Title: Orchestra of Blue
Author: Mir
Date: August 2, 2007- October 31, 2007

Disclaimer: I make no claim to any of the Harry Potter characters, its storyline, or its overall universe. I do not write for compensation; I do not hold any copyrights; this is purely a hobby that I pursue for personal pleasure.

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Author's note: I'm replacing the note I wrote back in August
because it doesn't make sense anymore. Now that I've finished
revising the existing chapters of this story, hopefully I'll have
time to continue deeper into the plot… 

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Chapter 2: Gather (Summer 1996)

The night Sirius showed up unexpectedly at Remus's flat—sporting green and brown striped Bermuda shorts and a deep tan—the latter had only just returned home himself. It was a Tuesday, mid-June, somewhat wet but pleasantly cool, almost a week after the full moon. Remus hadn't seen his friend in months. Of course, the first thing he noticed as he hesitantly peered around the edge of the doorframe was a rain-drenched black dog that roughly nosed its way inside and tracked large muddy paw prints across the carpet.

"Sirius," he greeted, tossing the dog a towel as its silhouette shifted smoothly back into human form, "welcome back" The other frowned, scowled almost as he set about drying his hair. 'So this isn't just a friendly social call,' he noted to himself.

Sirius glared angrily at the floor, then dropped the towel to the ground between his feet. "He's back, Remus. You-Know-Who. Harry saw him."

Remus stared, not really believing what he'd heard. "What?"

"And Dumbledore…" The slight tremble in his voice was replaced with determination, eagerness almost. "…is resurrecting the Order." They had been original members all those years ago—Siruis and Remus and James and Peter—were among the youngest of Dumbledore's motley group. At first, Remus had been convinced they'd hinder rather than help the more experienced older cadre. Siruis had proclaimed the Order a grand opportunity for adventure (and of course snubbing his family). 'The Mauraders advance to the next level'…or something like that. Of the four of them, James had been the one to talk of duty and obligation. It had taken them all a full three days to convince their werewolf friend to join.

"For years we feared the worst…" Remus murmured quietly, suddenly feeling more than a little weak in the knees. "…and now it's true." His mind never actually questioned whether or not Voldemort had actually returned. If Dumbledore had said as much, he'd accept the information as fact. "When will the Order meet?".

"He didn't say." Sirius plucked the towel from the floor, tossed it across the back of the sofa, and began to pace restlessly across the rug. "Told me to lie low at your place for a bit... if that's all right with you." Years ago he might have just announced his intention to stay over. But people and friendships change, and ten years stolen away is not as easily won back.

"It's no problem, Padfoot. This place is small, but…" Remus replied. The other flashed one of his classic smiles, and for a moment they were back at Hogwarts—two boys with wands in hand and nothing but adventures on the mind.

"Right, then. I'll crash on your sofa. It'll be just like old times." They'd shard a flat straight after school, a little third-story hole-in-the-wall with a kitchen the size of a closet and a row of broken laundry machines in the basement. But Sirius, feeling uncharacteristically domestic, had bought soft beige curtains, and despite the camped quarters, somehow that simple gesture had made it feel like home. "I can't believe you still have those ratty old curtains, Moony." He was looking past them now down onto the deserted street below.

"When I moved out of that apartment, I couldn't bring myself to throw them away," Remus replied with a shrug.

He'd thought the other would laugh, crack some kind of joke, and move on, but instead he turned around, eyes suspiciously serious. "Moony," he began hesitantly. "The 70's are long gone. We're not kids anymore."

'Is he trying to counsel me about letting go of the past? Sirius of all people?' Remus protested to himself, retort already forming on his tongue. But Sirius continued before he could respond. "Getting to know at Harry and the others…gave me a jolt. Kept seeing us at that age… memories and such just running around my head," he murmured, almost more to himself than to his friend.

"Marauders will always be Marauders. Whether alive or dead, together or apart—" The words sounded hollow even to Remus's own ears, but he knew a downward spiral when he saw one, knew the kinds of knots Sirius could tie himself into. "If the curtains bother you, it's no problem to take them down."

"No—" the other replied more forcefully than he'd probably intended. "I mean, don't do it on my account. It's nothing really. It's actually kind of cute of you to still have them. Classic Moony. I just…" He was rambling, trying to fill the empty space of years of separation and lives lived far apart. "..you know. It's just hard to let go." In truth, he'd been to Remus's place before and not commented on the curtains, probably didn't even notice them.

Remus nodded in understanding, half-smiled. "I'll make some tea," he replied at last, unable to keep his eyes from tracing the line of muddy paw prints back to the door. "Could you maybe…"

"Don't worry, just leave it to me," Sirius responded eagerly as if relieved for the distraction. They'd each turned their tasks when he called back over his shoulder, "And Remus, thanks for everything. Always."

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Word came by owl almost two weeks later. The note itself was cryptically brief and suspiciously unsigned, but to a trained eye, it was unmistakably Dumbledore's lettering. "My office, Tuesday at ten. Are you eating well? Peppermints calm the digestion." The ending, of course, was the password. Never really meant as a true security measure, it was simply a time-proven way of keeping unwanted visitors from simply waltzing in unannounced.

Even so many years later, Remus couldn't help feeling like a delinquent schoolboy again whenever he was summoned to the headmaster's office. This was hardly surprising given that the place itself never seemed changed. It had been almost a year since he'd last set foot in Hogwarts, a year since that grand experiment known as teaching had ended in humiliation and resignation.

"You know why I asked you to stop by." There always seemed to be a glint of mischief in his eyes, a sometimes subtle hint of amusement. Remus stood before the oversized wooden desk—Dumbledore stopped trying to make him sit down years ago—and watched as the headmaster paced slowly back and forth beneath the portraits.

"I suspect it's about the Order," Remus replied.

"Yes, yes…" the other paused and nodded. "You were one of the original members, yes, you and the others." 'Sirius, James, and Peter', Remus's whispered. "Of course, I had my reservations back then inducting members so young. You four were barely out of school, if I recall correctly."

"…it was a time of great need, and we had to have to best we could find regardless of age," he continued. Remus blinked, realizing that he must have missed a few sentences while lost in thought. "Unfortunately, today is no different." Words left unsaid echoed around the room as if shouted 'Voldemort's return'. But Remus was not among the unbelieving.

"We must resurrect the Order. Time is of the essence." He stood tall, palms pressed firmly on the desk's surface, eyes burning. "Most of the old guard have been notified." He abruptly broke eye contact, turned his head away. "Unfortunately, many have been lost…" Remus swallowed hard, forcing himself not to flinch. "I will send word when we are ready to reassemble."

He was in front of the desk now, leaning his back against it in surprisingly casual pose that brought forth images of the headmaster in his younger years—or at least how a former student imagined he might have looked as a younger, less-burdened man. "As we'll need younger members," he continued, arms folded across his chest, "I will be in consultation with Moody regarding the graduates of last year's Auror class." At the comment, Remus nodded, remembering that he'd seen them once at that horrid Ministry Christmas event during his Hogwarts tenure. He had only really left with a positive impression of one.

And he couldn't help but notice that Dumbledore had absentmindedly plucked something off the surface of his desk while talking—a painted Japanese fan of sorts—and was tapping it rhythmically against his left palm in cadence with his words. "Remus, I'd like you to be a mentor of sorts. I'm sure I can trust you not to underestimate the new members." He nodded in a way that suggested'meeting over' but held the fan out to his guest, handle first. "I received this from some self-declared admirer in Japan, but perhaps you'll find it more useful than I."

Accustomed to Dumbledore's eccentricities, Remus accepted the impromptu gift, and after exchanging parting words, descended from the tower. There was always something nostalgic about Hogwarts, something about its thick stone walls and animated portraits that didn't need curtains to feel like home.

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Remus was absorbed in one of his well-thumbed books when Sirius dropped the small strip of parchment, probably torn from the back of yesterday'sProphet, into his lap and instructed him to read it silently, memorize the words, then burn it. "We leave in five minutes," he called back over his shoulder as he disappeared into the bathroom. Tonight was the night—the night history would repeat itself, the night the Order would once again convene.

"Dumbledore said he finalized the member list on Thursday," he continued as the other listed to him with one ear, half-dozing on the davenport. It was almost half past ten, and he'd already put in a full day's work at the muggle bookstore down the street—restocking shelves, cleaning the display windows, and other relatively mindless but nonetheless tiring tasks. They'd both been more or less keeping a low profile since Sirius had resurfaced, but at least Remus could earn some income in human form. Dogs were not, generally speaking, employable.

"Um, right" Remus replied as he roused himself enough to take a glimpse at his reflection in the front hall mirror. Neither here nor there, but it would have to do. "Did he say how many there'd be total?" He'd long since given up trying to look his best for the sake of first impressions. After all, what's the point of excessive primping and preening if the target audience will never see you looking so good again? 'No matter,' he thought as he ran a hand though his rumpled hair. 'Sirius's abolitions would, no doubt, suffice for us both.'

"Haven't a clue. We'll see in a minute." He returned to the living room looking more like the tastefully disheveled young man Remus remembered ('Jus how had he managed to buy new clothes as a dog?') than the haunted-eyed fugitive who'd dropped back into his life the year before. "Did you burn that parchment?"

With a half-smile Remus casually flicked the paper into the air, and it incinerated in a puff of blue flame. Sirius, well-versed in his friend's tricks, merely raised an eyebrow. "Show-off."

When they disapparated into the alley across from the old Black family home, the narrow space was already surprisingly crowded. "Hey ow." "Watch it." "Who just kicked me?" "Move over some, will you?" Disembodied protests drifted out of the artificial darkness, and if Remus squinted, he could just barely make out the fuzzy outline of half a dozen other people jostling each other for space as they waited for the Order's leader to arrive.

"Remus, is that you?" Judging by the voice, the elbow digging into his ribcage bellowed to one Molly Weasley. "Quiet. He'll be here any moment," an unfamiliar voice behind them scolded.

And then he was. Somehow theu all sensed it, and though Remus couldn't see more than an inch from his face, he could almost picture the headmaster's smile in the dark. A moment later his face was illuminated by a softly-glowing wand, and he turned toward Sirius, eyes conveying some sort of unspoken question, to which the latter nodded firmly.

What they witnessed that night standing silently shoulder to shoulder in the dark, was something most wizards could only pull off in their dreams. The fidaelous charm.

And somehow, as the magic cascaded like endless yards of glittering golden thread from the tip of Dumbledore's wand and enveloped all present in an indescribable warmth, it all looked effortless. And perhaps for him it was.

Sirius took the lead as they crept inside No. 12 Grimmauld Place in ones and twos. The muggles were oblivious, of course. As they passed across the doorstep, they could hear the telly blaring loudly from the second story of the house to the left. Inside, Sirius's place was a decrepit, disgusting mess. After years of neglect, the walls were draped with thick cobwebs, and dust like dirty snow coated every surface. There had been time in his youth when Remus would have given anything to see where Sirius lived—a 'real´ old family establishment—it was only ironic, he thought, that his footsteps were now echoing along its dirty, abandoned halls.

"…oh, and that's the room I always hated. Too much snobbish self-promotion, never enough common sense..." Sirius's voice drifted back over the group as they followed meekly in his wake, kicking up dust with their shoes and trying not to sneeze. They all assumed he knew were he was going.

At some point Remus fallen to the back of the group, and as he tore his eyes away from his surroundings, a certain flash of color bobbed before him. Deja vu. Well, almost. Yes, definitely that same semi-familiar head of hair—but pink now instead of violet.

Following a haphazard house-tour (only because Sirius rejected room after room they came upon), the group finally settled in the living room—not because it was any cleaner than the rest of the house. It simply had the most seating. In the end, though, half the Order remained standing against the walls rather than try their luck with the mismatched pieces of faded furniture. Remus rested his head against the wall between Sirius and the oversized granite fireplace, hands in his pockets, every now and then stifling a yawn. He figured iIt would have been all too easy to fall asleep if he'd sat down.

She was on the opposite side of the room between Mad-Eye Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt, her attention fully devoted to Dumbledore who had launched into introductions. 'But surely,' Remus thought to himself, 'her gaze would trace around the room's circumference as Dumbledore introduced the members.'

"Next we have Nymphadora Tonks, one of the Ministry's brightest new Aurors." As Dumbledore moved on to the next member, Remus met her eyes briefly as she glanced hesitantly back at the other members, but there was no trace of recognition, no indication that she recalled their brief exchange a year and a half ago. 'Of course,' Remus mused as the introductions continued, 'there was no reason why she should have.'

The meeting concluded in under twenty minutes—It seemed that no one wanted to inhale the dust for longer than absolutely necessary because when Dumbledore asked if there were any questions, not voice was raised. "Well, that should do it for tonight," he stated with a sideways glance at the grandfather clock. "It's late, and I know some of you have work tomorrow." Several heads nodded in agreement. "From this night forward, only members of this group will be able find this building. Please discreet when you arrive and depart. I will see you here at 4pm on Sunday."

One by one, two by two the Order departed until only a handful of were left. The "clean up crew" as Dumbledore had put it. They had until Sunday to make the place livable.

Sirius and Remus had retired to the dinning room and were staring absentmindedly at each other from across the once-elegant table, neither wanting to embark on any major cleaning projects at quarter to 11pm. The former traced spirals in the dust with his little finger while the latter half-closed his eyes and tried half-heartedly to remember a cleaning spell that would render one of the living room chairs safe for sleeping. With the two Weasleys still banging around in the kitchen next door, neither of them realized that they had company.

Sirius was the first to see her hovering hesitantly behind Remus's chair like a pale ghost in the doorway. "Nymphadora." His face lit up, and there was something about his smile that the other couldn't quite place.

She corrected him as if on instinct. "Just Tonks." And he laughed guardedly, as if sharing some kind of long-lost inside joke.

"Remus," he said in a tone usually reserved for recounting adventures, "let me introduce you to perhaps the only other sane member of my deranged family tree—Nymphadora Tonks, the metamorphmagus, my cousin, also known as Tonks."

She cringed almost unperceivable as though afraid he'd say something more revealing. That and she never quite met Sirius's eyes. He pretended not to notice. "And this, my dear Tonks, is the one and only Remus Lupin, old friend and Marauder extraordinaire. Also known as Moony."

"Moony?" she asked with curiosity. Remus no idea how much she knew, how much she'd been told about him, or worse read in the Prophet. It was too late in the evening to think clearly.

"It's a long story…" he quickly replied to preempt further questions. "…one probably better for another time." She took the hint and nodded as if in agreement, her eyes carefully trained on anything but her cousin to her left.

Sirius must have sensed this too because after a minute or two of awkward silence, he hurriedly pushed his chair away from the table and announced in a voice too loud for the space, "I think I'll see if there's anything eatable in the kitchen." He left the other two alone in the semi-darkness, two strangers with little in common and nothing particular to do.

Remus sighed, half out of nervousness, half out of frustration—'so typically Sirius'—and fished around for a question, any question, to break the ice between them. But coherent thoughts were elusive, and any semblance of whit escaped him. Eventually, he simply smiled and said with an apologetic shrug, "Well, shall we get to work?"

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Endnotes: There, that's it. Chapter two. Slightly longer than the
previous chapter. Some parts I really like, others I'm not entirely
satisfied with. But you win some, you lose some... Thanks against
to everyone who's read this. It's my first foray into the world of
HP FF, and I have to say that it's been enjoyable so far. Onward
and upward [m

Supplemental Note: This is the last revision of the old content.
Hopefully I will begin writing where I left off… I've had at least half
the story planned out on paper collecting dust beneath my bed for
the past two months. Blah.

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Next Up: Orchestra of Blue the movie outtakes. Written for no particular reason especially–perhaps just to prove that I can write humor too…
[10.31.07

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