[identity profile] fatalfrenzy.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup
*The dog bears a reasonable resemblance to the Grim. It’s large, with a curly tail and long black fur, a mutt with some spaniel in and a stray, by the looks of things. But it’s handsome enough, well-fed and recently bathed, even. There’s a brand-new leather collar around its neck, a leash that’s tied loosely to the doorknob of the flat.

But the dog is three-legged. Recently so. It isn’t barking or thrashing; no, it’s standing quietly and very still in the hall on its three shaking paws, panting shallowly, its dark eyes bright with pain. The wound that was once its right foreleg is starting to crust over, but only barely: there’s fresh smears of blood on the door, and on the floor of the hall. As the door opens, the dog starts to whimper.

The handsome leather collar bears a brass plate, engraved only: THIEF.*

Date: 2011-08-31 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*They don't get a lot of surprise company. All the people they know either know how to get through the wards, or just shout through the door to hurry up and open it, or write before coming by. This is lucky, as it generally allows Remus time to hide any overt evidence in the bedroom that he does not, actually sleep on the pull-out couch.

He's nearest to the door when the bell rings, and gives Sirius a funny look before getting up to get it, asking him to check the bedroom for anything too incriminating. Rarely incautious, he looks out the peep hole first - nothing. With a small frown, he raises his voice just enough to be heard through the wood.*

Who is it?

*He waits. Nothing.*

Hello?

*Still nothing. That's never good. Alarms ringing in his head and the pit of his stomach cold with apprehension, Remus retrieves his wand from the couch and carefully opens the wards, then the locks, armed and ready for a fight. His wand's raised when he tugs the door open - but there's no one there. It's only a soft whimper that draws his attention downward (the door opening had tugged the leash sharply, he realizes blankly), and his heart seizes in fear. All he can think of is the sheep's head as he backs off a step, caution winning out over compassion for the moment. This could too, too easily be a trap, and his voice is sharply strained.*

Sirius!

Date: 2011-08-31 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius hadn't been hovering--no need, Remus is capable--but at that tone, he comes careening out to the doorway. His face is flushed, but it loses all color when he sees what's set Remus shouting.*

Oh, fuck--

*Without thinking, he unties the leash and crouches, reaching to the dog to scratch its ears, and then stopping--it looks just like his old dog too, he thinks bitterly. There's only one person who would do this.*

I'm going to kill her.

Date: 2011-08-31 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He's not listening, too on guard to be paying close attention to what Sirius is saying. He's far more concerned with what he's doing, as he leans out into the hall to see if anyone's still around.*

Don't touch it, it could be cursed -

Date: 2011-08-31 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
It's a dog, Remus, she's just doing this to mess with me, like she did with the wine, that wasn't cursed or poisoned either. She wanted me to think it was but she doesn't have the patience . . .

*But he's pulled out his wand, crouching before the dog, and begins to run a few small spells to check. The dog snaps at his wand as it moves past his face and lets out a low growl. Sirius draws back.*

--We need to get Ted.

Date: 2011-08-31 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Satisfied that the corridor's empty, Remus finally lets his guard drop just a bit and looks down at the dog. He's still more distracted by the realization that of course it's Bellatrix, not Greyback, but sympathy begins kicking in as he recognizes the fear, the pain, that it's clearly in. Sickened as he looks at where the leg should be, he nods.*

...Right. I - we shouldn't try Apparating with it, it'd scare it to death - I could just go get him - ?

Date: 2011-08-31 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
Yeah--you'd better, I don't--hell, there's blood everywhere. We have to get him inside and clean up before someone calls the police.

*He tugs on the leash and the dog resists, still growling. But its leather collar twists, and the plate bearing his title catches the light. Sirius has been so caught up in the wound that the real message hasn't gotten through. He freezes, fixed by the horror of the real message. It's not just an random taunt. It's a very specific threat.*

Date: 2011-08-31 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He's still too much in high-alert mode to have noticed, either, and he's just about to Disapparate when Sirius freezes. Not catching it, he looks between the pair of them distractedly.*

Sirius?

Date: 2011-08-31 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
She knows I--

*Sirius swallows, looking sick and furious.*

She knows about stealing Reg's jacket and papers. And she's guessed how. Look.

Date: 2011-08-31 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*If he'd felt sickened before, it's nothing to now. Remus's face falls right along with his stomach, his voice going soft and plainly frightened.*

Oh.

Date: 2011-08-31 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*There's a hard set in Sirius' jaw, now, fear solidifying down into determined anger.*

I'll bring him in and clean up out here. Go, get Ted. We'll figure out the rest later.

*He gives the leash a hard yank, and the dog lets out a yelp and hops forward a step.*

Date: 2011-08-31 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Shaken but refocusing, he nods, slips past the protection of the wards, and vanishes on the spot. He reappears the next instant in the middle of a barn, lined on either side with rows of stalls. A unicorn blinks at him from one; a manticore eyes him balefully from another. (No doubt it resents its current living arrangements, and on any other day Remus would be rapt at the prospect of getting to speak with one, but not now.)

Looking around quickly, he starts for the nearest door to what looks like it may be an office.*

Ted - ?

Date: 2011-08-31 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Oh, hallo Remus.

*Ted greets him warmly without looking up, as he's elbow-deep in paperwork. Still, he's fairly nonchalant about Remus walking unannounced into his very, very messy office--that sort of thing happens quite a bit around here.*

What can I do for you?

*He puts down his quill, though, and automatically spins in his chair to look at a very large and much scribbled-upon wall calendar. The month of July is illustrated by a disarmingly adorable niffler pup, and four days from today there's drawn in purple ink a large and sloppy circle representing the full moon.*

One of those things? You'd do better with a Healer obviously but I've got some Palliapaste teeth chews in case--hold on, where are they--

Date: 2011-08-31 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*The full moon is so very far from Remus's attention just now that, for a second, he doesn't understand what Ted's talking about. When it clicks he almost wishes it hadn't; as though he'd go to a veterinarian for that, ever, he's not a bloody animal (at least usually and certainly not now), but this is no time to get angry. He swallows it down with only the tension in his jaw to show for it, and makes himself move on.*

No, there's a dog at the flat who's had a leg taken off, could you - ?

Date: 2011-08-31 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
*The pleasant half-smile falls off his face in an instant, and just like that he's all-business, sliding his wand into his pocket and rising from his seat and scooping up a battered leather bag somehow all at once, not to mention sticking his head out the door to call to an unseen colleague.*

I've never been, you'll have to Side-Along me--Lysandra, out on a call--come on then, let's go.

*He looks at Remus expectantly, almost impatiently holding out his arm, as Right, Ted filters in from the next room.*

Date: 2011-08-31 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*A bit startled by the sudden change - he's never seen Ted be anything but happy-go-lucky, with a calm to rival that of Remus himself - he takes a firm grip on his arm and takes both of them back home. He leads the way inside at once.*

Here. Your sister-in-law having another of her little jokes, we think.

Date: 2011-08-31 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius has managed to coax the dog inside, and cleaned up outside. When the pair enters, he's pushing a bowl of water at it in hopes it might drink; the poor thing's been re-tied to the leg of the couch, so it can't stray too far. He makes a face and rises to his feet.*

Sorry to call you in like this, Ted, but--well, you can see for yourself.

Date: 2011-09-01 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Oh, Christ--

*As he follows Remus into the flat, Ted's face (ordinarily so open and pleasant and quick with a smile) drops into something harsh and instantly frightening. But the expression is only there for a moment: as he drops to one knee in front of the dog, hastily sliding the water bowl out of the way, it softens, his voice lowering to something fond and businesslike.*

Hello, mister, come on, then--

*The first thing he does is reach out his wand, quickly, before the poor terrified fellow can bite. The incantation is wordless, but it works instantly to numb the pain, and the change is just as instant: the dog stops pulling, stops shaking, and its hackles slowly lower. As he opens his bag, Ted tosses a low remark over his shoulder.*

I've had about enough of that vicious guttertrash--why this time?

Date: 2011-09-01 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
The vow. She figured out Sirius knows more than he's told about Regulus, and this is her...commentary.

*He's standing a few feet back from the others with his arms folded, watching Ted work. It's not that he's not worried about the dog - he is, truly - but he's at the part of the lunar cycle where things like this get a little too interesting to him. He refuses to play into that instinct, doesn't even want to acknowledge it, and so he's got every intention of watching from a short distance. Let Ted assume he's squeamish, that's fine, but he's not comfortable getting hands-on with exposed muscle and bone and blood just now.*

Date: 2011-09-01 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Fucking--

*But there's no swearword that properly encapsulates how he feels about her--bitch and whore are inaccurate, not to mention insulting to perfectly decent animals and prostitutes everywhere--so he gives up, stroking the dog's ruff with one hand even as he mutters the incantation to stop the bleeding.*

Did you get the leg?

Date: 2011-09-01 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
Course not. She wouldn't chance us sticking it back on. It'd be missing the point, wouldn't it.

*Sirius looks just as angry as Ted, if not more so, and he watches him work.*

I'll kill her if I get even half a chance. Trust me on that.

Date: 2011-09-01 05:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Yeah, sure.

*It's barely more polite than a whatever, and significantly more polite than a you got us all into this mess. Either way, Ted's attention is now wholly on the dog. He's already unclasped the collar and set it aside, and now he probes into the wound with his wand, mending muscle and capping bone. As he works, he keeps up a steady murmur, and the dog is quiet, permissive, almost spellbound.*

Well, it'll be three legs for you, then, you'll get on all right, up we go--whoopsy-daisy--

Date: 2011-09-01 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Letting both remarks pass without comment - of course Sirius would swear that, and of course Ted wouldn't put stock in it - he looks away from the dog's wound to nothing in particular. Anything's better.*

Is it going to be alright? The dog?

Date: 2011-09-01 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Of course he is. Wasn't poisoned or cursed or anything and that woman was good enough to cut him clean. Look at him, he's in the very pink.

*The black dog in question is doing his level best, now, to lick Ted's face. Ted's good-naturedly brushing him off as he packs the wound with thick bluish-white paste.*

You've got bigger problems.

Date: 2011-09-01 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Relaxing a little as the wound is occluded, Remus gives a twisted little smile.*

You mean the kind involving mad Death Eaters with personal vendettas? Yes, I rather think so.

Date: 2011-09-01 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius' face, if possible, grows harder. He's not at all interested in a lecture just now but it seems one may be inevitable. Still, he tries to not sound to combative.*

What do you suggest?

Date: 2011-09-01 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
Me? Nothing, I've long since run out of ideas about Bellatrix. Ted?

*He's being intentionally neutral to try and counteract the acerbic note in Sirius's voice. He's not sure it'll work - he's too keyed up, Remus suspects - but he has to try. As always.*

Date: 2011-09-01 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
*He sighs, sharply, and for a moment, it's clear on his face: that Bellatrix has been considerably more a presence in his life than either of theirs. From the early days when he and Dromeda were dating, to that last horrible Christmas she had spent at home--from the closed caskets at his parents' funeral to holding his wife close at their kitchen table, treating the burn on her chest with the same stuff that he's wiping off his hands even now. And, finally, this poor three-legged mutt who's awfully sweet, actually, once you get to know him.

His voice is low, but steady.*

Well, you're going to have to kill her.

Date: 2011-09-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius' eyebrows jump up. He's never heard this kind of talk, not out of Ted, and never so firmly.*

I know that.

If we give her half a chance, next time it'll be a legless Muggle bleeding out in our hallway.

Date: 2011-09-01 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Right.

*But that brings up a memory, a bad one--when they told him not to look at them but of course he had looked, and his father had been jointed, there was no other word for it--

A bit gruffly, he addresses the dog.*

See, you're all right. Give it a whirl.

Date: 2011-09-01 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Watching the dog take a few experimental hop-steps, Remus elaborates in a dark undertone.*

If not one of us.

Date: 2011-09-01 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
I'm no assassin. She knows me too well, wouldn't let me get close. Unless you have an idea, Ted?

Date: 2011-09-01 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
You're an Auror, aren't you? Do whatever it is they're up to, if Lovegood's lunatic rag has even got the tenth part of it.

Not that I know. I'm in the fixing business.

Date: 2011-09-01 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
I'm a junior Auror. I barely have the authority to bring someone in and fill out the paperwork. And if it were that easy, Moody would have brought in Malfoy by now.

Date: 2011-09-01 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
We'd all be so lucky.

...I take it his name isn't Thief.

*The dog in question is jumping up on Ted where he's still seated on the floor.*

Date: 2011-09-01 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
I wasn't--

*Sirius is completely thrown, and it shows.*

It just happened, Ted, I was more worried about someone calling the police or Bellatrix lying in wait for us.

Date: 2011-09-02 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Yeah.

He's a nice enough sort, don't you think?

*This is addressed mostly to Remus, and to say the dog has taken to Ted is a considerable understatement. And he'd rather talk about the dog than the sister-in-law, all things considered.*

Where do you suppose he came from?

Date: 2011-09-03 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*He can't really blame Ted for wanting to change the subject, though he knows he and Sirius are nowhere near done with it. That can wait.*

A stray, I suppose? He certainly seems fond of you, at any rate.

*With the open wound out of sight, he steps forward at last and drops into a crouch, holding out a hand quietly for the dog to sniff.*

Date: 2011-09-03 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius looks down. The dog is so close to his own animagus form, and the guilt of his resemblance hanging around his neck like a millstone, but the thing seems to be all right, almost--or at least hold the promise of all right, somewhere.*

Thief isn't the worst name you could give a dog. Named mine Pollux when I was a kid.

Though I'll bet Dora will want to rename him.

Date: 2011-09-03 02:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*Sirius's expression takes Remus a bit off-guard when he glances up - he'd expected tension, or more anger, but not guilt. His own expression softening, he gives him a small, approving smile at the offer for Dora: well done.*

Date: 2011-09-03 04:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
*It occurs to Ted that it's a little odd how they've all assumed the dog is leaving with him, but as he looks down at him, maybe it isn't odd at all. He almost laughs, then, turning his face up to Remus.*

I'm not about to leave him with you two. This one'd forget to feed him or try and give him gods-damned salad.

Sure no teeth chews? Speak of the devil, they did wonders for Dora when she was, you know--

*He taps his own teeth, with the hand that isn't still scratching the dog.*

Date: 2011-09-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] looneyloopy.livejournal.com
*The smile grows a bit thin at that, as Remus tries to be polite. He doesn't have anything against Ted, but that doesn't make him less offended.*

It's not like teething. But thank you anyway.

Date: 2011-09-04 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seniortonks.livejournal.com
Fair 'nuff. I think I'll take him and go, if that's all right. I'm sure you two have plenty to talk about.

*He picks up the collar gingerly, touching it as little as possible, and offers it to Sirius as he finally stands.*

As do Dromeda and I.

Date: 2011-09-06 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleasaremurder.livejournal.com
*Sirius takes the collar like it's a dead thing. He wants to say something about it--like it's not his fault that he's related to insane Death Eaters who like to mutilate animals--but it is his fault that she's out for his blood, and Andy has managed to avoid most of Bellatrix's anger despite their closer relationship. Sirius is only just willing to admit to himself it's more than just luck that keeps Andy off Bellatrix's mailing list.*

Right.

Thank you for coming, Ted.

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