All characters and places and themes belong to JK Rowling
All characters and places and themes belong to JK Rowling. All accounts of dumpster-diving are completely fictional and are not based on any stories from people I know personally. Certainly not!
A Night on the Town
When Mortimer Bloodworth had been pulled off his regular duty at the Ministry, he had decided that in times of national emergency there are those who shrink away from their duty (whatever that may be) and those who embrace and perform it to the best of their ability. Morty, in light of You-Know-Who's reappearance, was determined to be the latter. Partly he had been spurred on by the new partner he had been assigned, Murray. Murray was an older man, surprisingly full of vigor and also surprisingly serious when it came to his new duty. (Before, Morty gathered, it had been working to regulate international travel in the Portkey Office. Morty himself had been situated in the Floo Department.)
Which was why Morty was out looking for Death Eaters. It was a simple enough process, because once you started looking for suspicious activity, it was surprising how easy it was to find. Things people said which had before seemed inconspicuous now practically teemed with hidden meaning, or at least they did to Morty's listening ears. He was given to wonder how thick he had been before to not see it.
But scoping out the Leaky Cauldron and other pubs in the area had somehow lost its allure after a short while. It seemed that lately people were preferring to drink in the privacy of their own homes. Morty couldn't really blame them; after all, there were dangerous people about in those pubs that Morty and Murray had frequently had to arrest. Still, the lack of people willing to talk and, moreover, say incriminating things, had led to a serious decline in Morty and Murray's arrest record. When this leveling-off had occurred, Murray brought up what he thought would be a good source for them, though admittedly it was a bit more dangerous than your run-of-the-mill late-night babbling drunk. That was, Murray had said, the werewolves. He had explained: it was well known that the packs that resided in sewers and subterranean passages of London were led, in some way or other, by the notorious Fenrir Greyback.
Morty personally wondered why Murray had to add the "notorious" in there; it was quite bad enough to think that a psychopathic lycanthrope could be stalking the streets of London, so why were extra grisly adjectives needed at all?
"I'm so sorry," said Remus as he sat in one of the Aurors' holding cells within the Ministry. "Listen, it was all an accident. I should've known Eric would--"
"Eric?" asked Tonks. "The other werewolf you were with?"
"Yes. He's not a bad kid, you've got to understand, and I knew that if the Ministry found out he had, well, mauled someone--"
"You're defending him even though he almost mauled somebody?" asked Tonks.
"I didn't say he wasn't jumpy. Besides, it's not as though he's like Greyback, attacking people who have no chance of fighting back."
Tonks sat leaning forward with her hands over her eyes and shook her head, not as if she disagreed with him, but more in a hopeless, dejected manner. "So when Eric attacked Bloodworth, you stepped in and pulled the two apart. What happened then?"
"Bloodworth tried to arrest me. And I really didn't try to hurt him."
"I don't think that defense would work on any court in the world, Remus."
"I really didn't want to get arrested, Tonks."
"Bloody great job you did of that, too."
"I thought it would mean a lot of extra paperwork for you and Kingsley."
"How nice of you to think of us." She was rubbing her eyes again and didn't say anything for a few moments.
"How much do you think I'm going to get it?" Remus asked when he couldn't put it off any longer.
She sighed and shook her head. "Two weeks in Azkaban would probably be the lowest we could scrape you."
Remus' face darkened. "I don't mean to sound picky, Tonks, but I really don't think it's a good idea for Greyback's pack to go unmonitored by the Order for two weeks. Right now, at least."
"I know it. I'd have to appeal to Dumbledore to intervene, which would mean more bad blood between him and Scrimgeour, and there's plenty of bad blood there already, as you well know. What it means, Remus, is bloody, bloody politics." She glowered at him now. "I really don't need that sort of nonsense right now, I really don't. I'm just grateful to be going up to Hogwarts soon."
"That will certainly be good for you."
"Don't you start telling me what's good for me and what's not again, Remus Lupin."
Remus, wishing Kingsley Shacklebolt had been around to come talk to him instead, didn't say anything.
The night had started out badly for Morty. Murray had been unable to go with him on a patrol because of what he termed "domestic difficulties." Technically, this was looked down upon by their superiors at the Ministry, but was not specifically prohibited. Morty suspected that if the people were not allowed to make rather flimsy excuses to get off their patrol duty they would rebel.
Morty himself had never made such excuses, mostly because of an insistent yet vague sense that lying like that was Wrong. At any rate, the areas he was now patrolling were not especially known for their killer werewolf population; more for their high percentage of Muggle homeless men.
Which was why when he saw two figures in the distance digging in a dumpster behind a restaurant, he didn't worry too much. Werewolf attacks were rare around that area, although they had grown more frequent with You-Know-Who's reappearance, as almost every repugnant thing you could think of had. He certainly was not expecting the worst from this pair, but he still made sure to conceal himself in the shadows as he approached. Morty was not a large man and could sneak quite well when he wanted to.
One, a younger man by the brief glimpses Morty got of him, was digging through the open dumpster, while the older man stood by the side, not too close to it, with his nose somewhat wrinkled.
"This isn't sanitary at all, Eric," the older one was saying. "I'm really not that hungry, honestly..."
"You don't listen at all, do you Remus?" the younger one wearing yellow rubber gloves and doing the digging asked, somewhat mimicking the older manís tone. "I've been here before. It's some law or regulation with this company that owns the restaurant. They make the workers bake so many of these little pizza things, see. Every couple of hours or so the ones that haven't been sold get put into a sack and thrown out. They're completely untouched."
"Isnít that very wasteful?"
"Thatís Muggles for you, huh? Ha!" He had unearthed a white rubbish sack. "I think this is itóoh, no. Thatís not it. Thatís not it at all." Morty saw for a brief moment the disgusted look on the man's face. "Weíll just put that back, then. Donít worry, itís in here somewhere, I know it."
The older one sighed and leaned against a dumpster, staring off at nothing in particular. Meanwhile, something about what one of the two bums had said was sticking in Mortyís mind, like a loose yarn caught on a nail. It was Muggle, that was it! The two men, he thought, must be wizards, but then, they couldnít be. What kind of wizard would be reduced to a state like this, digging through Muggle rubbish bins?
So if they werenít Muggles and they werenít wizards, thought Morty, or at least the type of wizards who knew how to properly use a wand, they must beÖ.
Mortimer Bloodworth swallowed. The only thing worse than being on the prowl for bloodthirsty werewolves was the realization that you had actually found a pair.
Remus had been in the cell for hours; he thought it had to be well past midnight by now. The cell was obviously not meant for permanent living quarters, but Remus was still getting a little nervous. Tonks had left about an hour ago, saying sheíd come back to file a report before she herself went out on patrol and to check on Bloodworth. Hopefully, she had said, the Order could get everything "all sorted out," and at worst heíd have to spend the night to be let out in the morning. She appeared to be a little sorry about this, but not, Remus noted, overly much. He had decided it only meant she had a lot on her plate at the moment and was only vexed by life and work in general.
Eventually the door was opened again, this time by Kingsley Shacklebolt.
"Hello," said Remus, surprised. "I thought you were guarding the Muggle Prime Minister these days."
"I am. However, tonight heís getting a surprise visit from the Minister. Our minister, I should add, as well as from Cornelius Fudge."
"Poor chap. So what are you doing here?"
"Tonks told me what happened," Kingsley began slowly, almost disapprovingly. "Dumbledore has already been informed, so you should be let out of here within a few hours, but a report must be filed about the incident first. I volunteered to do it, as Tonks has patrol tonight."
"Oh. Well. Thatís a relief."
"Do you mean because Dumbledoreís gotten you off, or because Tonks isnít here to take your report?"
"Shall we begin taking this down?" Kingsley took a quill and parchment out of his pocket. "We just have to make it sound unimportant enough that you got off with such a light sentence, but plausible enough that the other werewolves wouldnít suspect anything amiss, should they care to check."
"Wonít that be difficult?"
"No," said Kingsley. "Itís fairly easy, in fact. The only loose end is this other fellow you were with."
"Yes. I think for the purposes of our report itís best if the young man remains a nameless accomplice, yes?"
Remus shrugged. "Youíre the expert at falsifying documents, I suppose." Kingsley began scratching on the parchment, and Remus thought there was a bit of a grin on his face.
"Never mind falsifying anything," said Kingsley. "Just tell me everything that happened, exactlyÖ."
The boy who had leapt of the shadows had a wand that was extraordinarily long and thin. The way he was waving it around, Remus was certain it would snap in the breeze it was creating.
"Stop!" cried the boy. "Stop, or Iíll curse you both where you stand!"
Eric in the dumpster stood up straight, and Remus stopped leaning against it. Neither of them had made any attempts to run when they saw the boy. They both stared at him and his somewhat wayward wand. Ericís eyes immediately narrowed, but Remus became somewhat bemused.
"Can we help you?" he asked politely.
"Stay back! Stay back, werewolf! I know what you are! Youíre a werewolf!"
"Why would you think that?" Remus was genuinely surprised.
"I just heard you talking! Anyone who just heard you talking would be able to figure it out! And now Iím going to put you under arrest!"
But the boy made no move beyond waving about his oversized wand back and forth, as if it were a great shield rather than just a flimsy stick of wood.
Remus sensed some animosity coming from Ericís end, and decided to see if he couldnít rationally send this man, who was obviously a Ministry employee, away without having to resort to using his own wand. If he did so in front of Eric, it would eventually spread among the other werewolves that he was a wizard, and then probably a nice walk into a dark alley never to come out alive. However, getting arrested really wasnít a good ideaÖ.
He sighed. "Why exactly do you want to arrest us?"
"Suspicion of lycanthropy!"
"Thatís not a crime, that I know of."
"It is when youíve got Fenrir Greyback running about!"
Eric made a sudden movement, but did not move out of the dumpster. Remus gave him a severe look that he hoped would keep Eric put until the man could be persuaded to leave.
"I assure you, sir, we donít have anything to do with that person, or Lord Voldemort eithó,"
The boy gasped and made a frantic movement with his wand. He sent off a Disarming Charm, which was daft because neither Remus was holding nothing, and Eric only his gloves, which were encrusted with rubbish from the dumpster. The curse was poorly aimed and bounced off the brick wall to Ericís left, but it was enough to spurn him finally into action. He leapt out of the dumpster with a snarl and landed on the Ministry worker before the boy could even get a curse off. Eric had pushed the boy onto his back when Remus pulled them off each other, which thankfully wasnít hard, as Eric was quite scrawny. (Lifetime of living off dumpster pizzas, Remus thought bitterly.)
"Did you find the food in there?" asked Remus, as he held onto the boy by the back of his shirt and nodded towards the dumpster.
"Yeah," Eric replied, face flushed.
"Take it and go underground. I can get rid of this one."
"Just do it, would you?"
Eric was seized with indecision. "I supposeóI suppose he," Eric nodded at the fallen Ministry worker, "is the sort to steal other peopleís food, huh?"
"Exactly. Now go on, would you?"
Eric scampered off down the alley with his bag of dumpster pizzas as Remus turned to the fallen man. Unfortunately, the boy was no longer on the ground and had picked up his wand. Remus was thrown back against the wall, for a second too stunned to move. The boy seemed stunned too, impressed at his own sudden action. Remus, in turn, who had lately gotten used to not reaching for his wand in altercations like this, reacted the first way he could think ofÖ.
"I donít think he expected you to break his nose," said Kingsley levelly.
"For the record, I didnít really mean to break his nose either."
"I donít think weíll be including that on the record. There. Finished." Kingsley set down the quill. "I think it should hold up just fine. You, an upstanding citizen who of course just happens to be a werewolf, were simply loitering rather harmlessly in an alleyó"
"Donít forget about my nameless accomplice."
"ówhen well-meaning Mr. Bloodworth misconstrues your actions as some sort of illegal activity and attempts to arrest you. You rebuff him by resorting to Muggle dueling, which he certainly does not expect. Eventually, when you make your retreat he calls upon his partner, a Mr. Murray Wilson, and together they manage to apprehend you."
"Er, something like that." "Retreating" had been more of him simply running away, and "apprehended" had been something like them calling for him to stop and then using Impedimenta while running behind him. But Remus supposed Kingsley had made it sound more diplomatic and sophisticated.
Kingsley stood up. "Well, that should do it. Iíll make sure they let you out soon, all right?"
"Well, thatíd certainly be nice."
"Donít worry, Remus. It wonít be much longer."
He left. Remus sat on the cot and sighed with his head in his hands.
Sitting in a waiting room near the Auror offices, Mortimer Bloodworth was again partner-less and this time in real physical pain. He still had the bump on his head from where the werewolf had hit him.
Eventually a young woman Morty recognized as one of the younger Aurors walked up to him. Her hair was brown and unkempt, but she had a fairly kind, almost motherly expression on her face.
"Hello," she said. "Iím Nymphadora Tonks. I just wanted to let you know that everything has been sorted out."
"Has he been sentenced already?"
"Sort of. Donít worry, if he comes near you at all he will be severely punished."
"Havenít you had your nose fixed yet?" asked Miss Tonks, looking concerned. Morty touched his nose defensively, then regretted it because it made him wince.
"Itís really fine--,"
"No, no, just hold still."
"Episkey!" She tapped it with her wand. It felt very hot and then much better.
"You're welcome. I'm getting pretty good at that, I think. You should probably just go home, take it easy, you know? Iíll walk out of the building with you, howís that?"
Morty sensed he was being patronized, but followed her out and blushed a bit. "It was just so sudden, you know? I thought I had everything under control and then he just came up and pow! Just like that."
"He can be like that."
"You mean you know the man who attacked me?"
"Of course not," Miss Tonks said quickly. "No, no. But I know how it goes."
"You donít expect it, everythingís going all right, and then wham. Sharp bop on the nose. You get it a lot, being an Auror."
"Yeah. I suppose."
She smiled kindly and put a hand on his back. "Maybe youíre more designed for what you were doing before, eh? The Floo Department, wasnít it?"
He sighed. "I guess. I really did try very hard, but I suppose youíre right."
"Still, itís nice you tried," said Miss Tonks as the reached the Ministry Apparition Lobby. "Itís more than you can say for many. Good night." As she Apparated away Morty was still blushing.