Disclaimer: Not mine. Just playing with them, I’ll put them back when I’m done. Promise.
Written for:WeasleyFest09 on LiveJournal. Gift for: sullensiren
Author’s notes: Many thanks to Sherry, who patiently corrects my woefully inconsistent spelling and capitalization, and otherwise makes my stories better than they were before.
A tall, lanky red-haired man threw down his quill in disgust and scowled at the paperwork lining his desk. Paperwork was the bane of any job, but it seemed to be doubly so for those whose chosen professions kept them out in the field and away from their desks. Or perhaps it was just that those people tended to put it all off until the last minute.
With a sigh, the man spun his chair around to face a large, highly polished, obsidian sheet that was mounted on the wall. He tapped a rune below the shiny black expanse and a moment later, a goblin’s face appeared within the frame.
“Goldfarb, is Manager Irongrip available?”
“One moment, Mr. Weasley, let me check for you.”
The frame went dark again, only this time, randomly moving, multi-coloured lines wandered about the sheet. The effect was slightly hypnotic.
A few moments later, the face of another goblin appeared.
“Good afternoon, Weasley.”
“‘afternoon, Irongrip. How’s jolly ol’ England?”
“Damp, contentious and profitable. How’s Cairo?”
“Hot, dry and just as profitable. You should be seeing the reports from the last site by the end of the week. We just have to kick Jep and Francois until they finish their forms.”
The goblin barred her teeth in a grin. “Very good, very good. Now, what can I do for you?”
“I have a favour to ask of you, Irongrip —”
“Will it get me in legal, moral, social, ethical or spiritual trouble?”
The man laughed. “Not this time, my friend.”
“I need to know who is this year’s Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.”
The goblin tilted her head to the side. If she had been human (or any other race that sported hair) she would have raised an eyebrow. “Why do you care?”
“Hey, I’ve got five siblings there this year! Is it so wrong for me to want to know who will be teaching them, especially in such an important subject?”
“Dammit, Bill,” the goblin growled, “don’t try to lie to me. Humans are poor liars at best, and you Weasleys are worse than most.”
Bill Weasley looked at his friend and mentor and rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s about Ginny,” he began quietly. “I found out that she spent all of the last school year fucking possessed by a bloody Dark object!” His voice steadily rose in intensity and volume. “The only reason she’s still alive is because a fucking twelve-year-old managed to kill a Basilisk, destroy the cursed object and save her! I don’t care if he is the goddamned Boy-Who-Lived! Where the fuck were the adults?” By the end he was shouting, but he didn’t worry about being over-heard; all Gringotts offices were well warded for privacy.
“Excuse me?” Irongrip said in disbelief. “Bill, back up and explain this to me again.”
Bill took a deep breath and sat back down in his chair — not that he remembered standing up — and tried to explain. “My family came for an extended visit — Dad won some sort of Galleon draw, so they decided to spend some of it to come visit me. Not exactly what I would have chosen to do with the money, but that’s not the issue here. While they were here, Mum and Dad told me that Ginny — my eleven-year-old little sister — had somehow got her hands on a cursed diary. This diary apparently possessed and controlled her at various points throughout the school year. Amazingly, no one noticed. She was used to release a Basilisk from the so-called Chamber of Secrets in Hogwarts. The Basilisk Petrified several people, but fortunately did not kill anyone. At the end of the year, Ginny was possessed again and compelled to go down to this supposedly secret Chamber. I don’t know exactly what happened down there. What I do know is that somehow Harry Potter found out what had happened to Ginny, found this Chamber that had eluded the entire staff of Hogwarts for the past fifty years, and went to rescue her, killing the Basilisk and destroying the diary in the process. I was told none of this at the time. Mum decided that she, quote, ‘didn’t want to worry me.’” Bill snorted and the anger in his voice was obvious. “Oh sure, just ignore your sister, she’s fine. No, no, we don’t need anyone who deals with cursed objects on a daily basis. No need for someone like that at all.” He snorted again. “I think the only reason she told me anything was because I noticed that Ginny didn’t quite seem herself and threatened to ask her directly if Mum and Dad wouldn’t tell me what was going on.”
Irongrip shook her head in amazement. Wizards seemed to be constitutionally incapable of noticing what was going on around them. Well, most wizards, anyway. The ones trained by Gringotts were broken of the habit quite quickly. “I sympathize with your anger, Bill, and you know that the resources of the division are open to you and your sister. But what has this to do with this year’s Hogwarts teacher?”
“Ginny needs help. Mum and Dad refuse to admit it. They claim that Headmaster Dumbledore checked her over and proclaimed her ‘fine’ so they’re not going to do any more about it. I think Mum would bundle her up in cotton batting and lock her in her room if she could get away with it. They wouldn’t let me talk to Ginny about it, claiming it would only upset her again.”
The goblin echoed the man’s snort of disbelief.
“So I was hoping,” continued Bill, “that this year’s Defence professor was actually decent for once. If he was, I might write to him and ask him to see if there was anything he could do for Gin. She needs basic counselling, if nothing else.”
“I think you’re in luck, Bill,” Irongrip said slowly. “Remus Lupin was hired just a few weeks ago.”
“Lupin?” Bill’s eyebrows rose. “The name is vaguely familiar. What’s wrong with him?”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, come off it, Irongrip. You know as well as I do that there hasn’t been a Defence teacher who has lasted two years in a row at Hogwarts in at least fifty years. So what’s wrong with this Lupin fellow?”
“He’s a werewolf.”
This time Bill’s eyebrows nearly shot off his head. “And Dumbledore is letting him teach? How’d he get that by the Board?”
“I believe that Mr. Lupin attended Hogwarts about a decade before you did; so presumably the Headmaster already has a mechanism in place to cope with his monthly transformations. And according to our sources, the Potions Master at the school is quite capable of brewing Wolfsbane. I do hope that was written into Lupin’s contract.” The slight curl of her lip expressed the goblin’s disbelief that any mere wizard would be sensible enough to have something like that written into a contract. “At any rate, he’s a specialist in Dark creatures, but is well rounded in Defence overall. His biggest problem has been a lack of consistent employment. He’s actually done some contract work for us at the Tintagel and Tintern Abbey sites. We keep trying to bring him on full time, but he keeps refusing. A good man, though.”
Bill felt himself relaxing. That was high praise coming from the goblin who had first trained him. “Do you think if I wrote to him, he might help Ginny?”
Irongrip hmm-ed thoughtfully. “He might. He’s reputed to be in Dumbledore’s pocket, but I don’t know how much of your sister’s situation he would have been told. As long as you don’t ask him to do anything that directly opposes the Headmaster, he should be willing to at least listen. He’s an honourable man, and I suspect he will place the welfare of his students above all else.”
Bill breathed out a sigh of relief. This crazy plan might just work after all. “Thank you, Irongrip. I really appreciate it.”
“Not at all, Bill. Now, while I’ve got you here, let’s hear the preliminary profit report from your last excavation...”
Mr. Bill Weasley
Dear Mr. Weasley,
I must admit, in all my experiences as a teacher, I have received numerous messages from parents, but yours was the first I have ever received from a sibling of one of my students. I apologize for the delay in writing back to you; as you no doubt remember, the first week of school is a little bit hectic, and only now am I finding myself with both the time and inclination to sit down with my neglected correspondence.
Surprise and over-burdened schedules aside, I am most grateful that you wrote me as you did. I had been told nothing of your sister’s situation, a circumstance which disturbs me almost as greatly as your description of the events did. When I confronted the Headmaster about this oversight — I left your name out of it entirely, intimating instead that I had picked up my information from the ever-efficient Hogwarts Gossip Network — his reaction was much as you implied it might be. Or rather, his lack of reaction. He largely waved aside my concerns with platitudes and made noises about “not dwelling in the past.” Hrmph. I have tremendous respect for the man, and will be forever grateful that he allowed me to attend Hogwarts (both as a student and now as a teacher), but sometimes I fear he has lost sight of the fact that we live in a world where we freely and willingly arm eleven-year-olds with deadly weapons.
I will gladly do what I can for Ginevra, although I am neither a qualified counsellor nor Mind Healer. I do agree with you that no outside help can be brought in without parental consent and we dare not go there without something concrete to point to.
Although I suspect Gringotts usual efficiency has already apprised you of my condition, honesty compels me to put it forth in plain terms for you: I am a werewolf. It was only by the grace of Albus Dumbledore that I was allowed a formal education at all. I shall completely understand if you wish to withdraw your request for my aid, not wanting your only sister to be too closely associated with one such as I. I would only ask that you keep this information to yourself and trust in Headmaster Dumbledore, if not in me.
I await your reply and, on the slim chance that you might wish me to continue with our project, shall begin some discrete research on the effects of magical possession.
Remus J. Lupin
Defence Against the Dark Arts
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Gryffindor House, Hogwarts
I’m so glad you wrote to me! I always want to hear about what’s going on in school. Like I told you when you came to visit, I’m so so soooooo sorry I didn’t get to write you very much last year. I should have done better. But you know how we boys are — STUUUUUPIDD! But I promise to try better this time.
I’m glad to hear things are going a little better this year. I know last year was kind of hard for you but I want you to know — IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT! Promise on my honour as your biggest brother. And don’t forget, you can always ask your professors for extra help if you don’t remember something. That’s what they’re there for, after all.
I do agree with you that Professor Lupin sounds like a MUCH better teacher than Lockhart. Actually, some of the goblins I work with know Professor Lupin and they really like him — and you remember what I’ve told you about goblins, right? So I think he’d be a really good person for you to talk to, if you wanted. The goblins say he’s really smart, so he could probably help you with just about anything. I always want you to tell me everything that’s going on with you,