Subject: [FFML] [HP][Draft 1] Paladin Chapter 1
From: StudioPC
Date: 11/13/2006, 12:07 AM
To: FFML

Note: An idea that came to me one day. New chapters as I write them.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the creation of J.K. Rowling. No money is  
being made from this and no such intent should be inferred.

-----------------

Somewhere in Germany . . .

She strode towards him from the smoke of battle. She was clad in  
armor, red hair tied back in a braid, and her face was dirt streaked.  
A cut on her arm was bleeding and she carried a sword in one hand and  
a war hammer in the other.

"Beautiful," sighed Parvaras, last of the Forest Gods. "What a fine  
tumble
she'd be."

"She's married," Remus Lupin said. It was on his shoulder that  
Parvaras sat, as the God was only six inches tall.

"Engaged to be," Parvaras corrected with a disdainful sniff. "You  
mortals and your obsession with fidelity."

"It's a failing," agreed Remus affably. "But a sense of permanence  
helps when we don't have all of eternity." He stuck his hands in his  
pockets. "In any case, she works for you. Dipping into the company  
pool, as we say, never goes well."

"Nonsense," Parvarus disagreed, "why, there was a time when maidens  
came from far and wide for night in my arms as warriors toasted my  
name before battle."

"And those maidens were also those warrior's wives, sisters, and  
daughters," Remus pointed out. "They all left you sooner or later.  
Now there's just her."

"Now there's just her," Parvaras agreed. "But really, why did she  
have to ignore the old ways?"

"Sword Oath," Remus pointed out. "Sex wasn't covered in there, I  
believe."

"What's this about sex?" said the red-haired woman as she reached  
them. She slid the sword into its sheath, which was strapped across  
her back and hung the hammer on her belt. Then she pulled off her  
glove to wipe sweat  and dirt from her forehead, the steel band inset  
with a diamond glinting in the sun. It was a simple ring, but the  
diamond and that it was on the ring finger of her left hand  
proclaimed that but one person had the key to her heart.

"Your deity and I were discussing the finer points of the Paladin and  
God contractual obligation," Remus said. "I trust it went well?"

Ginerva "Ginny" Weasley scowled. "He rabbited before I could get  
close enough."

"Pity," Remus said. "I was all set to have a long talk with him too."  
There was a dangerous light in his eyes, that something inhuman  
lurked behind the quiet agreeability of the man clad in old robes and  
patched cloak.

"Next time," Ginny promised. "Malfoy can't hide forever and neither  
can Riddle. I'll string them up by their guts for what they've put me  
through. Just for starters."

It seemed a bit harsh, Remus mused, but it was their fault. After  
all, if they hadn't tried to conquer this world, Ginny would never  
have been pulled from hers.

On their own heads be it.

* * * *

Six months ago . . .

Remus hummed as he did dishes. To an outsider, it might seem odd, but  
Remus had always taken a certain satisfaction in it. Even when he'd  
worn the black of the Death Eaters, he'd enjoyed doing the dishes.

It drove Severus nuts, in a metaphorical sense, of course, and they'd  
often had long discussions, even arguments, about wasting time with  
dishes when there was house elves to do it. Or even a simple spell.

To do it by hand was so . . . so . . . Muggleish.

Remus preferred to think of it as a calming activity. When upset,  
Severus had locked himself in his lab, Lucias would turn his opera to  
ear splitting volumes, and Remus did dishes.

He held up a dish to the light and then scrubbed at a speck of food  
that clung stubbornly to the ceramic. Ah.

But then Severus had decided that Voldemort was wrong about . . .   
many things and left the Death Eaters. Remus had gone with him, not  
so much out of disagreement with Voldemort's ideals, but . . . he  
supposed friendship had as much to do with it as anything.

Remus was honest enough with himself to admit that he needed to be  
around people. He suspected it was the wolf in him and wolves were  
social people, of a sort. In short, Remus did not like to be alone.

But was this any better? The Order of the Phoenix was all but broken.  
Severus was half insane, McGonagall preferred to live in the past,  
and Granger was pretty much catatonic, or at least refused to leave  
the library.

"Wotcher, Remus," said a voice.

"Miss Tonks," Remus said.

Almost as tall as Remus, with short hair (at least today) and a touch  
of the distinctive Black chin, Nymphadora Tonks was courageous,  
personally moralistic, and highly attractive. In many ways, she was  
much like a wolf herself and his inner wolf found that very  
interesting. It may have also been that she was not afraid of the  
fact that during the full moon, Remus got very hairy and "extremely  
irritable" as young Draco Malfoy had put it.

But honestly, he was really interested in her because she was the  
only other one in the Order who had any sort of grip on reality and  
thus could actually have a conversation with him about things that  
did not involve the war or the past, or . . . he thought about the  
three hours Severus had spent last week ranting about "Potions  
Goblins" when he should have been trying to come up with something  
for the war.

"A war," Remus scoffed as he rinsed his hands of soap and took down  
two tea mugs as Tonks set the kettle on the stove. "It's only a war  
if there's two sides."

"Otherwise it's a massacre," Tonks finished. "Kingsley Shacklebolt."

"All's quiet, I assume?" Lupin asked.

Tonks nodded. "Ghosts are on watch, Children are tucked away in their  
beds and Filch has locked down the castle for the night." She poured  
them each a cup of tea and added a bit of firewhiskey to hers. "I  
don't like being stuck here in Hogwarts, Remus."

"McGonagall's idea," Remus said. He finished the dishes and let the  
water drain out before he joined her at the table. "This is still the  
most secure place in all of Europe. She's the leader, Tonks."

"Bollocks!" Tonks exclaimed. "You're the one everyone listens to,  
Remus. Why don't you take charge?" She leaned closer. "I'd follow you."

Remus managed a small smile. "I'm not a leader, Tonks. I'm a  
follower. Simple as that."

She let out a snort and stood. "Only in yer own head." With that, she  
left the kitchen.

Remus washed the mugs and dried his hands.

Hogwarts had been a school once, a grand school. Now, its outer walls  
lay in ruins, with only the central keep, the greenhouse, and a tower  
or two left intact. When once hundreds of people lived in its wall,  
they were down to perhaps twenty, most of them children, orphaned by  
the war. What few adults there were did what they could, but the  
Order was what everyone relied on to stay safe . . . The Order. He  
scoffed again. Him and Tonks, really.

Shaking his head, he went to turn out the light when he heard the  
sound of footsteps.

"Miss Tonks?" Remus asked, years of fighting causing his hand to  
hover near his wand pocket.

But instead a girl, a young woman, really, came through the door. She  
was tall and fair-skinned, with red hair done up in curlers. She wore  
only a thin nightgown, but one hand gripped a wand, the end glowing  
in a lumos spell.

She was very beautiful.

"Professor Lupin?" She asked as she saw him and a look of relief  
washed over her face and she ran towards him. "What's going on? The  
paintings are gone, the castle's in ruins and--" she broke off and  
stared at him and then the wand snapped up in a way that told Remus  
that she knew how to use it. "You're not Professor Lupin."

"No, I'm not." Remus said and carefully crossed his arms, moving  
deliberately. "And I have no idea who you are, either." He gave her a  
smile. "Remus Lupin."

"Ginny Weasley," the wand lowered slightly, but stayed pointed at  
him. "Where am I?"

"Hogwarts," Remus replied. "What's left of it, anyway. How did you  
get here?"

"I'm asking the questions!" She snapped, wand jerking back up.

So she had no idea. Remus made a mental note of that. "Of course you  
are," Remus said and bowed his head. "Sorry."

She looked confused, several thoughts clearly visible on her face.  
"I . . ."

"Remus, I -- expelliarmus!" Remus caught Ginny's wand as it flew  
towards him and nodded to Tonks.

"Thank you."

"Any time," Tonks said. "Who's this?"

"She's asking the questions," Remus said and casually threw Ginny's  
wand back to her with one hand and drawing his with the other, but  
crossed his arms. "Do continue."

However, Ginny seemed to have been thrown by Tonks' appearance, and  
ran her left hand through her hair in a gesture of pure fustration.  
Remus noted the ring on her left hand. So she was married, or at  
least engaged.

Ginny's wand stayed pointed at him, but she was watching Tonks, who  
had her wand aimed at Ginny and was watching him.

"If I may," Remus said into the silence, "why don't we all put our  
wands away and have a seat before something unpleasant happens? I  
just finished cleaning the kitchen and I'd hate to see it damaged in  
a duel." He slipped his wand back into his pocket and after a moment,  
Tonks did the same.

Ginny did not have pockets, but she did put the wand up, not down.  
Interesting.

As the three of them sat at the table, Remus quickly analyzed what he  
knew so far.

Ginny Weasley. early 20's Engaged/Married. Trained in magical combat,  
though some aspects had been left out. Origins unknown, but wherever  
she was from, he was a professor, a thought he intended to be amused  
at later. Hogwarts was also unspoiled. She didn't panic easy and had  
good observational skills. This left two possibilities for her origins.

"May I ask a question? He said. "Thank you," he continued, not  
waiting for a yes or no. "What is the date?"

She blinked at him. "Date?"

"You seem to be dressed for bed, so chances are, you woke up and  
found yourself here. What was the date when you went to sleep?"

"July thirty-first, two thousand and one.  It was about nine o'clock  
at night."

Remus checked his watch. Nine thirty and today was still the thirty- 
first. Which eliminated time travel from the future, and left only  
one explanation.

"It would seem, Miss Weasley," Remus said, "that you are no longer in  
your own universe."

She stared at him.

"How'd you figure that?" Tonks demanded.

Remus ticked off the salient points on his fingers. "One, she called  
me 'Professor', a title I've never held. Two, last she knew, its  
today's date and half an hour ago. When she went to sleep, Hogwarts  
was intact, but as far as I know, its been this way since Greyback  
and his wolves laid waste to the castle back in ninety-six. Three,  
she's exhibiting none of the signs associated with memory loss or  
hallucinations, which leaves trans-universal travel."

"And you wonder why I think you should be leading the Order instead  
of McGonagall," Tonks said.

"Order?" Ginny asked. "McGonagall? What happened to Hogwarts?"

* * * *

Tonks fetched a robe for Ginny while Remus made more tea and the  
three of them spent the rest of the night comparing notes.

Remus was amused to learn that in Ginny's world he'd been sorted into  
Gryffindor, was more or less enemies with Severus and currently  
engaged to Tonks.

 From what Ginny knew of her Remus' childhood, he'd met two boys on  
the train to Hogwarts and the three of them, along with one Peter  
Pettigrew, had formed a group called the Marauders. So close was  
their friendship that when they learned their friend was a werewolf,  
they spent two years learning to be Animagai all on their own, just  
so Remus would have company during the full moon.

Unfortunately, Remus had never heard of James Potter or Peter  
Pettigrew. He did vaguely recall the name Sirius Black from his  
school days. A grim fellow, Hufflepuff, if he recalled correctly.  
Remus had been sorted into Slytherin in this world where he'd shared  
a dorm with Severus Snape. Severus had made no such study of Animagi,  
and in fact, had given no outward sign that he cared where his fellow  
student went every month.

But nonetheless, a strange friendship had formed between the two of  
them and from his fifth year on, Remus often found an odd remedy or  
two for pain on his nightstand after the full moon. In a sense, they  
were both outcasts and that brought them together.

 From there, Ginny went on to explain that in her world, a procephy  
was made concerning Voldemort. According to it, the one with the  
power to defeat Voldemort would be born in July of eighty-one. He  
would have power that that Voldemort knew not, and the Dark Lord  
would mark him as an equal.

That boy was named Harry Potter, and it had been him Ginny was due to  
marry and when she talked of him, she was clearly head over heels in  
love.

Remus knew of no such procephy and Dumbledore had died during  
Greyback's attack, so there was no way to ask him. Unsure what else  
to do, they decided to get some sleep. Tonks installed Ginny on the  
sofa in her room and Remus went to see Granger.

Hermione Granger was a Ravenclaw, brilliantly clever and very brave,  
but she'd suffered in the attack, spending a full minute under the  
Cruitacius and it had all but destroyed that mind of hers. Now she  
lived in Hogwarts' library, hissing at anyone who entered save for  
McGonagall. It was a pity, he'd had a chance to talk with her before  
the attack and her brilliance had struck him. It came and went these  
days.

Entering the library, he closed the door behind him. "Miss Granger?  
It's Remus Lupin. Might I have a word?"

"Bad day. No words." Remus regarded the large cat sitting on the  
checkout desk. "Memories." The Kneazle wasn't actually speaking in  
what most would label words, and it was only because of the fact that  
Remus was a werewolf that he was able to speak with Crookshanks in  
the first place and then imperfectly.

"I'm afraid it's urgent, Crookshanks," Remus replied. "I can't wait."  
He took one step forward and Crookshanks leapt at him, forcing Remus  
to dodge.

"Bad day! Stupid human! Safety!" Crookshanks leapt back to the top of  
the checkout desk and glared at him. "You!" he added for emphasis.

 From somewhere in the stacks, he heard a shrieking cackle. Perhaps  
Crookshanks had a point.

"All right," Remus said, "But when she's more . . . coherent, let her  
know that I need a word with her." With that, he exited, but left the  
door slightly open and then waited.

 From inside, he heard soft, shuffling footsteps.

"Who was that? Was it someone bad?" The voice was a woman's, soft and  
crooning. "Can't be disturbed, almost done. Opened the door last  
night, I think. Better world, sweet Crookshanks, better world for  
everyone."

The footsteps faded away back into the depths of the library and  
Remus headed back towards his room, lost in thought.

That was interesting . . . that was very interesting. Oh my, yes.

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