The Sugar Quill
Author: Gryffinjack  Story: The Native Hue of Resolution  Chapter: Chapter 1 - Anticipation
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THE NATIVE HUE OF RESOLUTION

THE NATIVE HUE OF RESOLUTION

 

Lots of appreciation to Thing1, for writing such wonderful characters and allowing me to borrow them. 

 

I cannot express enough gratitude to Durayan, Luna, Thing1, and Vargmoy (thanks for sticking it out through every draft!) for their wonderful beta-reading.  This story has been drastically improved thanks to their thoughtful comments and suggestions.
 
And lastly, thanks to J.K. Rowling, for writing such a wonderful characters as Remus, Sirius, Draco, Professor Dumbledore, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hedwig, Crookshanks, and even Cornelius Fudge for us to enjoy in her amazing world of witchcraft and wizardry

 

 

CHAPTER ONE – ANTICIPATION

 

            “Here you go, Padfoot.”

 

            “What’s this?”  Sirius was stunned by what Remus had placed before him in a rather large bowl – some moist brown pieces of something.

 

            “It’s your breakfast”, yawned Remus, as he prepared some toast and peppermint tea.  Remus loved peppermint tea, even more than peppermint humbugs.

 

            “I hate to be repetitious, Moony.  But, what is this?”

 

            “So do I.  It’s your breakfast, Padfoot.  And, may I add, thank you so much for trotting back and forth all night long under my bedroom window while Katie and I were trying to sleep,” Remus said with a mischievous glint in his eyes that Sirius failed to see.

 

            Sirius sniffed at the brown pieces in his dish.  “This is dog food!!” he exclaimed in an infuriated voice. Remus noted with glee the dark expression growing on his friend’s face.

 

He looked at Sirius for a moment and went over to the kitchen table where Sirius was seated.  He picked up the bowl, looked at its contents, and placed it back on the table before Sirius.  “Ah, so it is.”

 

            Sirius looked at Remus in disbelief.  “What’s that for?  You haven’t given that to me since we were eighteen and I can’t even remember what it was for!”

 

            “Same reason now as then.  It’s for making me dog-tired, not to mention my wife. Next time, don’t spend all night whining, especially after we spent all day setting up wards and have to do the same thing today.  Now, be a good boy and eat your breakfast.”

 

            “You could have used a Silencing Charm!” grumbled Sirius.

 

            “True. We could have, except we were too tired to even get out of bed to get either one of our wands.  You may remember we worked awfully hard yesterday getting ready for Harry.  Why did you transform, anyway?”

 

            “I was trying to force myself to think simpler thoughts instead of worrying about Harry.  It didn’t work.”

 

            Sirius crossed his arms firmly, leaned back in his chair away from the food, and scowled with a slight growl.  Remus rather enjoyed the times when he could get Sirius’ dander up.  Although he might seem quite controlled and serious, underneath it all Remus had inherited his father’s sense of humour and love of a good joke.

 

            Remus and Sirius had spent the entire day yesterday setting the numerous tight wards around the house and gardens to the exacting specifications of Albus Dumbledore.  They had worked on the wards until well after dark.  It had been agreed that they would continue the task bright and early today because Sirius’ older godson, Harry, was coming later that day and would be staying at Remus’ home until his Auror training began in the autumn. It was vital that Sirius and Remus make the wards extra secure since Harry was still in great danger of being killed by Voldemort.

 

Harry was not going to be arriving alone at Grey Timbers, however.  His best friends, Ron and Hermione, would be joining him to celebrate the completion of their Hogwart’s education. Ron’s younger sister, Ginny, would also be there, as she had grown much closer to the trio over the years.  However, although Ginny did not know it yet, the main reason she had been invited was that something of vital importance would be given to her at the celebration.

 

            Remus knew that Harry was the reason Sirius could not sleep last night. Yes, Sirius had problems sleeping anyway, but more so now because he was both worried about Harry’s safety and excited with the anticipation of seeing him again.  Actually, thought Remus, I feel the exact same way. Remus tried to shake the thoughts out of his mind and get back to his breakfast. 

 

            “Aren’t you going to be a good doggy and eat your breakfast?” he laughed as he put the marmalade on the kitchen table.

 

            “NO!” growled Sirius furiously as he turned to face the kitchen wall, still pouting.

 

            Remus laughed heartily as he pulled his wand out of his belt. The bowl of dog food disappeared with a tap, and he then placed the wand back in his belt nonchalantly.  Chuckling as he reached over to the counter, he said, “It’s not my fault you cook worse than Hagrid ever did.  Here you go, Padfoot.  Toast with marmalade and some peppermint tea.  I don’t think either one of us could handle more than that this morning.”

 

            Sirius looked over at Remus.  Carefully, he uncrossed his arms and sniffed the toast.  “Does Katie know about this little stunt of yours?”

 

            “Who do you think came up with this ‘little stunt’ at 4:00 this morning?” smiled Remus.

 

            Sirius raised an arched eyebrow at Remus and smiled.  Finally, he bit into his toast.  “Remind me to thank your wife properly when she gets up.”

 

            “Well, she would have been up if you had let her get some sleep last night.  You should know better than to vex her by now,” said Remus as he took a sip of his own tea.  “I learnt that one the hard way a long time ago.  Where’s Liz?”

 

            “Same place Katie is.  Same reason,” winced Sirius. 

 

            There was silence as they both ate their breakfasts.

 

            When he had finished, Remus looked again at Sirius’ face, only to see that Sirius’ deep blue eyes were now a million miles away.  Great.  He’s worrying about Harry again.    I’ve got to snap him out of it before he gets worse.

 

            “Well, this is no good. We still have lots of work to do before we are ready for tonight,” said Remus, as he stretched and began clearing away the dishes with Sirius’ help.

 

            Remus went to the front room and grabbed the two books he had carefully placed on the small marble table.  “I’ll be back as soon as I deliver the Portkey to Dumbledore.  He said he would give it to Harry after breakfast.  Please give Malcolm his breakfast when he wakes up and start on the wards.  Katie should be up by then and so should Liz.  For your sake, I hope she got a decent amount of sleep despite your antics.  I’ll be back soon.”

 

            Remus could see Sirius nod just before he closed the front door behind him.

 

                                                   ***********************

 

Remus Apparated to the Hogwarts’ gates and walked the rest of the way to his old school.

 

            It never changes.  It’s just as stirring to see as ever.  Remus reminisced as he walked briskly up the familiar stairs to the entrance. 

 

Once inside, Remus headed for Professor Dumbledore’s office.  Just as he was passing by a suit of armour, he saw Draco Malfoy walking noiselessly toward him.  Draco looked quite the distinguished young gentleman, straight and tall in black velvet dress robes with twisted black and pewter chord trim and two pewter frog closures.  Remus had never seen such elegant robes before.  He recalled as he motioned toward an empty classroom that Draco had to give the Head Boy speech at breakfast later. 

 

“Hello, Professor,” greeted Draco crisply as he reached to shake Remus’ hand, once the door to the classroom had closed behind them.

 

“Hello, Draco.  Are you ready for your speech?”

 

“Yes, sir.  Though, tradition dictates that this address be brief.  It is not much of a speech.”

 

“Perhaps.  But it is still quite an honour,” smiled Remus.

 

“An honour indeed, Professor.  I am quite certain that my parents are immensely proud.”  Draco’s elegant drawl was dripping with sarcasm.  “Another Malfoy displaying superiority over the common witch and wizard masses.  It is all I can do to quash my anticipation of their plans for me this evening.” 

 

Remus wished Draco did not have to go back to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.  “I told you.  Katie and I would be pleased if you came to stay with us for a little while.  You may stay as long as you like.”

 

Draco looked intently at Remus with a steely glint in his eyes.  “Sir, we have been through this before. Once again, I am most grateful for the offer. Unfortunately, I fear I cannot accept.  Were I to do so, it would arouse suspicion in my dear father that I am not as loyal to him and his associates as I appear.  All of our careful planning would be for naught.  It is vital that Father not suspect my true allegiance.  I cannot be of service to you and your colleagues without his trust.”  Draco hesitated slightly, then added,  “Furthermore, I expect Potter and Black would be less than pleased were I to accept.  Please, thank Mrs Lupin for me for the kind offer, but I am afraid I cannot accept.”

 

“Very well, Draco.  If you think it is for the best.  We shall miss you.  I cannot speak for your parents, Draco, but I for one am very proud of you and what you have become.” He reminds me so much of myself at his age, struggling to overcome the expectations that he will follow the dark arts.  Remus withdrew an old thin black book with gold lettering on the cover from his robes and placed it in Draco’s hands.  The book, by Rasput N. Baum, was entitled The Dark Arts: Setting Your Own Path.  “This book was given to me many years ago when I attended Hogwarts by a professor here.  He was the first individual outside of my family to believe in me.  I should like to give it to you now.”

 

Draco glanced at the book and then at Remus in surprise.  “I am afraid I do not understand.  My family knows far too much about the dark arts already, Professor.”

 

“No, Draco.  This book is not designed to instruct you on how to perform the dark arts.  It is designed to assist you in choosing how you are going to use the dark arts – for good or evil as well as how to handle your decision in the face of possible adversity.  Knowing what you are up against, I thought it could facilitate your further studies.”  Remus dropped his voice to little more than a whisper. “It was of immeasurable help to me.”

 

Draco scrutinised Remus as he pointedly said,  “After all you have suffered at the hands of my family, I should think this would be the last thing you would want to give me!  No, Professor, I cannot accept such a gift, especially under the circumstances.”

 

Draco, you may be able to refuse our offer to stay with us, but this is one thing I am afraid I must insist upon.”  Remus pressed the book firmly into Draco’s hands.  

 

Draco nodded formally at Remus and walked down toward the Slytherin common room, with the book still in his hands.  He has chosen an extremely tenuous path to follow. 

 

 

                                    ************************

 

Using the password the Headmaster had given him yesterday, “sugar quills,” Remus continued on to Professor Dumbledore’s office.  He brushed his greying hair away from his face and was just about to knock on the door when it suddenly opened on its own. 

           

Professor Dumbledore was seated behind his desk, resplendent in scarlet robes.  He beamed at Remus as soon as he saw him.  “Ah, Remus!  So good to see you again!  How are your lovely wife and our future pupil?”

           

 “Just fine, sir.  Thank you.”

           

“Is everything in order for tonight’s celebration?”

 

            “Nearly. We are finishing setting up the wards to your exact specifications this morning before they all arrive.  That’s why I came so early – I need to get back and help Sirius.”

 

            “And how is Sirius doing? I imagine he is looking forward to seeing Harry again,” said the headmaster as his blue eyes twinkled behind his half moon spectacles.

 

            Remus let out a sigh.  “That’s an understatement; he is starting to drive both Liz and Katie insane!  Everything has got to be just perfect.  Did we get enough food?  Are the rooms all ready?  What about the presents?”  He laughed a little at the memory of the last few days.  “Honestly, he is bouncing off the walls!”

 

            Professor Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully.  “Well, he has been bound and determined to make up for twelve lost years with his godson since he and Harry were reunited.”

 

            “He is at that.”

 

            Remus reached into his robes for the second book he had brought with him and offered it to Professor Dumbledore.   “Here is the Portkey, Headmaster,” he said, as the Headmaster carefully took the vellum volume.  “Although I’ve protected it with some charms, please ask Harry to take great care of it.  It is very special to me.”

 

            “Thank you, Remus.  I shall make sure that Harry receives this after Hermione and Draco make their speeches.”  Professor Dumbledore looked at the book Remus had handed him and chuckled.  “Hamlet?”

 

            “Yes, sir.  Shakespeare has always been a favourite of mine.”  A thin smile crept across Remus’ face. 

 

            “An excellent choice.”

 

Remus nodded.  “Well, I guess you must be off to prepare for the feast.  I still do miss those end of year feasts.”  Remus remembered the special cake the house elves always made for the most important feasts. He began salivating at the very thought of the rich, chocolaty cakes.  How did James manage to get the house elves to bake one for my sixteenth birthday party?

 

Professor Dumbledore nodded.  “I do have to be going,” said Dumbledore, startling Remus out of his thoughts.

 

“The Portkey is set for 4:00.  Please make certain they all know that.”  Remus thought for a moment.  “I know how difficult Portkeys are for Harry.  Unfortunately, it’s the only way for that lot, their pets, and their trunks to get to Grey Timbers, now that we have been taken off of the Floo network for the duration of Harry’s stay.”

 

“Correct, as usual, Mr Lupin,” said Professor Dumbledore in his most professorial voice.

 

They both laughed at that as they shook hands and said good-bye.

 

Professor Dumbledore looked serious for a moment.  “Mr Potter will finally learn the truth about himself.  Until tonight then, Remus.”  

 

                                    ***************************

 

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