Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: FoM :: 05 :: Incomplete

05 • Incomplete

29 August 2000

Once the letter had been sent off, Chase was having a little trouble deciding what to do with himself for the day. He had already gone over his lesson plans and had things set for when the students arrived, though that wouldn’t be for two more days, and even then, classes would not start for several more. He was sitting at the kitchen table eating when a knock startled him out of his thoughts.

He set his sandwich down and headed for the front door, wondering what Hagrid wanted, and was surprised to see that it was Remus waiting outside. “Come in, please,” he said, stepping back to make room. “An unexpected pleasure, I assure you.”

“Is it?” Remus asked cryptically.

“I was in the middle of a snack. Would you care to join me?”

“Sure.”

Chase wandered back to the kitchen and waved Remus to a seat, then asked, “Hungry or thirsty? It’s no trouble.”

Remus eyed the partially eaten sandwich, then looked up and said, “That would be nice, actually.”

“Is cider all right, or would you prefer something non-alcoholic?” he asked as he headed for the refrigerator and opened it, pulling out a plate of sandwiches that Dobby had made earlier.

“Cider is fine, thank you.”

“Aberforth sent me a crate,” he supplied, then turned back. After placing everything on the table he resumed his seat and picked up his sandwich.

“Albus’s brother?”

Chase nodded. “Down at the Hog’s Head. I’ll have to remember to get some roses before my next visit,” he said with a slight grin, then bit into his sandwich.

Remus pulled a sandwich over for himself and gave him a curious look. “How do you know him? If that’s not a rude question, that is.”

“He was my neighbor in Cleave for several years. A little odd, but whatever. It just makes him more interesting.”

“Roses?”

“Stella adores them, so I try to remember that. Aberforth insists that she only eats flower petals, but I think most people know better.” He smirked, then had another bite of his sandwich.

“I see. So, you’ve never met a werewolf before, even having worked for the Ministry?”

Chase shook his head. “It’s not like werewolves are beasts, right? I mean, I know it’s got to be difficult. I can’t imagine, though, what you must go through. Anyway, no, it was more like responding to reports of problems. Mind you, there seem to be an awful lot of people convinced that they have a bunyip problem.”

Remus gave a slight shrug, then said, “Are you feeling prepared for the coming year? I was a bit nervous when I came here to teach the one year, but it turned out all right.”

“I think I’ll be okay. Hagrid has shown me everything, and Dobby has been very kind in helping me to learn the layout of the castle. The parts I need to know, at least. So long as I can find my way to the staff room and the Great Hall. . . .”

Remus chuckled. “That’s one way to look at it. Meetings are boring, though, I’ll warn you.”

They talked of general things until they were finished eating, then Chase invited Remus into the living room so they could be seated more comfortably. And, it became quickly apparent that Remus was not exactly a shy person.

“I expect that you don’t really have any friends here aside from Aberforth,” he remarked.

“No, though I think Hagrid and I are getting on well enough. Still, it is a bit lonely, and Filch isn’t my idea of someone to chat up, either.”

Remus broke into an amused smile. “I can’t imagine why.”

Chase smirked. “Well, maybe I’m just not seeing his more sterling qualities and I should give him more of a chance. Still, I’ve been fairly busy, and it’s only just been recently that the staff returned to the castle. I feel a bit out of place. Everyone sounds wrong, the water goes the wrong way, it’s the wrong season. . . .” He shook his hair back and shrugged. “I’m sure things will get better over time, and I just need to be patient.”

“No one has come down from the castle to chat?”

Chase shook his head. “I guess I’m not offended. I mean, they’ve got to be busy just getting back and all. Though, I do wonder who I’ll end up sitting next to at the head table.”

“Hagrid, most likely, though as he sits at the end generally, I’m not sure who else. Most of the staff are quite nice, though I expect you may have some troubles with Severus.”

“I got the impression that he’s . . . quite cautious. And, does not suffer fools gladly.”

Remus laughed softly. “You could say that, yes. So tell me, what is it you think I can teach you?”

Chase blinked, then grinned. “No idea, actually. But you seem like a pretty straightforward kind of man, and I appreciate that sort of thing. I thought it was very appealing that you simply up and made your affliction known to me.”

“Appealing?”

“Well, sure. I’m going to assume it means you’re an honest person. Besides, it’s better to get over any shocks at the outset, for me at least.”

“You didn’t exactly appear shocked,” Remus pointed out.

“Maybe not. But then, it isn’t as though you can help it. And if you have access to Wolfsbane, then what’s to worry about? If not, I’m sure you have a safe place to transform.” Chase gave a slight shrug and smiled, then asked, “Is there anyone else on staff I should be concerned about?”

“The only person might be Blaise. He can be tough to read at times, but he’s an all right guy. Considering that he’s our body within Ethos, he has to be a bit taciturn. Aside from that, I think it’s mainly that most of the staff is a lot older than you appear to be.”

“Yeah.” Chase sighed and let his gaze drift off to the side.

“Does that bother you?”

Chase looked back and pursed his lips briefly. “Only to the extent that I wonder just how much I could have in common with any of them. Well, aside from that one obvious point. I guess it doesn’t matter. I’m here to do a job, not find myself a mate, though I guess the one doesn’t preclude the other.”

“It sounds like you get on with Aberforth well.”

“Well, sure, but he’s just . . . so appealingly quirky. I don’t see how anyone could ever be bored in their company, him and Stella. He’s forever reminding her that nibbling on various things will spoil her appetite.”

Remus laughed.

“In fact, not long after we got acquainted, he brought me a gift one day, a gardening catalogue. When I looked at it a bit later I found he’d circled everything Stella especially liked. As it turned out, she spent a lot of time in my yard decimating my flowerbeds over the years.”

Remus laughed again and said, “Sounds like quite a character. I never really did get to spend much time around him in the past, and then he just up and left one day.”

“Yeah, well, I found him. Shame, though. If he were a century younger, I might be interested. Still, I’m glad he’s just down the road to talk to. I think I’d be feeling really lost if he’d stayed Down Under.”

Remus gave him a faintly quizzical look. “Interested?”

Chase smiled lazily and nodded. “Well, sure. Like I said, it would never be boring. I certainly had enough of boring at the Ministry.” He paused and looked around the room, then sighed. “I really need to unpack my library. Well, what I brought with me. I left most of it at the house. I just hope Jonas doesn’t throw any wild parties and destroy any of them accidentally.”

“Jonas?”

“The bloke I let my house to. Worked at the Ministry with me. He dragged me off bar hopping a few times before I put my foot down and refused to go anymore. If I’m lucky the worst he’ll do is haul a succession of sheilas through the house in an attempt to christen all of the rooms.” He chuckled and brushed his hair back.

Remus coughed slightly. “So what’s, er, Cleave like, then?”

Chase explained about the town he had lived in, which eventually shifted focus to the atmosphere there, and any number of other things that cropped up as their conversation went off on tangents every so often. It wasn’t until the sun had begun to set that he had any idea of what time it was, at which point he blinked in surprise and activated the lights.

“You know, you’re welcome to stay for dinner, but I know from what Hermione said that you live with that Sirius bloke, so he might get worried about you.”

“Sirius?” Remus chuckled and shook his head. “Perhaps, but he certainly used to disappear on me on a regular basis back in the day. Of course, I never did understand his taste in women.”

“To each his own, I suppose. You’re welcome to stay, any road. I’ve really been enjoying myself. You’re incredibly easy to talk to.”

“I think you are as well. Yes, actually, I would like to stay. It’s been some time since . . . I’ve lost track of the time like this, simply talking.”

“Great.” Chase flashed Remus a smile, then said, “Let’s go look in the kitchen, then, and decide if I need to call Dobby or not. In some ways I’m as peculiar as Stella. I’ll eat almost anything, but I usually stick to fruit and veg if left to my own devices.”

On arrival in the kitchen, Remus poked around and proclaimed that he was perfectly content with the idea of a salad along with some fresh cobs and butter, so Chase went ahead and mixed up the salad while Remus took care of the rest.

He had thought it was slightly odd the way Remus had paused in expressing his acceptance, and wondered if he had intended to say one thing, but had thought better of it. He mentally shrugged it off as he placed the plates on the table and took a seat, then reached for some of the bread. As he was buttering it he queried Remus on his taste in music, and that discussion took them right through dinner.

31 August 2000

Chase was a more than a little shocked and surprised when the Daily Prophet revealed that his father had reacted very fast indeed to his latest missive. That in turn made him wonder just exactly where Voldemort’s headquarters was that he would have received the letter so quickly. He would have to raise that question with Albus.

Lucius Malfoy, often accused of being a loyal supporter of Voldemort, was arrested late last evening during an attempt on the life of staff writer and photographer Colin Creevey.

When questioned, it was revealed that Mr Malfoy has been bribing the main editor for years (see Editorial Scandal for more information), and that the incident occurred during one of their clandestine meetings.

Mr Creevey, who professes to have been curious as to why Malfoy was entering the premises at such a late hour, and who was on a break from developing photographs taken earlier that day, barely escaped the confrontation with his life.

It was only due to the fact that Aurors patrolling Diagon Alley noticed the fight that Creevey remains alive, and that Malfoy was incarcerated. Rumor has it that Malfoy has already been taken to Azkaban for his use of Unforgivables, as verified by a standard check of his wand.

While Chase was very pleased that no one had actually died, he found it inordinately amusing that Colin Creevey was involved, and that such a shutterbug had actually managed to secure a position at the Daily Prophet. He also thought it was interesting that Lucius had, apparently, been quite skillfully set up, though there was no mention of anyone having received an anonymous tip. He would not have been surprised, however, had Voldemort sent Lucius off with another bribe, then made sure Colin would be there to set things off, and possibly even the Aurors.

Chase tucked the paper under his arm and wandered off to find Albus. On locating him, he strolled over casually with a slight smile on his face and said, “A very interesting story in today’s paper, don’t you think?”

Albus peered at him over the rims of his spectacles for a moment.

“Apparently, something I said recently had some rather pleasing results, if I’m not mistaken. Perhaps we could go talk?”

Albus nodded and turned, so Chase followed him up to his office, and then up to the cupola. After he had conjured himself and chair and taken a seat Chase grinned and said, “It seems that dear old dad is willing to be reasonable, so far. Considering how well it went previously, this time I requested that Lucius end up in Azkaban. I find it improbable that this is coincidental, Albus.”

He paused a second, then said, “I’m sorry. I really ought to have made copies of those letters before I sent them. I’m just not used to. . . .”

Albus shook his head and smiled. “An understandable oversight, I imagine. Though I would certainly be happy to see any others which you decide to send.”

Chase nodded and said, “Any road, I requested that Lucius go down, though I didn’t specify how. I picked him because of that whole diary thing back in the day. Besides, I’m not above feeling a bit of vindictive pleasure at finally seeing the man get something coming to him. What strikes me, though, is how quickly it happened. I sent the letter out two days ago, after all. I suppose the last time it could have taken more time for a response just because dear old dad was understandably shocked at hearing from me and needed to do some verification, but this time? It makes me wonder just how close is his headquarters is.”

“An interesting question, I allow, and a somewhat revealing point. I shall have to consider just how far the average owl can travel in that time period. Have you any idea of what you will make as your next move?”

Chase shook his head. “Not a clue at the moment. I’m certainly happy for any suggestions you might have. Still, I have to wonder.”

“About?”

“Well, what happens if I get through to him? Let’s say he decides to step down. What does that actually mean, Albus? Does that equate to him performing a mass slaughter of his own people, then retiring to a quiet cottage in the country so he can garden for the remaining half of his life?”

“Another interesting question. I find it highly improbable that Voldemort would allow himself to be placed in Azkaban, though I suppose it might be possible that he would arrange for his power base to end up there given his reactions thus far.”

Incomplete Chapter