You Were Never Like This
Chapter 13 - News in Haslemere
Remus Lupin woke up with the sun in his face. He groaned and reached over to where his brandy would be, but after several minutes of useful groping, he gave up. He attempted to open his eyes and was rewarded by being blinded. It took a few moments to blink out the colourful spots dancing in front of him. The red curtains mocked him by being speckled with green for short while.
He made a mental note to buy a new couch. The grumpy old thing growled if anything was spilt on it and often tried to be as uncomfortable as possible. Right now it was shaking slightly, as if it was suppressing uncontrollable laughter.
Remus glared at it then dared a look at the rest of the room. For some reason, it seemed neater than usual, the cluttered books and parchment in a neat arrangement against the wall. He noticed that the fire from last night had reduced to a few smoking ashes and glowing embers, orange and venomous. Near to the dying glow, damp clothing hung over a conjured rope.
And he could smell bacon and eggs from the kitchen.
The professor fought down the grumble his stomach complained with. He could also hear a soft warbling from the radio perched above the sink. He was about to walk into the kitchen, reflecting on the peacefulness when suddenly the music picked up and the person cooking started singing.
"Oh, God no, Shamari," he moaned as he entered.
Witherspoon was in her blue silk pajamas and was dancing around with a mop. The song was definitely dated back to the seventies and with a pang, Remus remembered it was the song they had danced to at the sixth year dance a scant hour before he had bitten her. Seeing the look on his face, she grabbed his hand and smiled at him. "Dance with me."
Shamari tossed aside the mop and roped her arms around him. His struggles subsided after a moment, as he attempted to maneuver himself over to the radio to turn it off. Witherspoon picked this up and made sure they skidded off in the other direction.
"Are you going to start singing again?" Lupin demanded, a slight smile tweaking his lips. "Or shall I rescue the poor kitchen by hitting the radio off?"
She laughed, shaking her head. Instead, she turned her face up to his and they kissed. Ignored, the radio crooned out the time and then drifted into another song.
Remus inspected the somewhat burnt bacon, while throwing out what remained of the eggs out the window. The stove was a lost cause, heaving and spewing as much as it could. He attempted to encourage the smoke to waft outside, but only ended up with a load of soot in his hair. Shamari walked past, a duster in her hand. "Remmie, much as the new style suits you, I don't want you walking burnt bacon all over my house."
"Your house?" Lupin wanted to know. "Since when has Moony's Hole been your house?"
She paused as she passed and kiss him on the nose. "Since you invited me."
Remus fixed his hair up with his wand and then the kitchen. Outside, the sun beamed down onto trees glistening with dew and pride. Realising he was still hungry and on a breakfast schedule not to be ignored, he made up his mind to go to the village nearby. Grinning, he walked quietly into the living room and seized Shamari around the waist.
"Remus Lupin! Put me down this instant!"
"Not if you want breakfast," he informed her lightly.
Witherspoon groaned and wriggled out of his grasp, reaching for her wand. "I didn't mean to burn breakfast, you know. If you can fix me up something better than anything I could make, I'll...I'm not sure what I'll do, but for now, you should settle with NOT walking any more soot in here."
The nearby village of Haslemere had the appearance of a great many houses thrown into a shaggy line crisscrossing in and out of countryside and trees. The cobble-stoned street was a labyrinth of weeds cracks and puddles with a nauseating aroma. Shamari eyed the inn dubiously, "How could that possibly make anything sanitary?"
"The beer's okay," Remus said without thinking, earning a light slap on the shoulder.
He shifted in his coat guiltily, quickly overcoming this when she laughed outright at his expense. He pushed open the door and stepped in, Shamari shaking out her long blonde hair. The barman was dozing against a chair, a cleaning cloth from last night still clutched in his hand. This one hadn't made it to bed the night before, obviously. When the door shut with a muffled thump, he jumped up, knocking several mouldy glasses to the floor.
Invariably shattered, they failed to slice opens his fingers as he deftly picked them up in fragments, turning to his customers, "So you're back. The usual I assume?"
"Uh, no," Lupin said, shooting a look at Shamari. "The Breakfast Special please, Mitch."
Mitch's violent grey storm of hair bounced as he floundered behind the bar, disappearing through a narrow door. Remus found himself a seat and plonked himself right down. His companion, however, gingerly perched on the each of hers as if expecting it to collapse. He was already pulling out a newspaper and pouring over the front page with concern.
When Shamari recognised the paper by moving pictures on the back in the sports section, she snatched it away, demanding, "Do you want Muggles to know everything about us? Jesus Christ, Remus! If I didn't know any better I'd say you'd hacked into your liquor ear..."
The words died on her lips as she scanned the headline. She paled, her eyes narrowing as she read the article. Off set to it was a picture of a ransacked lobby.
MINISTRY OF MAGIC ATTACKED
You-Know-Who has ended the short silence, writes Bathilda Bagshot, best- selling spell book author and journalist. In a statement early this morning made by Assistant to the Minister (Percy Weasley), the rumours that the Ministry of Magic was attacked last night have been confirmed. The attack was short lived, as Professor Dumbledore's highly commended Order of the Phoenix was luckily on scene in now fewer than fifteen minutes.
Several Department members have made their concerns over having no immediate Minster elected known to the Assistant, but apparently there have been no answers. Perhaps the wizarding public should be a little anxious in the times of acting Minister P. Weasley. He has made no moves to build up security in the Ministry or certain important buildings.
After a short statement, P. Weasley was not available for comment, though several Aurors have come forward decreeing that their numbers be raised and the Assistant to let the departments find a suitable Minister.
"Weasley..." Muttered Shamari, brow creased in concentration. "He has a brother in his seventh year of Hogwarts, unless I'm mistaken. Ronald Weasley, the Head Boy."
At that moment, Mitch came scurrying out, two plates balanced precariously from one hand. The other held two empty glasses. He put the items down, sliding a jug of orange juice into the centre of the table, smiling at Witherspoon's disgust. "It's not poisonous, m'dear. Only liberal amounts of salt."
He then scuttled away back to quickly cleaning tables. Remus folded the Daily Prophet in half, frowning. "Percy Weasley is making himself a great deal of enemies. No good will come of this debating within the Ministry. If something isn't done soon, it'll be a repeat of the Beauxbatons Massacre last year."
Shamari Witherspoon soon discovered that there was some organization to the haphazard village. On one side there were houses and on the other, shops. Hand in hand with Remus, she strolled the road idly, wondering what each and every Hogwarts student was doing. She supposed she knew what some were doing more than others...being in acquaintance with more than a couple parents.
And knowing wasn't exactly comforting as she ponder why she knew. Shamari looked sideways at Lupin who was still deep in thought over Percy Weasley, no doubt. He couldn't possibly know what she was going through. She told herself it was because he wouldn't take it too well. Maybe it was her own stupidity; maybe it was just that she wasn't on his side.
She cursed mentally the day she'd gone to Voldemort.