The Sugar Quill
Author: Thing1 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Casting Stone  Chapter: Chapter 2
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Remus stood quietly in the entry hall at Malfoy Manor, waiting patiently while someone had gone to fetch Draco. He looked around at the beautiful white marble architecture of the room, fascinated that a family such as the Malfoys would have such architectural tastes. The entry was three stories tall, all constructed in a luminous white marble that had been enchanted to glow from the inside. Clusters of thin columns were carved with such precision that they seemed almost to truly be living, breathing things, and soaring skywards to the elaborately vaulted roof. High Gothic, Remus thought absently, noting that it almost looked like one of the arcades at the beautiful Muggle cathedral back in Exeter. That had been one of his favourite places to go as a child; it took him hours to get to the city itself from their village, but he thought it worth every step. He would sit for hours in the still beauty of that place, listening to the singing sometimes, just marvelling that such things could be made by hand alone, no magic.

Remus shifted his gaze to the heavy oak front doors, thinking back to a time he and Sirius had come here on much less welcome terms.

"Professor; sorry to keep you waiting."

Remus turned to see Draco hurrying down the stairs towards him, followed by an older man Remus assumed was the Malfoys' butler.

"Not a problem Draco; I'm sorry to disturb you."

Draco stopped at the bottom of the stairs, a faint smile showing briefly on his customarily tense face.

"Never a disturbance, Sir. What may I do for you?" He turned to the older man who and said 'tea', then pointed in the direction of one of the doors. Remus followed Draco into one of the small rooms off the entry. This room seemed more what one would expect to find at the Malfoys. Its walls and even the ceiling were a deep dark blue. The only light came from huge lamps carved in the fashion of Welsh dragons that Draco lit as they entered. Ebony bookcases lined the walls, and a gigantic desk made of black marble and decorated with an intricate pattern of coiling snakes stood in the centre. Draco ignored the desk and instead led them to sit facing each other in two high backed chairs, made of the same ebony wood of the bookcases and tapestries showing demons dancing in flames. Draco gave a huff as he saw Remus glance at the design.

"Hideous, I know, but this is the only room that isn't torn up at the moment, I'm afraid. The others are all covered in papers, potions, poisons and gods knows what else as we try and clean all the detritus of my family's colourful past out of here. This was father's study; mother won't let me touch it. I'm humouring her for the moment, but if she thinks I'm not going to gut this place as well, she is sadly mistaken."

Remus looked at Draco. "How is your mother?" he asked quietly. Draco gave a thin smile.

"She should appreciate that someone cares how she's feeling, but I doubt she'd appreciate that it came from you. She seems all right; but as you know, I'm making sure she's watched carefully. Mother's a powerful dark witch in her own right, and she's nobody's fool. I stay here mainly to keep an eye on her, but she is still in mourning for father, it seems. I suspect she's going to snap out of it any day now and start causing trouble. She's still under the impression," here Draco flinched a bit, "that I am going to 'keep traditions'. Thankfully that energy right now is focused on finding me an 'appropriate' wife. Lucky so many of those girls fled with their families, I think."

Remus smiled. "Well Draco, there's something to be said for a good wife," he said calmly.

Draco did laugh at this. "Mrs. Lupin is an intelligent and resourceful woman in her own right, Sir. But her parents are Muggles, so alas, she is utterly inappropriate."

"Squibs, actually. My in-laws are both squibs. But I suspect that's hardly an improvement."

Draco shook his head. "Not a bit. Now what can I do for you?"

Remus sighed. "I was actually hoping to hear that you had stared looking through more of your father's personal papers. But it seems this is not the case."

Draco frowned. "No, as I've just said. Why? Are you looking for something in particular about one of father's colourful cronies?"

"Voldemort may be dead, Draco, but it isn't over. Particularly for some of us."

Remus paused, looking quietly at Draco. Sirius is still one of his least favourite people in the Universe; they do tend to get into arguments on the rare occasions they're together. I hope he will in fact decide to help on this; I haven't asked before.

Draco watched Remus for a few moments, thinking about what he'd said. Then his expression quietly changed, growing a little harder as he seemed to understand what Remus was implying. "Oh of course. I hadn't thought of that. The lingering issue of Pettigrew is it?"

"Yes," said Remus. "His name has come up again. Another of the former Death Eaters…."

"Kaylee Pratins."

"Yes. She told the Ministry that she'd seen Peter. We're nowhere closer to finding him and the suggestion has been made, unofficially, that if Peter is alive, perhaps I and Sirius have been working with him for many years now."

Draco looked slightly shocked, then decidedly angry. He stood up and went over to the desk and took out his wand. With a single glance at the door, he said an incantation and pointed his wand at the top of the desk. Amid a shower of red sparks the top of the table seemed to turn to liquid. Remus stood up to walk over for a better look, as the liquid seemed to suddenly start boiling and churning. Then, slowly, the liquid seemed to roll back, revealing underneath a large room filled with books and papers.

Draco put his wand down and walked back to the door, opening it just as his servant returned carrying a large tea service.

"Thank you," said Draco, taking the tray from the man. "We are not to be disturbed. By anyone. If my mother wishes to speak with me, tell her I am out and will see her at supper. Do not let anyone enter this room, on any errand. Understood?"

The old man nodded and backed out of the room, closing the door behind him. Draco set the tea things down on one of the small library tables and walked back over to Remus.

"We will be undisturbed. Tenquill will see to it. I do trust him, as he has been quietly working with me for years. Professor, I am sorry I didn't see fit to do this earlier. If there is any mention of Mr. Pettigrew in this house, it will be in here where the family's personal papers have been stored for generations. We have a few problems, however. This is not 'catalogued', in the traditional sense, for the purpose of keeping anonymity should it be discovered you understand. Secondly, as my father explained to me when I was 16 and 'of age to know such things', it is all cursed, as you can well imagine. This is why I have not yet gone down here, and left it for last." He paused.

"I am still a Malfoy, Sir. I have no intentions of destroying this family, only of … making it more suitable. I have been dutifully turning numerous objects and papers over to the Ministry as I see fit. I do not see turning any of this material over. If I do find something in here as pertains to Mr. Pettigrew, I will speak to you personally. Is that acceptable?"

"Yes. I understand."

"It is going to take me quite a while to get through this."

Remus thought for a moment. "Draco, would you accept some help in this task?"

Draco gave a tight smile. "It depends on who would be helping, I should think."

"Would it be acceptable if Hermione helped with this?"

Draco looked very surprised. "Granger? Or Weasley now, I guess. An interesting suggestion."

Remus was well aware that there were still lingering animosities between Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco. They had, in the last days leading to Voldemort's downfall, called an uneasy truce and worked diligently together. But as soon as it was over, and Lucius Malfoy was dead, Draco had quickly retreated. He had is own problems to deal with, considering that many of the community felt that he was not to be trusted as well. Draco had had to endure the public humiliation of questioning before the Council, but Dumbledore and Snape had made certain that Draco was acquitted and excused. The Council had not even thanked him for his help, other than Dumbledore, but Draco gave no indications that he cared about that in the slightest. Remus had wanted to be there, but his word was not going to be much help to Draco, and he had deliberately kept a very low profile, even when his name was mentioned. Draco had seemed angrier over Remus' continued humiliations than his own situation, but Remus had figured out years before that Draco dealt with what was going on around him by transferring his own feelings onto others.

The fact of the matter was, such work as reading through the Malfoy papers would entail was something Hermione would excel at. And, in her position at the Ministry within the legal department, she would easily be allowed to come and work with Draco on this.

"We will not tell the Ministry exactly why she is here, and Hermione can be trusted to keep your secrets, Draco. You know that."

Draco nodded slowly, staring down into the dark room hidden inside the desk. He said nothing for some time.

"Draco? If that's too much, perhaps…."

"No, Sir. Hermione would be very good for this, I don't doubt it."

"Then what is it?"

Draco gave a small laugh and looked at Lupin with a slightly apologetic expression as he waved his wand to close the desk. "I was running over reasons in my head why neither Hermione nor her husband would care to have her come here. Various hexes, curses and general bad behaviours from the past, you know."

"That's right Draco, the past. I doubt anyone ever told you that in your sixth year, when Harry first spoke to you about my needing your assistance with the spell at the New Forest house, that it was Hermione who insisted you be given the chance to prove yourself. Harry and Ron wanted nothing more than to believe you were utterly false in your intentions. She told them to do it."

Draco said nothing.

Remus had to smile. "She's also the one who set the three of you up to get that detention together."

Draco finally laughed quietly and poured out the tea. "I always thought that was a set up. I couldn't for the life of me fathom why she suddenly started going off on me like she did. I had carefully said nothing to her for quite some time. Weasley rose to the bait admirably; I thought at the time she'd done it to get the fool to own up once and for all to his feelings for her. I should have known better. I never underestimated her, despite my parents' utter contempt for her and her kind. She was at Hogwarts for a reason. I was at Hogwarts because it was my birthright. Big difference."

"Draco, you were Head Boy."

Draco shrugged. "Well, I had to prove to myself I could do it, that's all. Father didn't, you know. One of your lot beat him to it."

"Herthal Santal, I remember. He was quite a character."

"Well, father got his revenge. Santal was one of the first people he killed." Draco tapped his teacup impatiently, watching Remus though half-cast eyes. "I'll do this, as usual, for you, Professor. I owe you a great deal, for numerous things. If Hermione wishes to aid me, I will accept her help. I find it utterly unacceptable that such accusations could be levied against you and I appreciate that, for you, this is a matter of singular importance. For many reasons."

"Thank you, Draco. And Draco?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"I haven't been your professor, or anyone's for that matter, for over quite a while. I would be pleased if you called me Remus."

Draco shook his head. "No, Sir. To me you will always be 'Professor'; don't take offence, but you were the best teacher I ever had. If it were up to me, you'd be back there at Hogwarts."

"I don't think that's going to happen," sad Remus, a little more sadly than he intended. "But thank you."

"You did love it, didn't you?"

"Very much. Despite the circumstances. But, in retrospect, loosing that job was the main reason I have a family now, so I think I got a fair trade."

Draco did smile now. "I doubt if it's any consolation, Sir, but 'the werewolf' was the best DADA prof we ever got. The others were evil lunatics; you were the only one people assumed was an evil lunatic. No pun intended, of course."

Remus smiled. "Even Lockheart?"

"Especially Lockheart. Though I am sorry the Slytherins missed out on his pixies."

Remus put down his teacup and stood to leave. "Draco, thank you again. I'll speak with Hermione directly and let you know."

"Hermione and Ron both have to agree, Professor. I'll not have Weasley sulking about."

"Deal. And Draco? Perhaps you might give some thought yourself to being a teacher, if you've no other plans."

Draco laughed as he opened the front door. "A Malfoy teaching DADA? That would certainly get a few knickers in a twist, wouldn't it?"

"Better than a werewolf."

"Not particularly. Good day."

***

Remus sent an owl to Hermione and Ron asking them to join him and Katie for dinner that evening, after checking to see that the Cannons were on bye that night and Ron would be available. This should be an interesting conversation. Hermione probably won't have a problem with it, but Ron will. Ron still detests Draco, and barely trusts him, despite everything.

Katie agreed with his opinion when he told her why he'd invited them over.

"Ron is going to explode, Remus. Be prepared."

Remus spent the rest of the day working while Malcolm sat in his study with him and practised reading. Remus carefully made sure that Katie had no idea he let Malcolm practice with an old charm book, as she had been furious the first time she discovered Remus teaching Malcolm to read with one of his dark arts texts. Remus saw no harm in it, since Malcolm wasn't old enough to even do any real magic yet, but Katie had practically thrown a copy of "Cat in the Hat'" at him and told him to be more responsible. He dutifully stopped every time Malcolm had a question, feeling slightly guilty that Malcolm was so put out over Sirius' abrupt departure the day before. He had only fussed slightly, though, at breakfast that morning, and then quietly went on with his day as usual. It always made Remus a little tense when Malcolm was upset over anything. My own lingering guilt; Katie and I decided to do this together, and I will do the best I can for the boy, but I will always be a liability to him. What will happen when he starts school? How will he react to what people are going to say to him?

His wife never put up with his saying such things, pointing out that everyone had their problems and that their son was no fool. Remus had once, and only once, pushed the issue until Katie finally broke down and said, in tears, that of course she worried about such things but she was damned if they were going to let ignorance and prejudice get the best of any of them. Sirius had yelled at him later for being an insensitive git and taking such an incredibly strong woman for granted. A miserable week. None of us were speaking by Friday.

Hermione and Ron showed up spot on seven. Ron gave Remus and Katie a hasty 'hello', then went to give Malcolm, who had been allowed to stay up to see the Weasleys, a hug and ask how he was doing. Katie looked at Hermione with a knowing smile as Ron and Malcolm chatted.

"Any thoughts to giving him a better distraction than our son?"

"Katie! I'll give you my mother's phone number, you can commiserate. We're just 20, for goodness sake. We'll get there."

Katie laughed. "Just teasing. I didn't have Malcolm until I was 35 myself, you know."

"Well that would put everyone out, I think."

Remus put off discussing the situation with Draco until dessert. He hadn't actually had the chance to talk much with either of them since their wedding, so there was a lot to catch up on. Ron was obviously loving his position with the Cannons, and thanked Remus again for convincing him to go after the job in the first place.

"May not be as respectable as Ministry work," he smiled, "but I don't particularly care."

"Sirius regards your work with the Quidditch league far more important than anything the Ministry gets up to, I can assure you."

"We'll groom him for Minister of Sport, that should take the sting out of it," said Hermione.

Ron gave a small groan. "Over my dead body, Hermione."

Finally, Remus had to turn the conversation to the issue of Pettigrew. Thankfully, Hermione raised it first.

"Remus, how are you, Liz and Sirius doing with tracking down Wormtail?"

Katie and Remus exchanged a knowing look before Remus answered her.

"Actually, Hermione, that was something I wanted to talk to you about. You know, I'm sure, that a number of Death Eaters have mentioned Wormtail when they were brought in."

"Yes; except for Kaylee Pratins. She is the first to say Pettigrew's name to us."

"She was at school with us, and in our year, so she would remember him. She must have recognised him, somehow. He looked…rather different that night in the Shrieking Shack than the last time any of us had really seen him. Its as if someone actually recognised Sirius as he looks now from the wanted posters that still circulate of him."

Hermione smiled. "I found something out about those posters, Remus. I always thought it strange that they always had a picture of Sirius as he looked…in Azkaban. Even after all this time. I mean, I look at those and can barely see our Sirius in them. Seems someone has made sure they never changed the picture."

"Dumbledore."

"Yes. Very clever of him."

"Well, best not mention it to him, as it is a little deceptive, even if it is being done for the right reasons, and he would rather not discuss it."

Ron looked at Remus. "You figured it out, too, then?"

"No, Ron, I helped him with the spell. Now, back to Peter if you don't mind. Hermione, there is something I need very much for you to work on as I think it is something you are perfect for. However, it involves working with another person." Remus paused to think of how to phrase the rest of his request, and Hermione pumped in.

"Remus, that's hardly an issue," she teased.

"Unless its Malfoy or something," added Ron, laughing.

There was a long silence, broken only by Ron swearing rather loudly, and then instantly apologising to Katie.

"Not a problem, Ron. I thought that might be your reaction."

"Remus! What can Malfoy possibly need with Hermione?"

"Draco doesn't need her, I need her to help Draco. Hermione, the last best place we have to look that might possibly tell us anything about Peter's potential whereabouts, or what he might be up to, is Lucius Malfoy's personal papers. I spoke with Draco this morning on the subject. He made it very clear he has no intentions of turning over any personal papers…."

"I knew he wasn't …." Ron swallowed the rest of whatever he was going to say and went slightly pale at the look Remus gave him.

Remus continued. "Draco has spent the months since Lucius' death, as you both know, turning his family home inside out and giving any number of items and books over to the Ministry. He does have a right, Ron, to keep his family's personal papers. To begin with, nobody wants to start a 'witch hunt', to borrow a muggle phrase," he smiled as he saw Katie stifle a laugh. "The only former Death Eaters still wanted are those we have proven crimes against. We are not going to start retrospectively holding Lucius Malfoy's diary before the Council and suggesting other crimes. How will we ever move on?"

"More importantly, Draco has a right to make a name for himself. Not 'Lucius Malfoy's son', but simply 'Draco Malfoy'. He has enough to contend with without the acts of his relations, which are beyond his control to begin with, being held up wherever he goes and used against him."

"What does Draco need Hermione for?" Ron asked in a quiet voice.

"Draco has told me that he will search his family papers and tell me personally if there is any mention of Pettigrew. The papers are, however, magically stored and cursed. It will take considerable time and effort to go through them, since they are all anonymous. As Draco was explaining this to me, I thought that this was something Hermione would be very good at helping with."

"I'll be happy to help."

"Hermione, you understand that Draco's privacy is paramount. I can only imagine the things you will find down there. And you must not let the Ministry know exactly what you are doing, as there are several powerful wizards who would do anything to get their hands on anything to discredit Draco and bring him further grief."

"I understand that entirely. And I have no issues with Draco. Ron?"

Ron turned slightly pink, but nodded. "Anything to get Percy to shut up. He's still anxious about all this, but we can count on him to keep his silly ideas to himself until we find Wormtail. For a while at least."

***

Hermione and Draco worked on the papers for several days before they suddenly showed up late one evening at the Lupins. Hermione looked excited and pleased; Draco kept his usual chilly air, but did smile at Katie when she greeted them.

"Katie. How are you? I have not had the opportunity to congratulate you in person on the birth of your daughter. I trust you are both well?"

"We're just fine, Draco, thank you very much. Well? It looks as if you two have some good news for us all."

"We think so, Katie," said Hermione, glancing at Draco as he took a large book out of his robes from under his cloak. "Wormtail is actually mentioned in three separate documents, and one seems about as promising as we can hope for."

Remus indicated that Draco should put the book on the table and looked at it closely. It was bound in red leather carved with intricate knot work designs. It looked harmless enough but as Remus leaned closer to it he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Dark, dark magic holds this together. He stood up and looked at Draco.

"This is better than we hoped for; you've made good time."

"Hermione came up with a rather ingenious method of searching the papers, which made identifying those objects we should concentrate on simpler."

"What was that?"

"I modified a charm that locates objects to locate specific words. Like the computer works, you know, Katie. The charm was able to lead us to those documents that had those words in it, so we didn't have to actually touch anything that wasn't necessary. There are some pretty nasty spells down there."

Draco gave a small laugh and took his wand out as he placed his cloak on a chair. "They are dreadfully nasty, Hermione. I suspect that some of them can kill. Professor, do step back while I open the book. Please, do not touch it."

The others all took a step back as Draco placed his wand on the top of the book and closed his eyes. He said nothing aloud, but after a few moments the book slowly rose off the desk a few inches and opened in front of him, the pages flipping quickly until they stopped on a page showing several paragraphs of text and what looked like a crude map. Draco stepped back and motioned for Remus to stand next to him.

"The books will not open for anyone without Malfoy blood in them. You can try anything you like, but they won't. And, we discovered, you cannot copy down anything from them, as it causes the parchment to burst into flames." He gave Hermione an amused glance.

"Yes. That was an unpleasant discovery. Don't tell Ron. Katie, can you tell I've been burned?" Katie looked closely at her hands as she held them up, then glanced at her face.

"No. Whoever cleaned you up did a good job of it."

"I told you Tenquill was invaluable," Draco said to Remus. "Now, here's what we've got. Mr. Pettigrew, or Wormtail as Hermione insists I address him, was Voldemort's top personal lackey. Not a pleasant job, I'm sure; but something we all knew. Voldemort used him mostly for running errands. Never trusted him with much else. I met the man once, and I could see he was rather…unbalanced. He gave me chills like none of the others ever did. Father considered him a liability, I know, but he was absolutely untouchable in his position. However, there was one thing that Pett…Wormtail was keenly interested in personally."

Remus looked more closely at the book. "That's Peter's writing! How did he…."

"He did not actually write in the book, father simply charmed a letter given to him by Wormtail onto the pages. Now, my father's notes indicate that he did this simply to build his case that the man was insane and dangerous. We haven't finished reading the letter in its entirety, as it is several pages long. We came here as soon as we could. The gist of it is that Wormtail was trying to convince father that there was an ancient object they needed to track down that would make Voldemort even more powerful than he already was. There's no date on this, of course, but obviously it was written after Wormtail found Voldemort, but I suspect before Voldemort regained his body in our fourth year."

Draco paused a moment and both he and Hermione looked a little sad at that statement. But Draco soon continued.

"Wormtail's suggestion was ignored. I never heard anything about this, and as you know father began to confide more and more in me as I got older. The language of the letter suggests why. Seems Wormtail was fixated on some old legend. Father abhorred suspicions and sneered at anything but fact, so it's no surprise he treated this with contempt."

Remus continued to look at the book, a closed expression on his face as he studied Peter's familiar uneven writing.

"You think that Peter's gone himself now to find whatever he was looking for?"

Hermione sighed. "It seems as good a lead as any, doesn't it? He was very convinced that this was in fact real. That's why we think he's in Greece."

"Or Egypt," added Draco.

"There's a considerable distance and a rather large body of water between those two spots. What are the possibilities of narrowing it down?"

"None really. The map is of that area of the world, though rather askew. We think whatever he's after he has to follow a certain trail of clues. He has to go to Greece first, then to Egypt."

"What's he tracking then?" asked Katie.

"It's called a 'Casting Stone'. I've never heard of such a thing, but it is mentioned in here a few times. Professor? Is it some type of personal object?"

Remus could hardly believe his ears. Casting Stone? That's a complete myth. Worse, that's a myth I heard from…. He looked at Draco.

"It's a menhir, actually. Well, that's what we Celts call them. I'm not sure of the Egyptian term for such things, and the legend of the Casting Stone as I heard it is based in Egyptian mythology. Sirius, believe it or not, is an expert on Egypt. And he used to tell us all rather wild stories about their ancient magic and customs when we were young. The irony of your suggestion," Remus said, shaking his head, "is that this whole idea was probably something Sirius planted in him when we were 11. Unbelievable; even Peter knew better than to trust anything Sirius told him that he couldn't confirm from another source."

"Well this proves the man is mad," Draco commented dryly.

Hermione ignored him. "What does it do, Remus?"

"What is it supposed to do is a better question. This is an old legend and actually, interestingly enough, one that is shared by many different cultures in various forms. The 'Casting Stone', also called the Heel Stone, World Stone, or Centre Stone, is supposed to be the most powerful talisman surviving from the time before our 'modern' civilisation, as we know it today, rose up about 5000 years ago. That would make this object about 10,000 years old. It is a fantastic object, really; just a flight of fancy. It is supposed to resonate the power of any person's own power back on them. The more powerful the wizard, obviously, the more powerful the Casting Stone. A truly gifted wizard would be almost invincible with such a tool. Even squibs would be able to do magic with this object."

"Would Muggles?"

"Interesting question. The literature of some ancient people suggests they too believed in the Casting Stone, and that their gods were responsible for creating the object. Some even claimed to have it, and had legions of priests guarding it, and only using it for the Ruler's best interests. The story of the Ark of the Covenant is a good example of what is most likely that culture's version of this myth. If you read what that object is supposed to do, it fits. Certainly wizards and Muggles lived much more closely together then, which is why so much of our fact is their myth and visa versa. And no doubt wizards were regarded as powerful 'holy men', who truly did have the ability to make crops grow or cattle die. Especially in places like Greece and Egypt."

Draco paced a bit, mulling over what Remus had said. "Professor," he asked at last, "do you believe such an object exists?"

"No. All my life I have heard so many tales of the fantastic, Draco. You should hear some of the more creative ways to cure lycanthropy. But the issue at hand, really, is does Peter believe it exists? I suspect he believes, or needs to believe, in this object very much." Poor Peter. Always, always obsessed with 'not being strong enough'.

"He'll have quite a head start on us."

"Not exactly. All ancient magic centres on the solar and lunar cycles. Certain objects can only be seen on certain days. Solstice and equinox days. The version of this story I know, as I remember Sirius telling it, is that this is the case with this object. Summer solstice has just passed, and there were no reports of Peter anywhere, and certainly nothing has happened to indicate that something so fantastic may have actually been located. None that I heard, at least."

"Remus, as I recall, you were extremely pre-occupied on the 21st," laughed Hermione.

"Yes, Miss Roarke was joining us that day, was she not?"

"Alright, maybe I wasn't paying attention to much outside of this house, but still. And now the autumn equinox is coming. We've got to find Peter, or wherever he thinks it is that he'll find the Casting Stone, before then. That gives us about two months. I'm going to contact Liz and Sirius and tell them I'll be joining them soon."

"We'll be joining, Sir."

"Draco?"

"You need my book, and no one save myself can touch it. So I believe I'm coming with you."

"Draco…."

Hermione put a hand on his arm. "He's right, Remus. Trust me."

"Very well. Draco, go and get some sleep. Come back tomorrow so we can make some plans as to how to start about this. And I'd appreciate it if you took the book with you tonight and brought it back with you in the morning. Malcolm is an early riser and he might have one of his 'unable to resist the no touching rule' moments."

Draco gave Katie a small smile as he picked closed the book and reached for his cloak. "Yes of course. I remember being unable to resist such temptations myself. I will see you both in the morning. Hermione?"

"Yes?"

"Thank you for your assistance and your confidence. Good evening."

Draco went to the fireplace and quickly disappeared. Remus wrote a hasty letter to Sirius.

Padfoot-

I think I have v. good news. Mr. Malfoy and I will be sitting at a table at the taberna across from the front steps of the National Museum of Greece in the day after tomorrow at 11 in the morning. Dogs on leads are welcome.

Moony

"Hermione, would you mind giving that to Pig? He's very adept at finding Sirius."

"Of course. I won't state the obvious like 'please be careful' as I've enough sense to know you will. Goodnight and good luck. Keep us informed."

Hermione left as well, leaving Remus and Katie standing facing each other in their living room.

Finally, Katie spoke, smiling softly. "Let me know where you are. I'll join you before the full moon."

"Katie, love,…"

"Remus. Malcolm and Roarke will stay with my parents, both to their and Malcolm's delight. I am not going to be left out of this; I need this finished too. And besides, you and Padfoot should never be far from a healer, should you?"

He laughed softly. "No, good point. With any luck, the dynamic team of Moony and Padfoot will have this all solved before you need to come."

"What will Liz and Draco be doing? Sitting by the pool sipping tropical drinks?"

"I suspect Liz at least will be far too busy for that making sure the dynamic team doesn't do something you two would deem 'bloody rash' and 'utterly, incomprehensibly stupid'."

Katie smiled and came over to hold him closely.

"You make us sound like nags, love."

"You are. I love every minute of it. I couldn't bear not having you there to nag me."

"I'll take that as a compliment, you ungrateful cur. Let's go to bed."

They put out the lights and started upstairs. Remus stopped her on the landing.

"I'm not ungrateful, Katie. I meant it. Notice I am being very, very understanding and letting you come, if you have to. Despite my instinct to keep you here where I know you're safe. I love you."

"I know. Now, let me show you how grateful I am for your understanding."

//
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