The Sugar Quill
Author: Thing1 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Casting Stone  Chapter: Chapter 1
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Sequel to Veritas; this is set several years in the future from where that tale ended. Voldemort has been defeated, once and for all. But Peter Pettigrew was never found when the Death Eaters fell, and Sirius is still officially a wanted man on the run from the law. "Veritas" was told from Sirius' point of view, primarily. This will be mostly from Remus'.

Those of you who have read my other works know I have preferences for certain JK characters, and they will be back in spades. The cast of my own characters is with us, mostly; Annie and Griffin are not yet born, so we won't see much of them, obviously. Malcolm Lupin is nearing four, as this starts, and Roarke has just hit one month. Sirius and Liz are still forced to spend most of their time apart, as Liz is now spending much of her time abroad working for the league, tracking witches and wizards who fled after Voldemort fell. While she hunts for signs of Wormtail abroad, Sirius and Remus are focused on searching the British Isles for him. But not for long….

Now, anything else would just give this away, wouldn't it? Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, and all that is hers belongs to her. Nor am I Virgil, who is quoted briefly. The lines from IV Henry 1 (act 1 scene ii) belong to whoever Shakespeare really was. One may only daydream he was as attractive as Mr. Finnes.

Chapter One

There was fire all around him. It seemed something alive, taunting him and daring him to move. Finally he roared in anger and ran into the flames; they vanished immediately and he found himself standing on an open hill. It was almost pitch black as clouds filled the sky and blocked the moon and stars. He turned, tripping over something as he tried to move away from this open exposed place and make for the safety of the trees. He didn't see what was at his feet, but he felt it try to grab him. He wrenched free from its grasp, pulling with all the dark strength the wolf had given him.

Suddenly figures seemed to rise out of the very ground around him, dark, hooded and menacing. They had no faces, but he smelt blood and death in the air. Running now, the trees he needed to get to seemed to get father away with every step he took. Gasping, he felt himself caught; he fell, twisting and fighting to see… The clouds shifted now, and the moon seemed impossibly close, bright, and full.

Darkness engulfed him, even as the moon seemed to light the meadow as bright as day itself. The figures started to laugh, and let go. The wolf wrenched free of his last vestiges of control, and sprang forward into the night. Seeing this, the figures vanished one by one as he raced towards them, desperate to feed on the fear in the air around them. As the last one vanished, and the wolf howled in fury, the trees suddenly were around him, moving, shifting, and a house appeared. A house with someone inside.

He was running into the house…he couldn't stop himself….

Remus Lupin sat up quickly, ripping at the sheets that seemed to strangle him. His heart racing, he struggled for a moment before he realised he was just a man sitting in a bed who had had a nightmare. Again. He could feel tears on his cheeks as he tried to slow his breathing. Stop it, damn it. Same dream; you'd think by now you could just recognise it for what it is and…..

He gasped as a warm hand came to rest on his back, slowly stroking his shoulders and working to calm him….

"Remus?"

Remus felt himself shaking as his wife slowly shifted to wrap her arms around him in the darkness. He quickly tried to wipe the tears from his face, so she wouldn't know he'd been crying in his sleep again, but she caught his hand and held it firmly while she leaned forward to kiss away the tears herself. Remus closed his eyes and tried to relax into the soft, soothing touches, but he couldn't stop shaking. Katie moved closer to him and buried her face against his neck, whispering assurances he was safe and that she loved him. Remus finally moved to hold her more tightly to him, and his shaking slowed along with his racing heart. He stared at the window just over Katie's shoulder, watching the faint shadows of the branches of the elms churning in the winds of the summer storm outside.

"What was it, love?"

Remus just shook his head, feeling tears well up again.

"Tell me?"

"Katie…" he whispered in a hoarse and broken voice, but he couldn't continue.

"I'm here, and I'm fine. Malcolm's safe asleep downstairs; Roarke's just next door. And Sirius is downstairs too. We're all right here, and the nightmare is over; for all of us. He's gone, Remus. He won't hurt anyone ever again. You made sure of it this time. I love you; you don't have to go back to sleep if you don't want to. I'll stay right here…."

Remus turned to kiss her, savouring the warmth and the joy he felt every time he did this, no matter what had happened. Katie pulled him closer and didn't let him go for a long time. Finally he broke the kiss, and settled back down on the bed, pulling her to rest on his chest. She sighed happily and absently stroked his shoulder, caressing the old bite there.

"Go to sleep, Katie, love."

"No. Not unless…."

"I'm going to go back to sleep, I promise." He paused, and then smiled faintly against Katie's hair. "Course if I do, Roarke will probably wake up and demand attention. When do you think she'll start sleeping through the night?"

Katie chuckled softly against his chest. "Who can say? Babies are all unique. Malcolm slept through the night from day one, practically, but Roarke may take a while on that."

"And people say boys are more fuss than girls."

Katie laughed again at this, kissing Remus' neck quietly. "Spoken by people who have no idea on the subject, I suspect."

"Well, we'll know soon enough. Katie, I'm so thrilled to have a daughter; best birthday present I ever got. I intend to spoil her rotten and declare every young man on this earth not even remotely good enough for her."

"Oh, very productive. I can't wait to see your expression when some father says the same thing about your son."

"Well obviously anyone who says that about Malcolm is out of his mind. If we do have another, please let it be another little girl."

"It's hardly up to me, love; fathers are responsible for the sex of the child."

Remus shifted to kiss her again. "Clinical as always, my adored and beloved."

Katie giggled quietly. "I just call them like I know them. Now what if Sirius and Liz ever had a son, and he came calling for one of your girls? That could be interesting."

Remus finally had to laugh slightly. "That would be forbidden, I can assure you."

Katie yawned and settled more closely against him, obviously ready to go back to sleep. "Right. Like that wouldn't thrill the two of you to death. But what a dangerous genetic precedent to set. Ugh."

Remus smiled again, but his thoughts turned instead to Sirius.

"Katie? We've still got to find Peter; we've got to clear Sirius. It's too unfair…."

Katie looked up and put a finger to his lips. "I know Remus. But don't think about it right now, love. Think happy things about spoiling Roarke and Malcolm; you need your rest. Promise me."

Remus smiled and moved to settle her back down against him and finally closed his eyes. "Right. Should we get her a pony? She can ride with you. What a beautiful pair you'll make…."

Katie laughed softly, and Remus slowly drifted back to sleep, this time dreaming about Roarke and Malcolm; smiling, happy, and free from fear now that Voldemort was well and truly dead.

***

June had been gorgeous, but July was wet and windy and utterly dreary. Sirius and Malcolm seemed to enjoy getting covered in mud but everyone else was getting tired of it. Remus had to smile, though, watching Sirius and his eldest dutifully weed one of the beds in the back garden and seeming to have the time of their lives. Malcolm was so happy when Sirius had come back after his last excursion. Malcolm was less than thrilled by Roarke's birth, but was trying very hard to be a good sport about it. However, while Remus and Katie had to be reluctantly shared with the baby, Sirius was all his, as he saw it, and Sirius was only too happy to indulge him.

Remus checked to see that his one-month old was still sleeping quietly before going back to work. Remus was now a 'shadow auror', for lack of a better term. While many still were reluctant to be anywhere near him, his actions during the final downfall of Voldemort had gained him the minimum of respect needed to allow the Ministry to hire him for the Enforcement Arm. He usually worked by himself, or with Liz, who had taken a similar position. There were still any number of former Death Eaters about, and they had taken on the responsibility of finding them. This also gave both himself and Liz the best access to any information as to where Peter Pettigrew may be. They had never found him that night.

Liz had wept bitterly over that, while Remus and Katie held her closely and Sirius was not about, as he would have taken her bitter fury over the situation too hard. Liz had carefully kept up a very happy and exuberant face until Sirius had gone to be with Harry to celebrate in private. As soon as he had apparated, she had finally dissolved into tears. Her emotions ran so high she had actually cracked several panes of glass on the French doors. Liz had tried to apologise, but Katie told her to stop being an idiot about it and get it out of her system. Remus and Katie had just found out that they were going to have another baby, and Liz had been so thrilled, both for them and with the quiet hope that maybe now Sirius would be free, and they might be able to get on with their own life, together. But not so.

"Liz," Remus had said to her through his own tears of sadness and frustration, " I promise, we will find Peter. I don't care what everyone says, its not over. Not for us. Not yet."

"No, it's not. Maybe it won't ever be."

"It will, Liz;" said Katie, with her customary determination, "We will find that wretched man, and you and Sirius will have the life you deserve. I can't keep harbouring a fugitive forever, despite how much I care for him. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get him to pick up after himself?"

Liz had given a small, hiccoughing laugh at this and nodded. "I'm getting some idea. But I don't care; I'd give anything to spend a lifetime with everyone knowing I have to trail him about picking up bits and pieces…"

"Well then, let's get on with it."

But in June, when Roarke was born the day before Remus' 41st birthday, they were no closer. Remus sadly looked at Roarke, knowing that Liz and Sirius' tears at seeing Roarke for the first time were both from joy and their own lingering sadness. It made Remus all the more determined. He finally threw down his quill and went outside to see what Sirius and Malcolm were up to.

They were reasonably muddy and laughing wildly. Malcolm, not caring a jot, jumped up and ran to Remus when he saw him. Remus had to laugh and picked up Malcolm, getting a good deal of his son's grime all over himself in the process.

"Hello, Moony. Come to join us in our task?"

Remus smiled at Sirius and shook his head. "It's your task, Padfoot. I've my own job, thank you."

"Where's the baby?" Asked Malcolm, looking quizzically at Remus.

"Asleep, my little marauder. I came to say hello to you."

Malcolm beamed and patted his father on the cheek, laughing at the smear he left there. "Hello!"

"Yes, thank you for that, Malcolm." Remus put Malcolm back down, but Malcolm stayed where he was and took Remus' hand. "How's it going then?"

"Nearly finished," Sirius smiled, pulling another small weed out of the soaking bed. "The rain seems to have done these little…" he trailed off at Remus raised an eyebrow at him.

"Little plants a world of good. Don't tell daddy what I called them earlier, will you Malcolm," he added in a loud whisper.

"Best not tell mum what Sirius called them earlier, son. Really, Sirius."

Malcolm laughed and let go of Remus' hand to plop down on his knees next to Sirius again in the mud.

"When you've finished, clean off, then come in the house and I'll give you both some lunch."

Malcolm and Sirius looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Yes," they said in unison.

"Daddy's such a fussy one, Malcolm, isn't he?"

Malcolm nodded, but smiled at Remus anyway. Remus patted him on the head, and then went back inside to clean himself off. Sirius and Malcolm came in a little while later, Sirius giving Malcolm a quick cleaning spell so he wouldn't track too much mud in the house, and sent him to wash up.

Sirius looked at Remus as he worked, then came to stand next to him.

"What now?"

"This is Liz's latest report from France. She suspects she's found Goyle, at last. Amazing how many of these people vanished once Lucius was dead."

Sirius nodded absently and ran a finger over Liz's letter, smiling faintly. Remus reached under a pile of papers and handed him something. "Here's the first page; you can read it if you like."

"I prefer the letters Liz sends just to me, actually," Sirius grinned, ignoring the note and moving instead to sit next to Roarke. "Give me the highlights."

"Draco was pretty accurate in his prediction that Goyle would flee to his relations on the continent. As it turns out, they were not happy to see him, and turned him out without question, though they took in Gregory. Liz says as far as she's concerned, the young man should stay there with them if they are willing to have him; says the boy is an idiot and no real harm to anyone."

"So Draco was accurate on that, too."

"So it would seem. Anyway, she's trying to trace Goyle's steps now. Jenna is under the impression that he may have fled to Karkaroff, who's been in hiding for years now."

Sirius flinched at the sound of that name, but didn't look up. "Does Harry have anything to say on that?"

"No, not that she mentioned. Harry's supposed to be coming back here next week, so you can ask him then."

Sirius looked back up at Remus, and frowned. "I'll do us some lunch, Remus. You look tired. Is the moon rising early tonight?"

Remus sighed and stretched. "It certainly feels like it, but no, it's not up until 9 or so. I'll handle the lunch."

Sirius smiled sadly. "I'd appreciate the distraction, actually." Remus looked more closely at Sirius at that comment. He did look a little more drawn than usual, and he had had his own share of nightmares the last few days too.

"I guess we'll have to do it together, then."

***

That night the wolf had quietly slipped outside with the dog trailing behind him as he ran out into the woods along the meadow. The ground was wet and everything smelt strongly of soaking earth and rotting leaves, but neither seemed to care much. They ran the entire length of the meadow and back, before the wolf had become restless at being outside and went back into the house to curl up in front of the fire with his mate. The dog had decided to stay outside, however, and was not seen again until dawn.

***

Remus woke when the familiar burning sensation shot though his arms and legs. Shaking his head at the painful pulling and twisting sensations of the slow transformation back, he tried not to cry out so that Malcolm wouldn't hear him. He and Katie had refused to try and pretend that this didn't happen, so that Malcolm would never know to be afraid of Remus when he was like this, but Remus knew that Malcolm was very sensitive to their moods, and would be very distressed to think that this was something that hurt Remus. Katie had tried over the years to fix the potion to help the pain, but they were fearful of doing anything that might make the potion ineffective, and Remus said this was a small price to pay for being harmless. Katie had been able to improve the taste, somewhat, but Remus refused to 'experiment', especially after the children were born.

He finally finished, and lay panting on the couch, pulling the blanket Katie had put over him last night more closely around him. But he was shaking from exhaustion, not cold, and slowly forced himself to stand up and pull on his robe from where he had left it on his desk. A knock on the door made him look up and smile sadly. Malcolm, as always.

"Come in?"

Malcolm carefully opened the door and bent down to pick up something when he had the door open enough. He reappeared holding a mug firmly with both hands and went over to Remus. Remus smiled and took the brew from his son, and Malcolm then climbed up and sat next to him, arms crossed and a frown on his face.

"Good morning to you, too."

"Good morning. You alright?"

"I'm a little tired Malcolm. And a little sore. But I'll be fine, thank you."

Malcolm nodded, but still didn't smile.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Malcolm…."

Malcolm sighed and moved over to lean against Remus, though he still didn't unfold his arms, and he kicked at the table in front of the couch.

"I heard you crying."

"Malcolm, you know it hurts me. But I'm still alright, see?" Please don't fuss, Malcolm; you have to live with this too. I can't bear the idea that I was so selfish to have you and put you through this.

"Yes." That's the smile I need to see.

Remus put an arm around Malcolm. "Thank you for caring about me."

"I always do."

"I know. That makes it feel better."

"It does?"

"Yes. So thank you. Now, what's for breakfast?"

"We've had breakfast. It's late."

Remus looked out the window and noticed that it was rather bright. "I see. Well, it's stopped raining at least…."

Malcolm suddenly leapt up to open the French doors, and an owl came in to hand Remus a note.

"Malcolm, go ask mummy for something for the owl, would you?"

Malcolm ran out as Remus opened the note.

Remus-

I'm very sorry to disturb you this morning, but something very important has just come up. Please come to the Burrow immediately; it is extremely urgent. Do not, under any circumstances, bring Snuffles with you.

Arthur

Remus stood up and went into the hallway. "Katie!"

Katie appeared and followed him up the stairs as he went to change.

"What?"

Remus handed her the note from Arthur Weasley to read as he dressed. Katie frowned and looked at him while he quickly did a shaving spell to try and look more presentable. Nothing to do about the dark circles, of course….

"This doesn't sound good."

Remus had to nod at her grimly. It sounds pretty foreboding, love; but you're not one for overly dramatising anything.

"No. Where is he?"

"I'm not sure. I think I'll just track him down and perhaps send him on his way for a bit, just in case."

"Yes, you'd best."

***

Remus apparated to The Burrow and walked up to the front door. Before he knocked however, the door was opened and Remus saw one of the twins standing there, looking uncharacteristically tense.

"Remus; it's Fred. How are you?"

"Tired, but your father said…"

Fred held up a hand and nodded. "Remus, Percy's here, and he's…well, he's Percy; that's a start. He's also had a very interesting night. Come in."

Percy? He's not hurt, I hope; I thought he never left the Ministry offices. Remus followed Fred in, trying not to let his growing anxiety show. God, nothing's happened to Harry, has it?

Fred led Remus into the kitchen, where he saw Arthur sitting at the table, across from a very sour looking Percy Weasley. Percy looked up at Remus and glared when he came in. What's this? Ron was also there, surprising Remus further.

"Good morning," he offered in a polite tone. "Arthur, you said you had urgent news?"

"I'm the one with urgent news, Mr. Lupin," said Percy in clipped and angry tones.

"Percy," said his father, quietly. Percy just glared at him and looked back at Remus. "We've had a very interesting night down at the Ministry. You know that we captured Kaylee Pratins two days ago?"

"Yes."

"I've been interrogating her. She has a few very interesting things to say."

Percy had moved into the legal department at the Ministry following the incident with Barty Crouch several years ago. He was now acting as a member of the prosecutors division, and it had fallen on him and his colleagues to question the captured Death Eaters. Remus vaguely remembered Ron commenting, in less than amused tones, that it was a perfect job for Percy. Makes him feel important and superior. Loves to go on about justice and upholding the laws.

"Does she? About what?"

"About you being seen numerous times in the company of convicted murderers, that's what."

Remus didn't flinch. Tougher birds than Percy Weasley had questioned his association with Sirius. But he could tell from the expressions of the rest of the Weasleys that here was more than this. He said nothing and waited for Percy to continue.

"Nothing to say? How about this; perhaps this is something that's been going on a lot longer than was ever suspected. Perhaps you've also been aiding and abetting Peter Pettigrew, who, it would seem, is not dead, and has been a Death Eater for many years."

Remus was flabbergasted at this.

"What?"

Percy stood up quickly. "This is the third report we've had of someone claiming Pettigrew was not in fact dead, not in fact killed by Sirius Black. She swears it's true. And she says that on three separate occasions she has seen you with Sirius Black. And Lucius Malfoy, when he was still alive."

Fred and Ron each took a step towards Percy, looking dangerous, but Remus gave them a glance, and they immediately stopped.

"Percy, does she know where Pettigrew is?"

Percy looked totally infuriated at this. "What? How dare you! Do you know what I think? I think that you three have been working together for years! And…." He got no further as Fred grabbed him and punched him soundly across the face, followed closely by Ron. Arthur jumped up and insinuated himself between his sons, shouting at them at the top of his lungs to stop it.

"Percy! We told you that was untrue! We asked Remus here to explain what is, what has been happening!"

"Father, how can you…."

"Sit down!"

Percy sat down immediately, taking the cold towel his father offered to put against his injured cheek. He glared at Remus.

"Well?"

Remus looked at Arthur, who nodded. "Remus, Percy needs to know what has happened. I tried to explain, but he didn't believe me. I made him promise that he would not make any formal accusations until you had spoken with him. Percy is under the impression that … you and Sirius have been working with Pettigrew; that you are in fact…" Arthur couldn't say it, but Percy did.

"Traitors! All of you!" Percy shut up as Fred leaned towards him with a snarl.

"You just never get it, do you, Perce? How dare you say these things to Remus!"

Remus shook his head and sat down at the end of the table quietly. "Percy. Sirius Black did not commit the crimes he was accused of. Peter Pettigrew was the spy who betrayed the Potters, and any number of other people, probably, to Voldemort all those years ago. He was able to do that because he was trusted to be the Potters Secret Keeper. You are familiar with the Fidaleus Charm?"

"Of course."

"Sirius Black was James Potters best friend; it was assumed that he would naturally be their Secret Keeper. But Sirius did not do this, he asked Peter to do it, not knowing Peter was a traitor. When Sirius discovered what had happened, he went after Peter. Peter lured him into a trap and framed him as the traitor. He was able to 'stage' his death because he is an animagus; a rat. He cast the spell that seemed to kill him, and did kill all those Muggles, and then escaped into the sewers. He cut off his finger and left it at the scene of the crime, and went into hiding."

Percy looked utterly unconvinced. "Please; an animagus? Very convenient story. How is this any assurance to me that you three didn't hatch this plot yourselves?"

Remus shook his head, but Ron stepped forward. "You've already met Pettigrew, Percy. In fact, he's slept in your bed."

Percy shot Ron a murderous look. "Shut up, Ron. What do you know about anything important like upholding the law?"

Arthur threw a quick arm up to stop Ron's advance on Percy. "Remember Scabbers, Percy?"

"My old rat?" Percy finally looked more surprised than angry.

"That was Pettigrew. He was right here hiding all those years. He fled when Sirius Black came back to find him, and went back to serve Lord Voldemort. In fact, he was instrumental in helping Voldemort get his body back. Harry was there; he saw the whole thing."

Percy sat thinking for some time, seeming to struggle with something.

"Percy, look here. Remember that Scabbers was missing a toe?"

Percy nodded absently. "I remember."

Remus said nothing, and looked at Arthur.

"Percy," said Arthur, quietly, "we need to find Pettigrew. Without him, Sirius Black will never be cleared of these false charges against him. And we have no idea what Pettigrew may be up to right now. He was a trusted servant of Voldemort's; he's not going to simply go away. You came in here and demanded that justice be done. You're right, it needs to be, but it needs to be the right justice, Percy. You can't do something that will simply allow an innocent man to be imprisoned again. Or worse. You know that Remus was instrumental in bringing down Voldemort. So was Sirius Black. And Remus is a trusted friend of this family. How can you say such things about him?"

Percy flushed at this and didn't look at Remus. Remus smiled sadly and nodded.

"Percy, I know that my being a werewolf makes people feel I am not to be trusted. I know that I am deeply disliked and mistrusted by any number of people at the Ministry in particular."

"Idiots!" said Ron, with great venom and staring at Percy. Remus blinked, and went on.

"But what your father said is true. We must find Pettigrew; and we must let the truth be known. We cannot allow Sirius Black to be falsely destroyed. I will not allow it," he added, in a no-nonsense tone.

Percy looked up finally; his anger seemed to have dissipated and now he just looked confused. "If this is true, then he can't be. He should be cleared." Percy looked at his father. "You've known this all along. You knew this was going on. And you didn't trust me."

Fred jumped in at this. "Percy, it was for Sirius' own good that as few people as possible knew, surely you can understand that."

Percy looked at his brothers, who were now standing behind Remus with their arms crossed, watching him. "They seem to know what is going on; they seem to be trusted!"

Remus shook his head. "Ron and Fred know about this because circumstances made it necessary that they know." He heard Ron give a sharp laugh at that, but continued. "And now you know, because circumstances have made that necessary, too. You must decide what you are going to do, now that you know the truth."

Nobody moved for a long time. Finally Percy stood up. "I'll try and see if Kaylee Pratins has any further information on Mr. Pettigrew. I am not saying I believe all of this; but if Pettigrew is alive, we need to hear what he has to say for himself. At the very least, Sirius Black is not guilty of killing him."

Remus nodded and stood himself. "Thank you, Percy."

Percy looked at him with a closed expression, then nodded and left the room. Remus sat back down quickly, feeling drained and a little fearful as to what might happen next. Fred and Ron sat down on either side of him.

"He's not been the same, you know, since Penelope was killed. He was always an uptight bastard, but now his ambitions are all he has," said Fred sadly. "It's a matter of does he think he'll further his bloody career by capturing Sirius Black and getting it over with, or capturing Peter Pettigrew and serving up the most infamous acquittal of the modern age."

Ah. "Fred, I think you're being unfair to him. It is a little bit much to take all at once. Ask Ron."

Ron smiled thinly. "True. However, Fred's right. Best keep an eye on Percy. I'll tell Hermione about this tonight when she gets home; she should be able to keep an eye on him, but he knows she's great friends with you and Katie, so he'll probably avoid her more than usual."

"Remus," said Arthur, "perhaps it's best if Sirius joins Liz abroad for a while. We'll keep an eye on things here, and the moment we get any word, let him know."

"I can't imagine how we'll convince him to go…." Remus tried to joke, but it sounded flat. Ron and Fred both smiled, however. Remus went on, "and I think I'll go with him."

Arthur was not happy with that. "Remus, please, there's no need. You just had a baby! Stay at home where you're needed, for goodness sake. Percy will not do anything rash, I promise you."

Gods, I don't want to go, but this is just what would be needed…. I bring my family enough grief.

"I'll discuss it with Katie; it's her decision too. Fred, Ron, good to see you both."

Fred grinned. "Only you can be so damn polite with all this mess going on."

"Yes. Well, I'm no stranger to mess going on, Fred. Good day."

Ron walked with Remus to the front door. "Say hello to Malcolm for me, won't you?"

"Of course."

Remus apparated back to his house, and stood in the garden thinking for a few moments. Now what? I really should make myself scarce too, just in case. But what if they bother Katie with all this? I'll be damned if they're going to upset her. Remus went round to go in through the kitchen door, and was happy to find Katie working there. He stood in the doorway for a few moments, watching her, as she hadn't noticed him come in. Still amazing to me; always will be. What a life for the pair of us. She stopped what she was doing to pull her dark hair back and fasten it up as she started leaning over various cauldrons. Remus smiled, looking at her pale skin and her intense face, so animated and responsive to everything that went on around her. When they had first met, going on ten years ago now he realised, he had considered her an opposite of himself. It was only as of a year or so ago he had come to understand they were not opposites, but rather different sides of the same shadow.

"Katie?" he called softly, moving into the large kitchen, not making a sound as he crossed the slate floor towards her. She glanced up quickly, surprised to see him, but smiling anyway.

"Hey. Well? What did Arthur have to say?"

"Percy has been interrogating a Death Eater who told him she's seen Sirius and I in the company of Lucius Malfoy, and that Pettigrew is alive. Percy seemed to feel that perhaps Sirius and I have been, well…." He stopped as he watched Katie's face darken with fury.

"He did not." Remus had to laugh inwardly. Katie had started this little trick of seeming to read his thoughts when they first got together, and it still surprised and thrilled him that she knew him so well.

"It's alright, for the moment. But Arthur and I feel that Sirius needs to go join Liz for the time being, so we'll need to track her down."

"He just got back for spending three weeks sleeping in caves and tracking fools through the rain! He needs to rest! Oh, listen to me. Of course; at least it'll be good for them to get sometime together. It's been months since they've seen each other."

Remus nodded and came to stand behind her while she worked so he could hold her. She looked over her shoulder at him.

"And no you may not go with him. I don't care what ideas Percy Weasley has, I need you here."

Remus had to laugh, and she smiled at him.

"Still a mind reader, love."

"Hmmm. Well, the answer is no. Forget it. I always let you go when it's important. Liz is more than capable of making sure Sirius is okay on her own, so let her do it."

"Fine."

"I mean it."

"I did just say fine, Katie."

Katie sighed. "Did this woman really see Wormtail?"

"Percy's going to question her more about that. We should know soon. What's for lunch?"

Katie turned to grab some ingredients and add them to one of her pots. "I haven't the faintest idea, love; why don't you surprise us?"

Remus kissed her and moved to see what was about so he could make lunch. But his thoughts were on what might happen if they could find Peter once and for all.

//
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