that sparked this fic.
That's all you really need to know to appreciate what's going on in this fic.
I don't know how long this fic will be, but my intention is to run it parallel to TWMD, and as the two are so closely linked, they will very likely ride on each other's coat tails' so to speak.
Warnings: This fic might be a bit disturbing at times, hence the rating. It is possible that the subject matter will be too raw for more sensitive readers. I'm not planning to tone it down a bit, though I will do my level best to keep it within the bounds of taste. Lupin's treatment is inhuman at times, and I make no apologies about that. I also make no apologies for the fact that if you're looking for a 'bad guy' you're not going to find one very easily here. I operate under the assumption that there are few people who are inherently good or evil.
Disclaimer: I don't own JKR's stuff. Obviously.
Chapter 1: Dehumanization
Remus looked up from the book he was pretending to read and into the soft brown eyes of a woman who was, perhaps, a few years younger than he. Dark brown hair spilled from what looked to be a hasty attempt to corral rebellious curls into the confines of a bun. She wore an earthen-colored in a simple cut that did little to hide her ample figure. She was really quite plump, but there was a sparkle in her eyes and a genuine smile on her face that went far to distract him from her size.
"Yes?" he asked mildly.
"Come along into my office," she said, ushering him from his seat and towards a door. Her hand flitted against his arm, then his back as she guided him into a small, cluttered room with no windows. A row of bookshelves lined the wall, giving the place a feeling that it would soon cave in on him. The shelves were disorderly, piled with parchment and scrolls and books that lay haphazardly scattered. The desk was hardly in better condition, strewn with parchment, quills, inkpots, books, folders and Merlin alone knew what else. A half-full cup of tea sat on one corner, the stratification of stains attesting to how long it had been ignored.
Framed certificates leaned against one wall, stacked against each other. The top one, he could see from his vantage point just inside the door, was a membership to the Dark Forces Defense League, and the one behind it seemed to be a framed NEWT, though he couldn't make out the subject.
There were four chairs in the room—three arranged in a half-circle in front of the desk and one behind the desk. Only the one behind the desk was cleared enough to allow anyone to sit in it. The only point of order in the entire room seemed to be a waist-high cabinet with a neat stack of folders atop it.
"Go ahead and have a seat and… oh. Er…" the woman waved a wand at the middle chair in front of the desk and levitated the stack of parchments that had been in it, guiding them to the floor. "There you are. Have a seat, Remus. And I do apologize for the mess—we've been in the process of a bit of rearranging since Minister Davis took over and, well, I must say I've had more important things on my mind than putting together my office."
He sank slowly into the proffered chair and watched as she bustled around the room, rummaging through stacks of parchment and folders until she found the one she was apparently looking for. As she moved back around the desk, he stood again, manners dictating it in some part of his mind.
"Ah, here we are. Oh, and I haven't introduced myself yet, have I? Larentia Berkeley. And sit, my dear. Sit." She offered a hand and he shook it, slightly bemused. She hadn't stopped talking for ten seconds yet.
His eyes shot to her hand, but there was no telltale ring there. "Miss Berkeley," he acknowledged her, but she stopped him with a wave of her hand.
"I'll have none of that. Do you hear? You may call me Lara. That's what everyone I like calls me. The people I don't like don't know that's my familiar name, you know; helps me keep up with who I like and who I don't." She winked at him and he smiled faintly.
"Of course," he replied, his head reeling.
"Now, let's see, where to begin. You'll have to forgive me, Remus, as I'm new to this too, actually. You're my first appointment. Really, I think we could have done with a little more time to prepare things, but Minister Davis was adamant that we begin at once, so at once it has been. I do wish we'd had time to at least settle the offices, though."
Remus watched as she rummaged again, looking for something else. She picked up one stack of parchment and moved it to the corner of the desk, then dropped another stack onto the floor.
"Ah, there we are," she announced, and from what he could tell, she'd found her desk. "Now, do you have any questions for me before we begin? It's essential that you're comfortable talking with me, Remus, so if you have anything, anything at all, that needs clearing up, you just let me know, all right? Now—"
"I do have a question, actually," he interrupted her. "What am I doing here?"
"What are you do— Oh dear." She squinted at him and put down the folder she'd been rifling through. "You areRemus J. Lupin, aren't you?"
"Yes," he replied. "And I received an owl from the Ministry telling me to report here, though there was no reason detailed." He reached into his pocket and retrieved the parchment, offering it to her.
She took it from him and peered at the page, her lips moving as she read. "And you didn't receive a copy of the newly revised Werewolf Code of Conduct?" she asked him, looking at him again.
"No," he replied, a sense of dread sweeping over him.
"That's strange. A copy was supposed to have been delivered to every known werewolf in Great Britain. Let's see, let me just verify your… aha! I have a note of that right here—we didn't have a valid address on file for you, and it is sensitive material. So we'll just begin there. Your current place of residence?"
She swiftly uncapped a bottle of ink and dipped her quill into it. Remus kept his face carefully blank. "I'm afraid I don't have a permanent residence," he replied. "If you send correspondence to Professor Albus Dumbledore at Hogwarts, though, he always knows where to find me."
"You don't have a permanent address, hrm? Well, I'm afraid that isn't going to cut it, Remus. That is actually a part of the new Code. Perhaps it would be best if we begin with the changes. Let's see… Ah, there we are." She had turned to the shelf and retrieved a book from it—a book as thick as his thumb. She placed it on the desk in front of him and made a note in her folder.
"This is your copy, Remus, and I strongly urge you to read it. In fact, we'll go ahead and schedule another meeting, because there will be a number of papers for you to sign once you have read it. Perhaps…" she had moved a calendar in front of her, and he noted with some degree of interest that the phases of the moon were marked along the side. She tapped her quill against the 20th, Tuesday. "I suppose Friday, the sixteenth. Minister Davis wants all werewolves properly registered by the next full moon, and that's the 20th, and… blasted inconvenient things, weekends."
He had been thumbing through the book, and he paused now, looking at her. "This thing is three hundred and fifty-seven pages," he said slowly. "You want me to read it and be prepared to sign documents regarding it in three days?"
"Yes, I know it's a bit of a crunch, but I must remind you that if you had kept your records updated with us properly, you would have gotten this a week ago." Remus felt about seven years old suddenly, and his eyes cast downward at the reprimand. Lara continued, "Now, we'll just put that aside for now and move on. Let's see now… ah yes, here we go. I'm going to need you to come with me," she stood and closed the door, beckoning for him to join her in the corner of the office. "I just need you to remove your clothes and step onto the scale for me."
"You want me to do what?" he asked, disbelieving.
"Just step out of your robe for me," she said, reaching as though to help him remove it. He took a step back, barely resisting the urge to Disapparate immediately.
"Is this really necessary?" he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.
"Quite," she affirmed with a brisk nod. "Now come on. I know it's uncomfortable, but it will be over soon if you just cooperate. Come on now."
Uncomfortable?No. Those chairs out in the waiting area were uncomfortable. This was bloody ridiculous. He folded his arms obstinately across his chest.
"And why is this necessary?" he asked.
"Now, Remus, don't upset yourself. Let's not make it worse than it is. I just need an accurate weight without your robes, and I need to make an inventory of any scars or distinguishing markings on your body. It's only going to take a few minutes and we'll be finished. Come on now, off with the robe."
He made no move to undress and she put her hands on her generous hips, tilting her head to one side. "Come on, now. Or do I need to call one of the watchmen to undress you?"
He took a deep breath, recognizing a dead end when he saw one, and lifted his robe over his head, then nudged his shoes off. He placed the robe on a nearby chair and forced himself to hold up his head as he stood in front of her wearing nothing but his underpants.
"Well," she said with a sigh, "that will do for the moment. Step onto the scale then." He stepped onto the scale obediently and she fiddled with the balance for a moment, then made a notation on her parchment. He started to step off, but she stopped him. "Not yet, Remus. I just need to get your height," she said, reaching up and extending a bar. It came to a halt above his head and she eased it down lower and lower until it was barely touching the top of his head. "Stand up straight for me," she ordered, and he straightened, avoiding her eyes. "There. You're a bit underweight, Remus," she mused softly as she made a few more scratches on her parchment.
He kept his mouth tightly shut.
"And let's see. Brown hair, blue eyes," she murmured, making a few more notes. "Scar across your left cheek. Scar across the right shoulder. Scar extending from left shoulder blade to right hip." She took his right hand and examined the back of it, then turned it over and examined the palm. Her eyes traveled from his wrist to his shoulder, then she turned his arm once more and looked him over from shoulder to wrist. "Scar above the right elbow, and one on the inside of right wrist." She let go of his hand and moved to his left side, repeating the thorough examination. "Scar on left forearm."
He endured her probing silently as she circled behind him, moving his hair aside to look at the back of his neck, then urging him to hold his arms out to the side while she looked over his back and ribs. She moved back to stand in front of him, her fingers probing through the hair on his chest as she noted the scar under just under his heart. She knelt then, and began the same thorough examination of the front of his right leg, then the left, then moved behind him once more to examine the backs of his legs. Her fingers touched a jagged scar behind his right knee. "Is this where you were bitten?" she asked.
"Yes," he replied stiffly, his eyes closed.
"All right then. I'll just need you to finish undressing," she said, making a few more notes on her parchment. He stood perfectly still. She couldn't possibly be serious. "Come on, Remus, really. You don't have anything I haven't seen. Besides, I thought you were anxious to put your robe back on? Just another minute or two and you'll be able to, if you cooperate for me now."
He had come to the conclusion that he did not like her patronizing tone. It was as though he were a small child, or perhaps a small animal, that was misbehaving.
"Do I need to help you, then?" she asked, and he closed his eyes, turning away from her.
"No, I don't need your help," he whispered, taking a deep breath and complying quickly before she made good on any one of her threats. True to her word, it only took another moment for her to finish examining him for scars and distinguishing features, and then she turned her back politely while he dressed again. When he sank into the chair in front of her desk once more, his face was red and he couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes.
"That wasn't so bad, now was it?" she asked, and he remained quiet, interpreting it as a rhetorical question. "Just a few more things and then you'll be done here. First, and most importantly, do you have a source for the Wolfsbane potion?"
He closed his eyes and wished fervently that he could tell her that he did, but he knew it would be a lie. There was only one wizard he knew who could brew the potion, and that was Severus Snape, who was quite rightly pissed off at him, and Remus had a feeling that nothing short of an order from Dumbledore would produce the potion. And if that order came, it would be an order that would produce it from that point on, and Remus still held out some small hope of making amends with Severus. It was much less worrisome to have the man for a friend than to have him for an enemy.
There were probably others who could brew the Wolfsbane, and Remus was sure he wouldn't have to go further than Diagon Alley to find it, but it would be dear, and he simply didn't have the money for it. This must be what it was like to die of thirst in the middle of the ocean.
"No," he whispered in answer to her question. "I don't."
"Hrm," she said, sounding appropriately concerned. "Then what is your plan for the full moon?"
The full moon? Hell. That was still a week away, and he had more pressing things to worry about tonight. "I'm still working on that."
"Remus," she said in a weary tone that one might use with a misbehaving child. "It is very irresponsible of you not to have a plan so close to the full moon. It is your obligation to take all appropriate and necessary precautions. I advise you to either find a means of procuring the Wolfsbane for yourself, or be prepared to turn yourself into Ministry custody for the duration of the full moon."
"Very well," he muttered.
"Does that mean you are going to be turning yourself in for protective custody?" she pressed.
"Yes. I'll come…"
"Friday," she filled in for him, and his eyes snapped to her suddenly.
"Friday?" he asked incredulously. "But the full moon isn't until Tuesday!"
"And the new Code requires that you be properly restrained for a full forty-eight hours prior to the full moon and twelve hours after. As the full moon is at 8:23 p.m., you will need to be restrained beginning 8:23 on Sunday. However, as the Ministry is not open on weekends, you will need to present yourself by six p.m. on Friday."
"Fine," he whispered blinking back the urge to slap that condescending tone out of her head.
She sat back in her chair and folded her arms, looking at him. "I think we've talked enough for one day," she said finally. "When you come back on Friday, we'll discuss a few other things. It will help for you to have read the Code."
He nodded jerkily.
"All right, then," she said, standing. She offered her hand again, and, taking a deep breath, Remus shook it once more. She opened the door and led him back through the waiting room and opened the door. "Do you remember how to get out?" she asked. "Third corridor on the right and…"
He spun around, searching for the source of the familiar and comforting voice. Arthur Weasley was beaming as he cut a quick pace along the corridor to join them.
"Arthur Weasley!" Lara said with a laugh, bustling past Remus and into the hallway. She gave Arthur a hug as though he were a long lost friend.
"Lara!" Arthur replied, kissing her plump cheek. "I see you've met Remus."
"You know him?" she asked, her broad grin returning. She faced Remus again. "You didn't tell me you know Arthur Weasley!" she accused with a laugh.
"Must have slipped my mind," Remus replied tightly. Neither seemed to notice the edge to his voice, though.
"Are the two of you well acquainted?" she asked Arthur, and he grinned, his eyes meeting Remus' for a moment.
"Known each other for years," he replied. "Splendid young man, isn't he?"
"Quite," she agreed, and Remus wished the floor would just swallow him. Not that they'd notice if he just Disapparated; they were talking about him as though he weren't standing right there. "And quite dashing as well," she said with a wink.
That was the final insult. How dare she stand there and make comments like that when not ten minutes ago he'd been standing nude in front of her while she made record of every scar on his body?
"I'd best be on my way," Remus said testily. "I have a bit of reading to do." Without another word, he stalked out of the room.