Author's note: Oh my, I haven't done anything on Fan Fiction or this story for so long. I'm sorry to any readers who may have been disappointed. Fair warning, this may be the beginning of another wait, because I have so much work this year that sometimes I hardly have time to breathe, let alone write. Hopefully it won't be so ridiculously and outrageously long.
Chapter Seventeen: A Discussion in the Hallway
Remus woke slowly to the uncertain half-light of either dawn or twilight. He sat up, momentarily disoriented by his surroundings. Then memory flooded his mind: Ulryk Weber. Voldemort. The Dark Mark. Shrouded figures circling him, an alleyway filled with frightened whispers. Full moon.
He sighed, peering out his window. The sun was sinking in the west; his internal clock told him that it was 6:01 PM. For an instant, he stretched his sleep-stiffened limbs, luxuriating in the feeling of vigor that his rest had instilled in him. Then he climbed to his feet, searching for his clothing, which he had had just enough energy to shed before collapsing into bed the previous night—or the night before last? He was not certain. Either way, it did not matter: the garments had mysteriously disappeared, along with, he realized with a start, his suitcases.
Remus stood in the middle of the room, completely exposed, and had to stifle a burst of laughter. Oh, Weber was clever. Speaking of his host…
He could hear the soft, steady pulse of someone's blood outside his door. Cautiously, making enough to noise to guarantee that the person outside would hear him coming, Remus strode to the door, opened it a crack, and peered out into the hallway.
Weber sat in a cushioned chair on the opposite side of the hall, facing Remus' room. A gun with a perforated cylinder—a silencer—attached to its barrel lay on his lap.
"I don't suppose I need to tell you that this is loaded with silver bullets," Weber murmured. He was sitting in partial darkness; before Remus' eyes adjusted to the shadows, all he could distinguish of the man were his beige eyes, shining palely in the gloaming.
"No, you don't," replied Remus, just as quietly. He could smell the metal from his spot behind the door. It set his nerves jangling, which, he supposed, was the reason why Weber was wielding the gun rather than his wand. After a moment of silence, Remus queried politely, "May I please have my clothing back?"
Weber ignored his request, but Remus could detect a flicker of laughter behind his solemn expression. "I searched all of your belongings, Mr. Lupin—"
"Remus," he interrupted.
"Remus," Weber acceded with a slight nod. "You have no weapons beyond your wand, and I found nothing incriminating. But I still think I'd like a clearer explanation of what is going on than you've given me thus far."
Remus inspected his captor/host carefully. Voldemort had agents everywhere—was Weber merely a test? A spy? Is that why his name had been first on the list? But even if he was Voldemort's man, what could Remus do about it?
Weber waited patiently, seemingly understanding of Remus' doubt. Remus took a deep breath; he could sense no ill will or concealed purpose on the other man, just curiosity. Following the instincts that told him that Weber was trustworthy, Remus informed him, "I am a spy, Mr. Weber."
"We seem to be on a first-name basis at this point," Weber stated pointedly.
"Very well," Remus replied, smiling slightly.
"Who are you working for?"
"Have you ever heard of the Order of the Phoenix?"
Weber raised an eyebrow. "Who hasn't?"
"I am spying on Voldemort for the Order," Remus said.
"Yet you come under the orders of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," Weber said questioningly.
"He is under the impression that I am one of his Death Eaters."
Weber studied the carpet beneath his feet, digesting this in silence. Then he glanced up at Remus, a subdued fear etched into his expression. "And I am on his list?" Remus nodded. "How did he find out?"
Remus knew Weber was referring to his lycanthropy. "He has sources everywhere, Ulryk. Or perhaps it was simply a lucky guess."
"If word gets out…" Weber sighed. Then he stood, picked a small parcel, and offered it to Remus, who recognized it as his clothing. "When you're decent," his host called over his shoulder as he walked away down the hall, "come downstairs. I want to show you something."