[identity profile] cellarandmoon.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup
*They've been back in London since yesterday afternoon, but Amrita's still coasting off the whirlwind bliss of the honeymoon and not quite ready to let any of it go. So perhaps it's unsurprising that she didn't immediately take up with the smart dresses and robes waiting for her in the flat. Out and about in Diagon Alley today, she's wearing a sari, the vivid silk thick with embroidery and elaborately draped and pleated until she resembles nothing so much as a bright bird in full display. The robes, the heavy jewelry, the wedding ring, the big round bindi and the sindoor in her hair parting--all of it says, very clearly: I am Somebody; I am Somebody's; I am fresh from Somewhere.


And indeed, the proprietor of Craven and Stone has been more than helpful, he's been downright obsequious. She's here alone, readying Evan's birthday present--it wouldn't do to leave this sort of thing until the last minute--and that involves getting a volume specially bound. Mr. Stone intuited her affinity for books straightaway and in truth they'd had a pleasant tête-à-tête, picking parchments and inks and the right marbleized paper for the endpapers and such. That finished, she's about to leave the shop and considering a trip to Eylops to look at the new chicks before she spots an oddly slender turquoise volume on a shelf.


And just like that, the game is up. Amrita could never so much as set foot in this store without losing at least half an hour to wandering and half the contents of her reticule to her finds, so it's hardly a surprise and barely a surrender. Serenely, she pulls the little book from the shelf and inspects it.*

Date: 2011-08-22 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Unemployment doesn't mean Remus isn't kept busy. Working full time for the Order is, in fact, a full-time job, and not one you can do indefinitely without a break. His tend to take him to very much the sorts of places one might expect - museums and tea shops, meandering walks in old parts of London, visits up to his family in Yorkshire, and, above all, bookshops. He's doing exactly the same thing Amrita winds up doing, just poking around, letting one book tip him onto another topic and another book, and so on. He's got three tucked under an arm and is running gentle fingers along a row of spines, inspecting titles, when a flash of color catches at the edge of his vision.

She is, possibly, the last person he'd anticipated or wanted to see. In a heartbeat the mellow calm he'd been in is utterly wrecked, and he quietly steps back into a shadow, looking Amrita over carefully. She looks good - marriage seems to suit her - and the Rosier fortune clearly suits her. They haven't spoken since April, the day they'd argued heatedly about whether being a werewolf is simply what you are, or constitutes who you are. And then Sirius had blown up about the Rosiers' threats of disownment, and said horrible things, and Amrita had fled in tears. (The row he'd had with Sirius after had been no more enjoyable, come to that; the whole thing had been wretched.)

Only three months had passed, but so much has clearly changed. Remus can't help but resent the situation - not her newfound fortune, but what she's allowed herself to become - indeed, what she seems to be flourishing as. It was never supposed to have happened like this, none of it. She was meant to be a friend, an ally. He'd wanted to see to it that she could handle herself, and it certainly seemed he'd gotten his wish - by the looks of it, she was handling herself just fine as the wife of a psychotic Death Eater.

Disgusted, he's about to leave his books and slip out a back door when a thought strikes him. Their disagreement was ideological, but it wasn't what had driven her off. It was possible she didn't harbor any ill feeling toward him. He's got no intention of falling in again with her - oh, no, she's made it perfectly clear what side of this war she's on - but if she doesn't hold things against him - if she still trusts him - it makes her a veritable wellspring of information.

It's a cruel idea, Remus knows. It's manipulative, and underhanded, and deeply unkind, but the Order is losing ground daily. He can't afford to be kind in the face of an opportunity like this. And yes, playing Evan Rosier's wife for a fool is deeply dangerous. But he can't afford caution, either, not with this kind of potential payoff.

Feeling none of the guilt he might have reasonably expected, he adopts an air of studied inattention and puts his nose in one of his books, stepping out to where he might be plainly visible.*

Date: 2011-08-22 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Showtime. He doesn't look up quickly enough to catch the guilt in her face, as he carefully waits until she's audibly responded to his presence. And from there it's all lies, painstakingly crafted nonverbal lies in the way he glances up, the rise and knit of his eyebrows, the tension that settles into his shoulders. It's a recreation of his real reaction moments before, without the disgust. He just hopes it's enough.*

...Amrita. Hello.

Date: 2011-08-22 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He returns the smile with one that's just as slight, and somewhat twisted at one corner as he glances her over.*

It has. You look well, though.

*This is said specifically to bring out the awkward contrast that's all too obvious - while she's draped in silks and gold, he's much the same as ever: slightly rumpled and slightly shabby, and slightly leaning to the sickly side of 'thin'. He does have new shoes since she last saw him (he's just discovered wingtip oxfords and thinks he might be in love with them), but the trousers, the button-down, the cardigan are all pieces she's seen him wear a dozen times or more. There's a frayed hem here, a careful patch there, and it's very intentionally that he draws attention to the gap between their situations. A rather manipulative ploy, of course, but he needs her feeling guilty and sympathetic.*

Date: 2011-08-22 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Remus smiles. It's probably the most forced smile he's ever managed in his entire life.*

I heard! Congratulations. It suits you.

Date: 2011-08-22 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He may, he thinks dryly, may be ill after all this, and shrugs slightly anyway.*

If you're happy....

Date: 2011-08-22 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He interrupts gently, waving the hand not supporting his books.*

Sirius has a rather biased take on a lot of those families. Understandably so, but it is biased.

Date: 2011-08-22 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Ah. That. He doesn't have to fake the way his gaze darkens, or the shadow in his face. He's been trying to carefully rectify some of those deeply buried prejudices over the last few months, but the whole row had easily been one of the most hurtful of their relationship. He's forgiven Sirius for it, but he hasn't forgotten. It's a work in progress.*

I know. He's got some frameworks from his upbringing he's trying to re-learn, I think. We talked about it after you left, I think he sees what the problem was.


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Date: 2011-08-23 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He Apparates home - usually he walks or takes the Tube, he likes it - but Remus has a sharp headache and an armful of books, and he was in no mood for a long walk or thick crowds. Once he's through the wards on the flat he sets the new books carelessly on the sofa on the way to the loo, making a b-line for the medicine cupboard and the little blue bottle of headache potion. He's about to need it.*

Date: 2011-08-23 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius is bustling to and fro in the kitchen, helping the dishes along washing themselves, and he hears Remus stomp in more than sees him. He calls out as he passes.*

Doesn't sound like you had a very relaxing walk.

Date: 2011-08-23 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*There's a pause before he answers, as he knocks back a dose of the potion. (It tastes awful, but then he's had more than enough experience with foul-tasting pain killers over the years.) He looks at himself in the mirror - cheeks still a bit pink in embarrassment, mouth tight, brown eyes darkened further with anger. He's a good enough liar to fool Amrita, but not Sirius. Never Sirius. He knows better than to try.*

- Not particularly.

Date: 2011-08-23 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*The dishes look like they might just be able to get along without him actively interfering, so he lets them go and emerges into the living room, drying his hands on a towel.*

What happened? Anything we need to worry about?

Date: 2011-08-23 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He laughs dryly, then gives himself a look in the mirror. May as well get this over with. Exhaling sharply, quietly, he slips back into the living room to meet Sirius with his arms folded.*

...Probably. I ran into Amrita.

Date: 2011-08-23 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*He pauses, and, inspecting Remus' expression, tosses the towel over his shoulder and mimics his stance: arms folded, lips pursed.*

She's still alive, then? Surprising.

Date: 2011-08-23 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
Oh. Alive and married and offering me financial assistance.

*It's a relief not to have to mask the bitterness in his voice, now, or the way his lip curls.*

Date: 2011-08-23 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
Well, we knew about the wedding, but--you talked to her? What, she just strolled up to you and tried to drop a sack of Rosier galleons in your lap?

Date: 2011-08-23 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Ah. Guilt flickers across his face, and he sighs, slipping past Sirius to collapse into an armchair.*

Not exactly. Promise me you'll hear me out before you start shouting.

Date: 2011-08-23 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius hates being this predictable only slightly more than he will probably hate the impending news. He doesn't sit, but he rubs his forehead once and then nods, trying desperately to keep a level head.*

All right. All right. Tell me what happened.

Date: 2011-08-23 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Carefully, he tries to present things as reasonably sounding as he possibly can.*

I ran into her in a bookshop, and we went for a coffee. I've got her trusting me again, it was way too easy, she's let her guard completely down - and I think - no, I'm sure - I can get information from her. On Rosier at least, probably others. This is too good an opportunity for the Order to pass up.

Date: 2011-08-23 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Remus is completely right. His first instinct is to shout. But he keeps his mouth shut until he takes a deep breath. It doesn't come out much better, but at least it comes out at a more reasonable volume.*

Have you completely lost your mind?

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