AN: Thanks to respitechristopher who pointed out problems in the original posting. I have made a few changes and hope they work better…. thanks. Only now, I want to do the whole back story...
Disclaimer: Not mine.
The Witch with One Name
"I don't what him in here I tell you, now you get rid of him or I will set him out myself."
Rosmerta glared at Aberforth with her hands resting on her ample hips and her foot tapping in time with the drops hitting the window. "It's raining, have you noticed?"
"Don't care," he said. "They came in, they go out."
"They used the floo old man. I won't kick them out to the storm. When its over I will have them out, until then you bite your tongue and keep still."
Rosmerta picked up the tray full of warm Butter Beers and carried it to the table full of Sixth Years that sat leaning over the table whispering together.
"You should be down at the Broomsticks not in here." She slammed the tray down on the table and smirked as they all jumped and looked up at her meekly. "You know the rules Black. I've warned you about this before, you can come to my place but stay out of here."
"Once, just that once you caught me in here," he said silkily, as he pouted at her though his thick lashes.
"Don't you go acting all sweet and innocent boys. And you," she said turning to Peter, "I seem to remember having a conversation with you about being in here after curfew. Told you not to cone back I did."
"Seems you are down here quite a bit yourself," he smirked then looked around the table for the approving grins that he knew would follow.
"That's no matter of yours. When it stops raining you can come down to the Broomsticks with me, but you don't come back in here."
She ruffled the head of the young wizard sitting closest to her and saw his golden flecked eyes turn up to her. "I have work for you today. You hear?"
Sirius watched her as she walked away, her skirt swaying in the rhythm of her walk and her heels clicking on the floor. "Merlin Moony, she can rub my head any time she wants."
"Shut up Pads, she's just friendly is all. She lets me earn spending money."
"Yeah, I would like to be friendly with her."
"Get off it, she would eat you up and spit you out. Anyway, she lets us sit in her place, not like some others." Peter laughed. "Although why she picked you Moony, is beyond me."
"I should go." Remus looked back at the bar to see Aberforth glare at him. "Rains letting up anyway."
"Letting up? Can't even see across the street." Sirius lifted his head to peer out the dirty glass in the door. "Shite Moony, you can't go out there yet. You can't swim, least at this time of the month."
Remus dug in his pocket and found his coin for the butter beer, laying it on the table and looking again at Aberforth. "Nah, really guys, I'll meet you down there in a bit. I think I best leave. Ya know?"
Rosmerta grabbed his arm just as he was opening the door and pulled him to the floo. Throwing a couple of sickles in the box she drew out a handful of powder and threw it down as she pulled Remus in with her, shouting out "The Three Broomsticks" loud and clear.
"Costs as much for one as for two." She pushed him out into the Inn while she brushed off her skirt. "Now you tell me what the bloody hell you thought, going to the Hogs Head?"
"I … umm… well, I just…"
"Just didn't think, that's the truth of it."
"I guess not."
"You guess." She rolled her eyes at him. "Listen Lupin, you have to start standing up and just flat out saying no when they want you to do something you know is wrong."
"Why is it wrong for me to …?"
"You know why young man, don't pull that weepy eyed shite with me." She shook her head and stomped off toward the kitchen. "Well? You eating or just pouting?"
Remus shoved his hands in his pockets and started following her to the kitchen grinning as he watched her backside sway, remembering how Padfoot liked to watch her walk. He climbed up on the stool she kept at the end of her worktable and waited until she slid over a bowl of stew to him.
"What do you need done today?" he asked between bites.
"I have two loose shutters upstairs. You can wait until it stops raining or see if you can spell it though the glass. The guests are complaining."
"That all?" He poked at the stew frowning.
"No, you can carry up the bottles from the cellar. Magic doesn't mix well with soda drinks."
"That's why they taste flat down in Diagon sometimes."
"What are you doing in the Alley?" She turned and glared at him.
"Just went a couple of times."
"We need to talk Remus," she sighed loudly.
"Ah, Rosie. I know I shouldn't have gone there but everyone else was."
"Just like today? They tell you what to do and you do it? You call me Rosie again and I cut your gizzard out."
"We just stopped in today to… well I guess to get Aberforth going." He admitted with a shrug.
"I know, but Aberforth thinks you are… different. Now, maybe that is wrong and maybe he shouldn't but that's the way of it. Just you be glad he hasn't spread it around."
"It's hard. Ya know?"
"I know Lupin, trust me. I know all about different. Not for the same reason, and not for the rest of my life, least ways I hope not, but I think I know the feeling."
"Yeah, right," he said sarcastically with a roll of his eyes.
Rosmerta put her hands flat on the table and stared at him wondering how much his Mum had told him. She glanced back at a picture over the table and then to him. She knew his illness brought a maturity that his friends could not understand and tried to gage just how much he knew and would be able to forgive for not being told. She silently cursed his Mum for thinking he was better off not knowing.
"Remus, right now you are young and usually go places with your friends, but a time will come when you won't have them around you, to protect you. A time will come when things you think you know about people will be turned on its ear."
"I don't want them to protect me," Remus began to anger. "I can take care of my self."
"No, Lupin. You cannot. Not if you are in the wrong place, alone, with no one to tell what happened." Rosmerta laid her hand over his and lifted his chin with her other. "Promise me Remus. So help me Merlin I will floo your Mum and make you take a wizard oath the second the clock strikes on your birthday if I catch you at this again. Should have done it before, and I will bloody hell do it now."
"You worry too much." He grinned at her with that lopsided grin that made her want to break his neck.
"Gods, you haven't listened to a word I've told you in the past four years what makes me think you will listen now."
"Rosmerta? How did you know about, well you know, I never told you?"
"That's my story young man." She winked at him and grinned. "Enough to say I recognized something in you. Then, that day your Mum came here and had lunch with you, your first week at Hogwarts I was sure."
"No, not in words." Rosmerta looked at him and remembered his mother's tearful smile. "Just the way she treated you reminded me of the way my… my friend's Mum treated him."
"Is he still around. I mean in Hogsmeade?"
"No, but even if he were I could not tell you that." She frowned at him. "I still see some of his friends from time to time. Can I tell them you would like to meet them?"
Remus looked down at the empty bowl and shook his head. "No, I don't think I want anyone else to know. It's fine that the ones that know are okay with it, but … I am not sure I want it out there for everyone."
"I think maybe it would do you good to meet them. Sort of show there is no reason to walk around like a whipped puppy all the time. You need to grow a backbone boy." She reached over and ruffled his hair again. "Now get to the shutters or you owe me for lunch."
She watched as he ran upstairs taking the steps two at a time and shook her head wondering if she should floo his parents as she had all those years ago when she had found their first son. She had promised Marcus to keep his secrete that morning she had found him out back, naked and bloody after escaping from whatever place he hid in once a month. She had healed his cuts and clothed him, then let him stay until the time came when his leaving scared her more than his staying.
She looked up at the unmoving picture over the kitchen table she had pushed in the corner and thought that after all these years she missed him still. The same amber flecks in his eyes, the same lopsided grin, and the same fear lurking in the corners of his mind had been in him as it was now in his younger brother. She thought of how Marcus used to rage against unjust treatment and beliefs in the old stories. She ran the back of her hand over her eyes to rid them of tears as she quickly looked around to make sure the boy was not watching then made her decision.
"Lupin," she called up the stairs. "Leave the shutters. It is still raining too hard. Just get the sodas up."
"I tried." He came running down the stairs, hitting his heels on the bare wood and sending vibrations though the entire building.
"Lupin, do you take lessons on being noisy?"
"Yeah," he laughed at her look. "I'll get those sodas."
"No, leave them. With all this rain, I won't need them for a while. Bring up the butter beers instead."
Rosmerta nodded her head toward the open the cellar door. "To the bottom and the right this time. Back up against the wall. Careful now, you break you buy. You know the rules."
"Got it." He started hitting his heels on the cellar steps then looking over his shoulder at her, grinned and walked down silently.
Rosmerta turned and leaned her arms on the counter, lowered her head, and took deep breaths. She hoped she was doing the right thing. She sat on the stool he had used for his lunch and listened to his footfalls as they came slowly back up the stairs.
He walked into the kitchen empty handed and looked at her, his eyes large and unblinking.
"You? Are you…?"
"No, you know better then that. Don't you think you would know by know if I were?"
"Then who? Who did you hide down there?"
"Marcus?" he asked, his voice uncertain and low. "My… my bro… my Marcus?"
"Yes. It's why your Mum felt comfortable here, why she brought you here for lunch. She wanted me to see who you were." Rosmerta took a deep breath and willed her stomach not to roll. "She came here the first time to show me what to do for Marcus, how to handle him, and to explain it to me."
"I don't remember him you know. They never talked about him. I mean, I know he existed, I just don't remember him at all."
"He stayed away when you were born. He was sixteen, and scared he would hurt you. That was before Albus knew about your family. I guess after your Mum saw what happened with him she knew what to do better with you. The healers and all, and she plead with Albus until he found a way to let you in."
"He came here? To you? My brother…Marcus I mean."
"Not for a while. He was around twenty I think when we… when I first met him. I only knew him at the end. A little over three years."
"When did he, you know, and how?"
"When were you bit? Fernier heard he died and then went after you. Your brother was punishment to your father, so when Marcus was gone he went for you."
"Seven years ago. He died seven years ago?"
"Yes." She forced herself to sit still and look at him calmly, hiding her trembling hands in her lap where she twisted the folds of fabric around them.
"Did he, you know, did he … how did he …?"
"He went out to Little Hangleton, to visit some friends."
"He went alone?"
She looked at him and licked her lips, closed her eyes and saw him as they had brought him back to her and thrown him on the back steps laughing and kicking his body. She thought of how no one wanted to help her bury him, he was cursed they said. He had lived cursed and he would be buried with the cursed. She had to travel as far a Knockturn Alley to get help, and finally lay him to rest. After that, she had turned the open sign back to closed in the front window and spent the next month in tears and drunk each day as it turned to night and the memory of Marcus' face would not leave her.
She opened her now wet eyes and looked at him, and nodded to his question.
"You need to promise me to do what I said." She looked up at the picture hanging over the table. "He was dead when they brought him home so I didn't get to yell at him. But I swear by Merlin's beard boy, if you keep this up and make me bury you too I will skin you alive."
Remus looked at her and tried to grin at her attempted joke.
"I need to go." He stood and looked to the window, seeing the rain falling just as hard as it was earlier.
"I need to get out of here," he said in a rush.
"Go, you can fix the shutters next time." She stood and picked up her knife to start chopping the vegetables again. "Remus? Remember he left home to protect you because he cared. He didn't want you to know, he was … I don't know, maybe ashamed."
"Mum and Dad, they never…"
"No fault there boy. It was hard for them to talk to it." Rosmerta narrowed her eyes at him. "He was proud of you."
He nodded, shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at her nervously, his eyes filling with his own tears. "Rosmerta?"
"Make it good boy, you can see I'm busy."
"I've never heard your last name." He almost whispered his question as if the answer would be a betrayal of all he had known.
She looked up, smirked at him and then lowered her head down again to continue her work. She knew if she said anything to him the hurt in her chest would rise like a balloon and explode. She heard his footfalls hurry down the hall, and the door open and close before she looked back up and found herself alone.
"Lupin," she said softly as her tears found their way over her cheek. "Same as you boy."
I have recently been working on Rosmerta. She is really an interesting character. So much is known of her, and so much left unsaid. I find it strange that although she was in several books as a minor character she never had a last name. Sort of begs a story.