A/N: I know I'm posting early today, but I think I might be busy tonight so I thought sooner was better than later. Besides, it is the long awaited family dinner…;)
17: An Occupational Hazard
The Monday after his meeting with Felisha at the Three Broomsticks, Remus Lupin went home. He felt he'd earned it.
Sunday had not been the easiest day of his life. A long, involved meeting in Dumbledore's office with Tonks, Kingsley, Mad-Eye Moody and the ever-charming Severus Snape had yielded little in the way of a definite plan of action regarding the news that a Dementor was already installed within the Institute. Kingsley's queries at the Ministry had revealed that sending the Dementor to the Institute had been a Ministry decision rather than a request from any Institute member but that did not alter the chill suspicion in Remus' heart that it was playing right into the hands of their hidden Death Eater. He knew that Felisha would alert them as soon as she could if the situation in her place of work suffered any profound change but the question was would that already be too late?
But they could do nothing more. Kingsley's diffident suggestion to his superiors that a search of the Institute might be wise had been shot down in flames – no one wanted to interfere with Dolores Umbridge's favourite project. Access to the Institute was severely restricted, even for a luminary such as Dumbledore and its security was unsurpassed; without inside help – namely Felisha's as yet unrevealed emergency plan – they were simply unable to act. It was frustrating and worrying to be so helpless in the face of such a threat but it was also unavoidable.
And Snape's investigations had also yielded nothing. To his palpable annoyance, whatever plans were afoot within the Institute were clearly highly confidential knowledge – none of his Death Eater contacts had heard a thing. This was, he had concluded with a sneer, probably a one or two man project and the one or two involved were either not present or not talking. He did mention however, that it had been some while since he had encountered Bellatrix Lestrange.
And that, unfortunately, had been that. Dumbledore had drunk in the faces of his fellow Order members and quietly suggested to them all that the best they could do for now was to go about their business and wait. They had all reacted in their own ways – Severus had curled his lip, Mad-Eye had growled, Kingsley had frowned, Tonks had huffed and Remus had sighed – but none had argued and the meeting had rather sullenly broken up.
Remus had intended to remain at Hogwarts for the remaining week of the Easter holidays, to insure he was on hand should something untoward occur, but as he made his way back down to his office, he had encounter three Ravenclaws from his NEWT level class gossiping together in the corridor. And when they had registered his approach, as one, they turned and smirked at him.
Remus had sighed. Substantially.
Bloody Rosmerta. And bloody open doors…
He had hoped to have a quiet word with the two Ravenclaws from the Three Broomsticks before word got around, hoping beyond hope that they might not have returned to the school yet from their own interlude in Hogsmeade. But apparently he was far too late. The grapevine was already spreading.
By the afternoon, the looks were becoming more commonplace. And by that evening's dinner, it seemed almost as though the smirks of the entire student body were upon him. At that point, Remus had abandoned his earlier plans, hurried up to the Owlery and plaintively contacted his father to request sanctuary.
Reynard had, with only a few minor jokes of his own, welcomed him with open arms.
The remote student-and-Institute-less quiet of Winter Hollow proved to be exactly what Remus needed. He had relaxed gently back into life at home, helping in the garden and feeding the menagerie, reading books and writing papers, walking the woods and mountains and talking and laughing with his father. But as the week passed and Remus unwound, he could not help but notice that Reynard's level of tension was rising almost in proportion. And there was no need to ask why.
For the postponed family dinner was looming that Sunday. And every day was one day closer.
And so it was that by the time Remus and Reynard shook off their apparition on Sunday morning to stare over at the grey stone walls of the Lupin family home, the elder Lupin was wound up tighter than a bowstring.
Remus blinked in the bright sunlight of the spring day as he glanced up and down the narrow, flowery lane on which they had materialised before shifting his gaze to the ornately curved iron gates that lay before them, marking the boundary of the anti-apparition wards around the grounds. Beyond, a gravelled drive dropped away, flanked by well-maintained lawns and neatly trimmed meadow before rising once more to a blocky but charming house of thick grey stone with broad windows that gazed out in all directions across the curl of hills that surrounded its snug resting place. A sigh, carved neatly out of slate and set into the gatepost announced its name as Greystones.
Reynard was also staring at the house. His hands closed around his stick almost reflexively.
Glancing at his father's white pallor, Remus placed a gentle hand against his distinctly taut shoulder and squeezed softly.
"Dad, relax," he said kindly. "It'll be fine. At least you've met most of them before. If I'm not nervous, why should you be?"
Reynard's eyes flicked towards his son. "I don't know how you can be so calm," he replied with a wan smile. "Are you sure your mother didn't slip you some kind of sedative when you were a baby?"
Remus smiled in return. "I'm afraid I couldn't tell you that." His smile wavered slightly. "I've had quite enough to be nervous about lately," he added quietly. "And besides, I tend to go into most social gatherings these days expecting to be disliked. That way if I'm not, it's a pleasant surprise."
Reynard's smile turned somewhat sad. "You shouldn't have to."
Remus shrugged. "I know. But that's just the way of the world."
The heartily hail made both Lupin men jump. Turning sharply, Remus' gaze fixed upon the smiling young man who was strolling down the lane towards them. He was slightly shorter than Remus, his face broad, freckled and friendly, his skin well tanned and his lanky Lupin frame filled out by honed muscle. His brown hair, ruffled jovially by the breeze, carried hints of red as it glinted in the sun.
His quick stride brought him to their side in moments. "Glad you made it!" he exclaimed cheerfully, catching Reynard's hand and giving it a firm shake – Reynard's nervous smile melted beneath the assault of overwhelming good nature. "I was worried after Ben went and chucked us all in it last weekend that you wouldn't make it and it would hardly have been much of a dinner without the guests of honour!"
Reynard laughed. "Nice to see you too, Rufus."
The young man – Rufus - released his hand with a grin and turned his hazel eyes abruptly onto Remus.
"And this must be cousin Remus!" he exclaimed, thrusting out his hand once more – unable to keep himself from smiling, Remus accepted it. "I'm Rufus Lupin, youngest son, black sheep and general source of familial amusement and despair. Amongst the charges you are likely to hear levelled in my direction today are that I am not yet married, I live in a flat in London in spite of offers to remain at home and I that abandoned a promising career in magi-zoology to train as an exterminator. And of course, the great unforgiven – I was the only member of my family not sorted into to Ravenclaw."
Slightly bemused, Remus glanced at his father whose shoulder were now shaking not with tension but suppressed amusement – it was clear that he had received a similar assault of information on his first encounter with Rufus.
"Nice to meet you," he replied. "I am indeed Remus."
Rufus must have spotted his expression. "Don't worry," he said with a grin. "I just like to get all that stuff out of the way. It saves time and explanations later. And I don't expect you to reciprocate."
Remus echoed his smile. "Well in that case I won't bother to tell you that I am also single, I vary between living at home with my father and at Hogwarts, where I am a professor and that I am also one of the great unforgiven who were not in Ravenclaw."
Rufus laughed out loud. "Don't tell me. Another of Minerva's minions?"
A picture of the expression on Minerva McGonagall's face at hearing her house so described almost cracked Remus' aura of calm. Stifling laughter, he grinned.
"I was a prefect," he pointed out with mock offence. "Hardly a minion."
"Sell-out." Rufus' eyes were twinkling. "But never mind. If you're nice to me, I might let you join me in that special corner of disappointment that dad reserves for any Lupin sorted into Gryffindor."
Remus started to smile but then a glimpse of his father's face forced his good humour into abrupt retreat. He remembered, with a start, that Rolphe Lupin would have good reason for worrying about a Gryffindor son considering that the last member of his family to reach that house, his and Reynard's sister Rhea, had come to an unfortunate end to say the least.
Definitely time to change the subject.
"Perhaps we'd better head inside?" he deflected diplomatically, gesturing towards the gates. "I wouldn't want to cement that disappointment further by being late."
"No need to fret on that score." Rufus waved a dismissive hand, but he did move in the direction of the driveway. Exchanging a glance that told Remus eloquently that his father had understood and appreciated his deflection, his fellow Lupins followed. Rufus was smiling once more as he pushed open the gate and ushered his two relatives inside – it appeared to be his default state of being. "Trust me, we won't be the last," he continued at once. "Ruth and Edmund and their little hoard live with mum and dad so she's always about and I think Ro and her brood have been staying over Easter. But Ben and Beks are always busy-busy with this, that or the other so whatever time I saunter in, they always show up later. So I reckon we're safe for now."
The walk down the long drive was necessarily slow due to Reynard's incapacity but Rufus used the opportunity to fill the air with friendly chatter about soon to be encountered relatives – the likely distraction of his sister Rowanne due to the necessity of watching over a four month old son and two year old daughter, the probability of boredom in any conversation with his brother Ben due to his tendency to talk about little but twig capacity and streamline finish in his work as a designer of broomsticks, the futility of trying to discuss work with his sister Beks who always avoided the subject in company and that his mother Thalia could and would gush for hours on any subject if you were foolish enough to be cornered by her. By the time they reached the front steps of the house, Remus had begun to feel as though he had known these people all his life.
It was an odd sensation. He wasn't used to having cousins that didn't want him dead.
"So in conclusion," Rufus declared expansively as they paused outside the wooden front door of Greystones house. "If you want a dull conversation, talk to Ben. If you want no conversation, talk to Beks. If you want a distracted conversation, talk to Ro. If you want polite conversation, talk to my dad. If you want a conversation where you don't need to speak at all, talk to my mother. If you want a strange conversation, take your pick from the kids. But if you want a sane conversation, you'll have to come to Ruth or me. And that's all you need to know."
Remus couldn't help himself. "No other tips? Only that was hardly much to go on."
Rufus blinked for a moment, before bursting into sudden laughter. "You'll pass," he said, still chuckling. "Considering you're a werewolf, I was half-expecting you to be a bit of a misery. It's nice to be wrong."
The sudden, offhand mention of his condition caught Remus rather off-guard. Reynard's head also snapped up but Rufus, glancing between them, did nothing more than shrug.
"You weren't expecting me to mention that, were you?" he remarked, his voice slightly more serious than Remus had come to expect. "But don't worry yourself about it. I can't speak for the others, but I can tell you it doesn't bother me." He grinned slightly. "As long as you don't start vying for my black sheep position anyway. I like being the odd one out. It means I can do as I please and no one acts horrified or surprised."
Remus couldn't help but smile. "You sound like an old friend of mine. He used to say something very similar."
Rufus smiled more gently in return. "Then I'm even more sure than you and I are going to get along." He glanced around, his eyes flicking up towards the brilliant blue sky, over the colourful mass of flowers swaying gently in the meadow breeze, towards a lark ascending as it trilled out its glorious song.
"Take a deep breath," he said with a roll of his eyes. "And drink in this lovely peace and quiet. Because once I open that door, it's easy to forget it exists. Brace yourselves."
And then, fumbling with his key, he opened the door.
And then there was noise.
A small battalion of children hurtled through the neatly panelled hallway that opened out before them, screaming and laughing as they ran from one doorway into another as they pursued a wildly barking dog that almost ploughed down a distracted looking little house elf that was hurrying into a nearby room with a tray of drinks, hitching up its neat little tea towel as it scurried out of the path of danger. From somewhere above, the long plaintive wail of a baby echoed through the house, a counterpoint to the hiss and steam of cauldrons on a fire that drifted from the open doorway at the hallway's head, accompanied by the strains of a woman's voice chattering in constant commentary to whatever it was she was doing. In the distance, something tumbled with a crash – a man's voice raised itself in remonstration at this unseen mishap and suddenly the cries of a second child had joined the first; clearly, being told off was reason enough to add to the din. Plaintive and drowned out, somewhere, peaceful music was playing.
Remus stared. Rufus laughed. Reynard grinned.
"You know, I didn't think it could get much louder than last time," the elder Lupin remarked almost cheerfully. "I'm impressed."
Rufus shrugged easily. "Trust me, for a full family gathering, this is a quiet day. Come on, let's brave the wilds and see who we can find. And don't worry if you trip over Ruffles – the dog," he added at Remus' slight expression of bemusement. "You aren't a true blooded member of the Lupin family until you've had at least one Ruffles related injury."
As he pulled the door closed behind them and followed Rufus and his father into the corridor, Remus had to admit that the chaos before him was not precisely what he had been expecting. Everything he had ever heard about his father's brother Rolphe had implied he was a fairly staid and serious man and on coming to his home, Remus had to admit he had rather anticipated a staid and serious gathering. Faced as he was with rushing children, barking dogs and an overwhelming cacophony of family that was almost Weasley-ish in nature, he found himself to be pleasantly taken aback and ever so slightly daunted.
Ahead, Rufus had cupped his hands over his mouth with a wink.
"Halloooo!" he cried. "Can anybody hear me out there?"
A head popped out of the nearest doorway on the right. It belonged to a vividly redheaded woman perhaps a couple of years Remus' senior who smiled broadly at the sight of Rufus and hurried at once to his side.
"Rufus!" she exclaimed, catching him in a brief but sincere embrace. "You didn't bring Sally?"
Rufus shrugged slightly. "We broke up."
The woman's face fell into weary resignation. "Again? Honestly, if you and she stay together for more than a month at a time, I shall have to call the Prophet. And – oh!" Her gaze caught on Reynard as her face broke into a brilliant smile. "Hello Reynard."
"Ruth." Smiling too, Reynard offered his hand but Ruth batted it aside almost fondly as she stepped forward and also engulfed him in a hug. To judge by the expression on his father's face, Reynard had been caught, though not unpleasantly, by surprise.
"We've met more than once and we're family," Ruth informed him with mock sternness as she withdrew, smiling. "I'm afraid that puts you on my hugging rota."
Rufus smirked. "My condolences."
Ruth smacked him playfully on the arm. "Watch it, little brother. I still know how to make you suffer." Her eyes switched to Remus and she smiled again. "And you must be Remus. A pleasure to meet you. I'm Ruth Wychwood, Rolphe's eldest daughter." She offered her hand. "I'll let you off the hug because we've never met before and I tend to avoid hugging strangers. But next time, there shall be no escape."
"Run while you can," Rufus offered in a stage whisper as Remus took her hand and shook it with a smile. Ruth shot her younger brother another mock glare.
"One more like that and I'll tell Rowanne you offered to watch the baby," she informed him. "I know how much you love changing nappies and wiping up vomit."
Rufus raised his hands in mock surrender. "All right, spare me. I'd better go and register my presence with the parents. May I leave our guests in your capable hands?"
"You may. Now run along." Rufus obeyed with a playful wave as Ruth turned to Reynard and Remus. "And if you two would care to follow me?"
They did, moving into the room from which Ruth had emerged. It was fairly substantial in size, also panelled in wood, with a large ornate fireplace and a variety of chairs, rugs and tables scattered around the hardwood floor. A piano, covered in family photos, stood in one corner, quietly playing Satie's Gymnopedies unaided by human hand and several portraits and pictures were scattered around the walls. Several of the occupants regarded the new arrivals carefully.
"Reynard Lupin, back again!" One, an old man in a curly wig and black frock coat proclaimed expansively. "Welcome, my boy! No word for years and then two visits in one month! So good to see you!"
Reynard smiled. "Hello, Roderick," he greeted cheerfully, as he settled himself into a green armchair by the fire, just beneath the portrait that had spoken. "How's my favourite Great-Great Grandfather?"
Remus half-made to join him but Ruth caught his arm and guided him quietly to one side. "Let them talk," she said softly. "Roderick has been asking after Reynard for as long as I can remember – well before I even knew who he was. I think he was a bit of a favourite. Besides…" They came to a standstill beside the gently self-playing piano, "I was hoping for a quiet word with you."
"With me?" Remus made absolutely certain that no hint of the flash of coldness that ran the length of his spine appeared on his face at these words. "Certainly. What about?"
Ruth said nothing for a moment. Her eyes drifted to the piano top. Remus followed her gaze.
It was a photograph, black and white, of five smiling people on the lawn in front of Greystones, two parents and three children, one boy and two girls. It looked somewhat over thirty years old. The eldest girl was unmistakably Ruth.
The chill deepened. "Ah."
Ruth nodded quietly. "You know about what happened to my brother Randolph and my mother then?"
Remus returned the nod. "I know they were murdered by the same werewolf that bit me."
His cousin sighed deeply. "It means very little to Reuben, Rowanne and Rufus. Not to say they are insensitive to it, but she was not their mother and they were born years after Randolph died. They know they existed but they do not mourn them the way we who knew them do." She stared at the picture again for a moment. "I do not blame you in any way," she continued softly. "Why should I? You were a victim of Kane yourself after all. But my father does and always has felt their loss more keenly than even my sister and I. It took a great deal for him to ask you here today – if my nephew hadn't given you such a stunningly positive endorsement, I doubt he would have agreed at all. But he will be awkward with you – not out of blame, not particularly even out of prejudice, but because you are a living, breathing reminder of what happened to two people he loved dearly. And that you lived and they did not still hurts him." She met his eyes almost pleadingly. "Please bear that in mind."
Remus bowed his head. "Of course. I understand completely." He swallowed hard before adding, "Kane killed my mother too. Nearly five years ago."
Ruth's eyes widened. "I didn't know that."
Remus sighed deeply. "Not many people do. I only learned myself a few months ago."
Ruth released a long, slow breath as her gaze became a scrutiny. "Were you angry?" she asked softly.
Remus' mind flashed back to the Howling, to the raging fury that had kindled in his chest as Kane taunted him about killing Diana Lupin, to the surge of gold he now knew had touched his eyes.
"Furious," he replied.
His cousin regarded him uncertainly. "Then perhaps you can understand that my sister…"
"What do you mean they're already here? Honestly, Rufus Lupin, why didn't you say that first?" The echoing cry bounced the length and breadth of the house, cutting though even the distant, chaotic sounds of many children at play. "Rolphe! Reuben! Rowanne! They're here already, get yourselves downstairs!"
Looking rather frazzled, Rufus stumbled abruptly through the doorway. "Duck and cover," he warned breathlessly. "Mum knows you've arrived and you're about to be inundated. Believe it or not, even Ben got here before me. We're only waiting for Beks."
Ruth's head snapped up. "Rufus, don't call her that. You know she hates it and one of these days she'll snap and have your head on a spike before you can say acromantula."
Rufus opened his mouth, presumably in some cheeky retort, but the words were stayed as he was bustled unceremoniously out of the way by a hoard of galloping children and a very lively Scottie dog who flung themselves bright eyed into the room to get a look at the new arrivals. A moment later they were followed by a thin woman of perhaps nearing sixty, wrapped in long green, flapping robes and with her greying brown hair tied back into a slightly fraying bun. Her eyes fixed on Reynard and she smiled.
"Reynard, dear, how lovely to see you again," she declared expansively, widening her arms as she swept down upon him – Reynard barely managed to pull himself to his feet before he was engulfed in another embrace. "You've been well I hope? Good, good!" Reynard opened his mouth, presumably in an effort to greet her but the woman had already wheeled and swept in the direction of his son.
"And this must be Remus!" she exclaimed. This time, Remus was not spared the perils of hugging as bony arms engulfed him too. "I'm Thalia Lupin, dear, Rolphe's wife," she declared as she released him and stepped back. "And goodness, don't you look like your father! There's no mistaking your lineage, dear, that's for sure! And you work at Hogwarts? That must be ever so rewarding, teaching all those children, though I know there was that nasty incident at Christmas, but probably best not to discuss that in front of the little ones, wouldn't you say?"
Remus half managed to attempt a response, but the tide of conversation flowing from Thalia's lips had already swept on past. He had to marvel at the accuracy of Rufus' earlier description – his mother could indeed conduct an entire conversation by herself. "I was worried your duties at Hogwarts might keep you away but of course we're in the Easter holidays, so we are blessed with your company after all! I've done beef, dear, I hope you like it, Reynard said you wouldn't mind but I do like to be sure. Oh and don't mind Ruffles, dear, he's harmless, wouldn't hurt a fly, would you boy?"
For indeed, the family dog was tugging playfully at the hem of his robes, with an expression of mindless glee, his tail wagging like a twig in a hurricane. His little eyes gleamed brightly with the effort. Rather tentatively, Remus attempted to push him away. He had no real objections to dogs, but years of poverty had taught him not to risk a good pair of robes to canine teeth.
Ruth rolled her eyes slightly. "Oh that won't do. Don't be gentle with him, he isn't with us."
"Oh no, he's a right little scamp is our Ruffles!" Thalia beamed as Ruth, aided by a little girl of perhaps nine or ten that Remus guessed belonged to her, reached down and prized Ruffles away from the hem of the visitor's clothing. A glance in the direction of the door told Remus that the room was filling up with unfamiliar faces but he barely had time to take them in before he was distracted by the double assault of Thalia's conversation and Ruffles renewed persistence in his game of tug-the-robe and was dragged back under by the inexorable Lupin tide.
To Remus, family and home had always been a quiet place, a refuge, filled with love and jokes and laughter, but they had been only three, now reduced to two, not enough to fill even such a small cottage as Winter Hollow. Before the Weasleys, he had never really known how chaotic and boisterous a large family could be and he had watched their antics from the sidelines with quiet amusement, never dreaming for a moment that he would find himself at the centre of such a scene of madness with relatives of his own. It was a shock, exhilarating, terrifying. It was amazing.
"Mum, mum!" Remus registered Ruth's voice, realising as she spoke that Thalia had clearly been a part of the family long enough to gain the honorific title of mother from Rolphe's older daughters. "You haven't let the poor man say a word! And besides…" Her voice dropped to a more serious tone. "I think dad has something to say."
The silence fell instantly, startlingly so after the racket of moments before. Even the piano fell still.
Remus looked up.
Standing in the centre of the room, Rolphe Lupin had just released his brother's hand. That they were brothers was again unmistakable – although Rolphe was the shorter, his face broader, his belly larger, the resemblance was plain to see. His hair was best described as white streaked with brown more than brown streaked with white and his hazel eyes were deep and fixed intensely on Remus. At his side, Reynard was watching his brother with a mixture of uncertainty and nervousness.
"You're Remus." The words, when they came, were low and soft.
Remus nodded gently. "I am."
Rolphe flashed a brief, wan smile. "Of course you are," he muttered almost to himself. "You're the spitting image of Rey at that age, who else would you be?" He shook himself slightly. "You're not quite what I expected," he admitted almost uncertainly. "But in a good way. So." He took a deep breath. "I wish also to take this chance to thank you for what you have done for this family." The words came with difficulty, but Remus could tell it was not resentment but deep emotion that weighed his uncle's tongue. "You brought the man who killed my wife and son to face justice and in doing so you also probably saved my grandson's life. And so, whatever I may think of…" he hesitated and drew in another gulp of air, "...your kind, you will always be welcomed here. Welcome to Greystones and into my home. I hope you will come to consider it a home of yours as well."
And then, his jaw fixed and shoulders strained, Rolphe Lupin stepped forward and offered his hand.
Remus accepted it.
Mindful of what a momentous step this must be for a man who had loathed werewolves almost all of his life, Remus almost felt as though there should have been a round of applause or a crack of thunder. But the room and the world stayed respectfully silent.
But Reynard was smiling. That Remus could see clearly.
"So," Rolphe's shoulders relaxed a little as he released his hand and stepped back. "While my lovely wife and our house elf finish preparing our dinner, why don't I introduce you to everyone?"
And he did. In a positive torrent of names and faces, Remus was presented to Ruth's husband Edmund and their three children, Reuben Lupin the broomstick designer and his wife and sons, and the pale and rather frazzled looking Rowanne who gripped a lively toddler by one hand and held a young and once more squalling baby in the other. Her husband, she informed them with a certain frustration, worked in the Department of Magical Games and Sports and was currently at a Quidditch conference in Germany. Rufus insisted on being introduced again, to his father's fond irritation, before depositing himself in the midst of a mass of children and dog to join in whatever strange game they were playing.
"My other daughter sent a message to say she'd been delayed at work," Rolphe informed him apologetically when the meet and greet was done. "But she and her family should be here soon… in fact, here they are now!"
And indeed, Ruffles had leapt to his feet with a mad bark as the sound of the front door opening and voices in the hall drifted through. A young girl of perhaps ten or eleven flung herself through the doorway and leapt onto Rolphe with a cry of "Grandad!" and a moment later, she was followed by…
For Remus, everything stopped.
And then, his stomach plunged.
Oh no. Oh no, no, no, it can't be…
Anthony Goldstein hurried over to where his teacher was standing, stock-still and stunned in the centre of the room.
"Can you believe it?" he exclaimed cheerfully. "I mean, I knew when you first came to Hogwarts that mum's maiden name was Lupin but since no one ever mentioned you, I'd always assumed it was a coincidence until granddad told me you were his brother's son! And mum knew as well! I can't believe she never said anything even after I told her you were my favourite teacher." He paused, squinting suddenly at his professor's pale face. "Professor Lupin, are you all right?"
Swallowing hard, Remus found his voice. "Your…mother?" he managed hoarsely.
"Yes Professor," a voice drawled from the hallway. "His mother. Your cousin."
Remus looked up. But he already knew what he would find.
For standing cross-armed in the doorway and wearing her profoundest look of disdain, was none other than Rebekah Goldstein.
A/N: Please don't hit me. ;)
I do know that several of my reviewers out there did indeed spot this coming and I groaned in horror at every one of your reviews! ;) But over-clever gits though you may be, I must congratulate you…;)
In my original ideas for this story, which came upon me whilst writing the last ten chapters or so of Oblivious, it was not my intention to saddle poor Remus with yet another surprise cousin. But I had for a while been searching for a way to work Reynard into the story somehow, even if it was just a kind of cameo, because I had grown so fond of him in the writing of Oblivious, I wanted to give him something to do in Imperius too. And as I thought about it, I came up with the idea of reconciling him with his estranged brother and his family, which of course would bring Remus along for the ride. And thus, I wrote the seed for this idea into the concluding chapters of Oblivious and its epilogue.
The trouble was, it had absolutely nothing to do with my major plot at all. And I didn't like the idea of a subplot of absolutely no relevance that was inserted just to satisfy a personal whim. I'm strange like that… ;)
That was when it occurred to me that Rebekah Goldstein, Rolphe Lupin's second daughter, might serve rather well in the role of the Head of the Institute, one that I had yet to really flesh out beyond a few plot points and deeds. Relevance! Oh how I cheered! ;) It did occur to me that my readers might groan rather and pelt me with rotten fruit for inflicting poor Remus with another hostile relative but I considered it a price worth paying. Besides, I made the rest of his newfound family nice to make up for it! So please don't hurt me too much…;)
Oh, and for those of you (including my poor beta) who were about confused by the masses of Lupins above, here is a potted summary of Rolphe's family. :)Rolphe Lupin's Descendants
Married -1 1952 Megara Carrington b.1925 died 1962 (killed by Kane)
Married -2 1965 Thalia Treville b.1939
1 - Randolph Lupin b.1953 d.1962 (killed by Kane)
1 - Ruth Lupin b.1955 m.1985 Edmund WychwoodChildren
1 - Rebekah Lupin b.1957 m.1978 Felix GoldsteinChildren
2 - Reuben Lupin b.1966 m.1985 Ariadne RussettChildren
Benjamin b. 1989
2 -Rowanne Lupin b.1970 m.1993 Perseus Hazell
2 - Rufus Lupin b 1973
And of course:
Many thanks as per usual to my lovely reviewers elka78, Rel Fexive, The Great RC, Thee Unknown Factor, Hawkgal, Camilinha, Belle, emmaD, Pickledishkiller, Miracle, Howling-wolf, Dragongirl19, Kailin, Liv Naravul, Takarameri, Analia's Broom, Gilpin, D'Arean, Adre, aurelie1, mercutio-rane, sylthian and Silver Mo0n 19. You are all nice, nice people. :)
Hawkgal – You've a few chapters to wait for a Tonks POV yet but it is coming…:)
Camilinha - I'm saying nothing on the shipping front –whistles- ;)
emmaD – I'm glad the theories are interesting to you – I always worry I'm boring people with my magi-babble! And I'm glad the Bathroom Incident worked too. :)
Miracle – I'm glad you found me! The trouble with Mugglenet is that it's so slow to post the chapters, things there tend to get a little behind. I hope you're caught up and you enjoy it:)
Dragongirl19 – It wasn't that many – only four. Unfortunately, that includes a barmaid and two students…;)
Kailin – Felisha has a legitimate reason to be there that all the Institute knew about. What she didn't have was a legitimate reason to be seen with Remus…;)
Liv Naravul – The handwriting is appalling. I fear for Britain's youth…;)
Takarameri – I am a bit of a perfectionist on the spelling/grammer front so I'm glad it makes a difference to you! I'm pleased you're enjoying it:)
Gilpin – I'm glad you liked it! I was worried people would find this chapter dull:)
D'Arean – Gossip will occur but I don't know how much time I'll be able to devote to it. There will be second hand reports though…;)
Adre – You've peaked my curiosity! But I'm nice, I shan't ask…;)
sylthian – I'm glad it all made sense:)
mercutio-rane – I like the little extra bits too. They are fun to write. :)
Silver Mo0n 19 – Have you come here from FA? I think I've seen you review there. :) I know it's more behind there – it's too slow to post to keep up. I'm very glad you enjoyed it:)
As usual, your reviews light up my life! Please keep lighting:)