Something tells me that things will get worse before they get better. Actually, I think it was your earlier warning that cautioned me. The meeting with Snape, Dumbledore, and McGonagall was interesting. Severus tries so hard to act uncaring. I'm beginning to think he likes being put in that hero or lifesaver mode. Strange that the man Remus counseled at St. Mungo's would be the person he has to fear the most at the moment. My favorite part was the interaction between the Dowager and the children during story telling. I really envy her skills. There's nothing like a true talent for creative story telling. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Life is full of little, unintended ironies, isn’t it? I so wanted to contrast the choices that Remus has made (despite society’s limitations) with those of other werewolves.
The Dowager is one of those people, like Remus, who does not talk down to children – something which all children seem to instinctively love. Wish I had her gift for improvisation myself.
Can’t disclose any more without ruining the suspense…
Thanks for the warning on the last two chapters in this section. If it doesn't involve Remus or Tonks dying, maybe I won't be upset, but I will tread warily. I was glad that Remus and Harry spent time remembering Sirius. That must have meant a lot to Harry. I loved that Remus was given a nickname and a nickname that seemed so appropriate. The Dowager seems to possess some interesting information. I can see the wheels turning in Remus' head. I hope some of this information helps ease some of his fears and takes him back to Tonks. Great chapter:) I find I have to concentrate when I read your work which is good. So, not only are you an excellent author but my vocabulary probably increases:)
Author's Response: Harry’s unquestioned acceptance means a lot to Remus as well. I played off the part in HPB where he first turns down Arthur’s offer of an eggnog on Christmas Eve, but when Harry asserts that Remus just as normal as everyone else, Remus reconsiders and accepts the cup from Arthur.
Remus has turned out to be a true teacher all around. I’ve expanded my own vocabulary in order to properly voice his thoughts.
I cannot believe that Remus did not go to visit Tonks!! That's just outrageous. I thought she was expecting him. I don't care what he overheard in the conversation. I thought that was all to lead Rosmerta to a different conclusion so she wouldn't expect Remus to be visiting. Despite my feelings of outrage, this was a great chapter:)
Author's Response: Yes, indeedy, Remus gets cold feet (literally) once again. And Tonks will take him to task over it, you can bet on that. But in his defense, it would be too big a risk to blow his cover by sending a message to Tonks – both their lives would be at stake. Just as in real life, things have a tendency to go awry when others (Dumbledore in this case) meddle – regardless of their intentions. At least Remus concedes to himself that what he wants is not that different from Tonks; now he just has to act upon it. Unfortunately, it can’t be too soon or my story arc will not fit in with the book’s timetable.
If you’re still reading this at work, I will warn you that the last two chapters in this section (Purgatory) get a bit emotional.
I was having trouble with my computer all evening and couldn't get into Mugglenet. My brother got the problem solved long enough for me to get in and read this chapter. I was almost as disappointed as Remus that Tonks wasn't around for his Hogwarts visit. Having read HBP in June in preparation for the movie and then having read a lot of fan fiction related to that time period, I almost feel like I need to go back and read the official book. I feel like I missed so many of the nuances that a lot of you have filled in for me. Maybe I don't have enough imagination because I don't seem to ask what if? Although, I do think my idea to keep Sirius alive was a little bit clever. Anyway, this chapter was filled with so much intrigue. I felt like I was looking in someone's closet and discovered their dirty knickers. Great chapter. I hope I can read more tomorrow. I'm going to bring my laptop home just in case.
Author's Response: There really isn’t very much about Remus and Tonks in the main body of HBP. Just that Tonks refused Molly’s invite at Christmas, while Remus mentions his undercover assignment to Harry at the Burrow; Tonks wandering around Hogwarts in tears with drab hair; and then, of course, that fateful confrontation in the Hospital Wing when everything falls into place. I’m convinced that relationship is JKR’s big “wow!” moment in the story as (for the first time) Harry is not barking up the wrong tree with his suspicions. As a matter of fact, the only real clue I found in subsequent re-readings was that the names Lupin and Tonks are always positioned together when referring to a group of people. JKR doesn’t that numerous times, but there is no other real hint. The description of Tonks’ Patronus is too vague for us to draw any conclusions other than it had changed shape.
It shouldn’t surprise you that there are lots of secrets buried in the Ministry, though. And Snape always seems to have an inside source, too.
Reading how the werewolves are treated gives a very sad feeling. It's almost like they are lepers from times past. What a waste of human resources. Most of these people, including Remus, probably don't belong in the camp. This is one of those times, too, when I get really annoyed with Dumbledore and his grand plan. Sometimes he just uses people. Finally, why are they providing alcohol--you've got people with problems and then you give them alcohol. Not real smart. Great chapter, though:)
Author's Response: I like your analogy to lepers; it really resonates. Since Dumbledore’s defeat of Grindelwald came right about the time the Allies defeated Hitler, I suspect he sees the camps as similar to the Jewish resettlement communities. Just the first step in rounding up all of wizarding society’s lesser beings. The restrictive legislation Umbridge pushed through the Wizengamot which made it more difficult for werewolves to obtain work was just the first step in a plan to eventually deny them all of their rights.
Yes, Dumbledore sees an opportunity to convince Remus to undertake the mission as it will gain him some insight unto other werewolves. You could call it manipulative or it could just be a way for Dumbledore to give Remus a bit of perspective – after all, Dumbledore likes to interfere if he can get away with it. And there’s no doubt Remus needs to be shaken up a bit, although I suspect Tonks would have liked to do it first hand.
I envisioned the werewolf compounds as being a program set in motion by Fudge’s administration and we’ve all wondered just how deeply Lucius Malfoy had influenced that dreadful man. Incompetence can be a cover for evil intentions.
I’m not so certain the alcohol is sanctioned by the Ministry. But like in any prison population, sometimes the guards break the rules. Later in the story, Remus mentions that he is uncertain how Nick’s group procured the Firewhiskey, but it seems to be a sporadic event.
That was a wonderful chapter. I really enjoyed the description of the dance during Tonks school years. Severus has so many hidden talents. I was devastated when JKR killed him off. He didn't deserve that. Dumbledore is always so insightful. He was able to comfort both Remus and Tonks. Hopefully, Tonks will be able to use her morphing talent again soon. Great chapter.
Author's Response: This is one of my favorite chapters, too, as it shows the impish side of Dumbledore that is often eclipsed by the wise old sage side. Just wait until Tonks asks Severus point black why he dances in the upcoming chapters. His answer in quintessentially snarky.
This mission is certainly not going to help Remus' and Tonks' relationship. How embarrassing to have everyone listening in on your personal business. This must have been the time in HBP when Tonks started to look really mousy. Well, I'm at work so must run. Great chapter.
Author's Response: This is near the beginning of HBP as Remus begins his undercover mission about the time Harry goes back to school. I agree that the separation will just make things more painful, but Dumbledore managed to manipulate Remus to do it anyway by putting a different face on it. Tonks will weigh in with her displeasure about Remus' decision in the next chapter.
I loved this chapter. I really appreciated the opportunity to get to know Minerva better. I didn't know she had children, or did I forget? I don't care--it just adds another dimension to her character. Her conversation with Remus was so meaningful. I have a feeling that Dumbledore knows what's going on with Remus and Tonks. It's Remus and Tonks who don't know they love each other madly--or maybe it's just Remus who doesn't know. Excellent chapter.
Author's Response: Minerva's background is all my invention, but she never struck me as the maiden spinster type -- that's Trelawney for sure. Her statement to Dumbledore at the very end of this chapter is the first indication that they are both going to end up interfering in this matter. Remus knows, that's what's weighing so heavily on him; he just doesn't think he's entitled to wish for the same things as other men.
Remus' research is just amazing. He's such an academic. I could sense his frustration when he couldn't get into the shack and how cold he was. And how fun, to run into Freddy again. I hope they go on a picnic. I lived in Cambridge, MA for most of my 20s and we used to go out and run errands on Saturdays at all of the street markets. Remus' shopping trip reminded me of those days. Great chapter.
Author's Response: I really wanted to show that Remus had something valuable to offer the Order. Not just send him on some vague surveillence mission like so many other stories have.
I'm a glass artist so I've participated and shopped in a fair amount of street markets myself. I understand that the ones in Harvard Square at the tops, but never had the opportunity to be a part of that. The ones in Atlanta, Georgia give you a big city feel, though.
I was afraid for a minute that Remus was going to run off when he heard Tonks was coming. It's good to see that Remus has such a good relationship with his former students. Actually, with Molly on Tonks' side I don't think Remus has a chance:) Boy, that pie for dessert really sounded good. Great chapter.
Author's Response: I envisioned Remus as being a family friend of the Weasleys so he knows Ginny outside of school. It is their formal teacher/student relationship that they display at Hogwarts that is a facade.
I tried to make the food as mouthwatering as possible. Personally, I prefer the cooking style that Minerva displays, although I definitely don't have her skill (or the leisure to pursue it, unfortunately). The idea to use food as metaphor comes from JKR herself who used it quite a bit in the first book.
I thought it was totally wonderful that Tonks had Freddy on the look-out for Remus. And he didn't even suspect it was a set-up. I'm at a point, and this isn't the first time, where I want to shake Remus. It's like Freddy said, being a soulmate is what's important and not age. I really liked where you went with the Sirius idea. I was kind of thinking of a humorous piece--although death is anything but humorous--where there's all this drama and rumor about this veil, and somehow Sirius trips during the big battle and simply falls down the other side--where there's nothing but some other steps. He gets knocked out and misses the rest of the fight. Maybe he has amnesia or something...of course, that's not too funny either. I haven't really fleshed this out. I just thought wouldn't it be funny if there really wasn't anything on the other side of the veil. Just a crazy idea. Great chapter.
Author's Response: I, too, feel the desire to shake Remus on a regular basis – particularly in DH (which is why all my stories so far are labeled as “Book 7 Disregarded”). Since this story is a companion piece to HBP, though, the best I could do was to play the pieces from where JKR leaves them. At least I can say that “my” Remus would not have reacted like the one in canon in Book 7. But it took me a long story arc to mold him that way (stubborn git).
I like your idea about making the Veil something much less mysterious. Simplicity is sometimes the most effective thing of all. Amnesia can be funny if it’s handled just right. In my version, I imagine Sirius reappearing in some sort of locale where he is, surprisingly, not the most eccentric person around. Rather like the Northern Exposure TV series did a few years back, but it’s only a very vague idea at this time and may never take root.
While I couldn't muster a tear when you wrote of Sirius' death, I couldn't stop crying while reading his letter to Remus. I've kind of made a decision at this point to read your books at home. When time permits, I read at work from time to time. Your writing seems so introspective--I'm not sure if that's the right word but you present some very painful, psychological issues. But you write very well and I'm really enjoying your viewpoint. I don't cry for just everybody:) I'm really enjoying Remus' interactions with Dumbledore. I wish he'd get back with Tonks. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Thanks for the glowing review; I’m glad to hear my words moved you. I myself was crying like a fool as I typed Sirius’ goodbye. Without ruining the plot for you, I think it’s safe to say that the ‘weepy’ parts are mostly in the first section. There’s a very good reason why this story is labeled as “angsty” while my others are not.
Tonks will have a major confrontation with Remus in ‘Inferno: The Sixth Circle’, so please don’t think she’s gong to drop away graciously. She’s much too headstrong for that. There are a number of large chunks that are told from her point of view as she continues to work behind the scenes.
Not to give anything away, the second part (Purgatory) is more action-packed, so it’s probably safe at that point to resume reading at work.
You just couldn't let Sirius live could you? Ah well, you are not alone. I think I should write a piece where Sirius just tumbles down the steps on the other side of the veil and doesn't die. I know, I know, in a war, people die as in real life. Anyway, this was great. You dealt with Sirius very compactly. I couldn't even raise a sniffle--so that was good. I'm usually openly weeping and since I read at work, openly weeping is not good:) And besides I'm getting all cried out. Great chapter. Happy Halloween.
Author's Response: For this story at least, Sirius can only live on in the hearts and minds of his loved ones. This is Remus’ tale and his reaction to the loss of his best friend is crucial to the plot. Think of it as an arc that intersects Books 5 and 6 at various points to establish context, but there’s no need to relive the main actions sequences as portrayed in those other books. That’s not to say that there won’t be new moments which are emotionally affecting in their own right, especially in the first section (Infero) – so you have been warned.
Of course the challenge of salvaging Sirius is not without appeal. Your comments have started my mind plotting in new directions. How’s this for a teaser: ‘What if Sirius didn’t die when he fell through the Veil? What if that doorway led elsewhere, but not to the land of death? Lupin’s statement to Harry that, “He’s gone,” could still be true, just not in the way that everyone initially supposed. And so begins a long, often tortured journey spanning space, time and credibility as Sirius Black has only his dogged determination to lead the way back to those he left behind.’ But, as you said, that’s a plotline for an all-together different story.
A wonderfully honest conversation between old friends. Does this take place during the 6th book? If so, then Sirius lives? I'm just trying to get a timeline with what's going on with Harry. I was very touched with Remus' remembrances of his conversation with Petunia. I understand that Harry had to stay with the Dursleys--but did he really? I wonder how his life would've been different if he had been raised as a magical child. Great chapter.
Author's Response: This story begins near the end of Order of the Phoenix. In the next few chapters, you’ll see the aftermath of the Battle in the Department of Mysteries. The bulk of the tale occurs during book 6 as you surmised, with the last few chapters taking place over the summer break.
As much as I have come to enjoy writing Sirius, I haven’t been able to devise a clever way to save him from his fate. The best I’ve been able to do is have him live on in flashbacks interspersed throughout the tale.
Petunia has turned out to be a character very much like Severus Snape once you start to deconstruct her. Lots of incongruous layers until you get to the core. I could never image that Remus would just fade into the wallpaper after James and Lily were killed, though, waiting patiently to be pulled into the tale with Prisoner of Azkaban. Somewhere there is a conversation between him and Dumbledore that fleshes out the arrangement with Petunia in more detail – I just can’t pinpoint the exact location at this time.
So pleased to know that you’re enjoying this story.
Such a sad conversation between obviously old friends. I guess I never thought either that Remus had been spared, in a way, the night James and Lily had died. Or why he'd been spared. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Thanks! Hope you're intrigued enough to read on.
To be more specific, now that I have more time: I really loved what you did with Tonks. I never had any strong feeling about her before, but now she has become one of my favorite characters. I think you portrayed her as having the a good balance of independence and dependence, especially towards the end. Still very independent, but not afraid to love someone. From what I remember this fits her personality from the books- although I haven't reread them in, wow, over a year now. But I'm slowly making my way through sorcerers stone in french. :)
You also increased my love for Remus, whom I've always loved.
The only thing would have liked better is if the end had lined up more exactly with canon- but I know this is the prequel to your other story, which does things a little differently. I haven't read it, but i think it's cool that you wrote a story based on what you thought happened.
So all in all, a fun, interesting read.
Author's Response: Thanks for your glowing words about how I developed Tonks’ character. I tried to stay true to the little bit that is available in canon but then elaborated in new directions like JKR often does. If you are so intent on lining up this storyline with canon, it would not be that difficult. Simply omit the very last section of the last chapter (Remus at the Ministry), imagine that he and Tonks were gone for a shorter period of time, and assume that he bought her a ring to fit in better with the rest of society once they returned to England. All done!! I have to admit I wanted to take the characters (especially Remus) in a slightly different direction from canon as there was just something about the way his character was handled in DH that didn’t work for me. Once he finally decided to let Tonks into his life enough to marry her, I just couldn’t imagine him deserting her – pregnant or not… It just seemed so un-Gryffindor of him. Does my own love for the character blind me? Perhaps… I am currently working on a sequel to both stories (taking place seven years later) that will answer a lot of the “where are they now?” questions. Tonks will meet Sera in that one. Will have to wait until my other story is finished posting so that I don’t create my own spoilers, though. Love your idea of reading SS in French, if only it wasn’t such a hassle to have to order it via the web…
Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed your story :)
Author's Response: Thanks! I posted a longer response to your other comments...
What a wonderful ending. And a new beginning that is progressing nicely. A very neat package.
I like Kingsley, and if I hadn't already decided to be Sirius when I grow up I'd want to be Mad Eye.
Did the shaman know using the flower was going to poison Remus? Maybe he's trying to rid the world of werevolves? If it wasn't intentional I hope Tonks & Remus let them know what happened. If it was intentional, I do not want to be anywhere near him when Tonks gets ahold of him, lol
Author's Response: So happy the ending worked for you since you’ve been so kind to offer me encouragement along the way. Mad-Eye turned out to be a very rewarding character to write once I realized that despite all the craziness that the demented Barty Junior wrought (bouncing ferret, anyone?), not a single faculty member at Hogwarts thought anything of it. That gave me the key to his irascible sense of humor. As far as the shaman’s actions, I don’t think it’s his intention to cause harm. The danger is an inescapable by-product of the facts that (1) the shaman has no long-term data for those werewolves who try the new regimen, (2) Tonks’ enthusiasm for brewing the Wolfbane Potion exceeds her experience, and (3) Remus is so desperate that he will try absolutely anything that promises to allow him to lead a more normal life.
I do like this story. I'm guessing it will eventually merge with the other, somehow. Remus flashbacks are wonderful. I can easily see Sirius plotting to get Remus and Tonks together, and her finally taking the werewolf by the ears, so to speak.
The relationship between Ginny and Remus is priceless. And so very well written.
Can't wait for the next chapter
Author's Response: Believe it or not, the next chapter will bring everything full circle. That was my goal when I set the Divine Comedy as my template: three sections of nine chapters each. But it will be a meaty one, I promise. Points of view from both Remus and Tonks in an exotic locale. Thanks for letting me know you like Remus' flashbacks -- I was worried I was overusing that device, but I wasn't sure how else to tell the story. Ginny and Remus are great fun together, but I certainly wouldn't want them to be plotting against me! Next chapter is being uploaded tomorrow, promise.
I like this chapter. It was a good read. Thanks for making it so long.
Author's Response: Thanks. Next chapter should be meaty as well. In an exotic locale to boot.