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Title: Finding the Will
Rating: All Audiences
Characters: Remus Lupin and Tonks; frequent references to Sirius Black
Setting: One week After Order of the Phoenix and one week before Half-Blood Prince
Format: Fic (just over 1,600 words)
Summary: "Remus slowly, painfully stepped over the threshold into the house where Sirius had grown-up and where he had spent his last miserable year."
Also Posted at: This was originally written for Prompt 10 (June 25) of the rt_challenge: One Year of Canon Ficathon: picture of the burned out match found here.
Disclaimer: I own none of this. J. K. Rowling and assorted companies including but not limited to Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and Warner Brothers own everything. They also make all the money. I am just having fun and in no way seek financial profit from their property.
Note: Angst.

Finding the Will

Remus Lupin stood frozen with his hand on a door that he could not bring himself to push open. He had not been back since the day after Sirius had died. That was the day the Order of the Phoenix had hurriedly cleaned out the house on Dumbledore's orders. Remus knew he had helped with that but could not remember doing so. His mind had been elsewhere that day. It had been at the Ministry of Magic, watching in horror as his last remaining boyhood friend fell in battle. It had been at Hogwarts, fretting over the well being of an amazing young man who had suffered far too much in his fifteen years. It had been at St. Mungo's, anxiously awaiting news of the health of the woman he was coming to love. It had certainly not been here.

A small hand on his arm brought him back to the present. "You don't have to do this," Tonks whispered.

"Yes, I do," he whispered back as he finally pushed open the front door to number twelve, Grimmauld Place. The entry was dark. Tonks and Remus both held their wands in front of them but neither used them to illuminate the gloom. Dumbledore's orders had been quite specific. The Order had to establish the true owner of Sirius' old house. The first step was to find his will and Remus was the one with the best chance of finding Sirius' hiding place since he knew Sirius best. Until they knew the fate of the old Black mansion, they could not risk being detected there. They had to find the will, but they were not to use magic inside the house unless it became absolutely necessary for self-defense.

Remus slowly, painfully stepped over the threshold into the house where Sirius had grown-up and where he had spent his last miserable year. Tonks followed him inside, carefully avoiding the troll leg umbrella stand that had proved to be her worst nemesis in the cursed house. She pulled a box of Muggle matches from a pocket of her robes while he closed the front door. Straining to see in the dim light filtering through the windows, he pulled two old torches from their stands on the wall and silently held them out towards her. She struck a match; the acrid smell of sulfur filled the room as the small flame flickered, fighting against the darkness. The fire easily caught on the oil soaked rag of the torches. She blew out the match. Its smoke drifted toward the ceiling before being lost to sight in the general gloom of the house.

He handed her a torch. They stood in the flickering firelight in silence. Too many memories flooded through him. Sirius stalking up the stairs as the other Order members left after a meeting. Mrs. Black's portrait yelling about her blood-traitor son and the mud-bloods, half-bloods, and shape-shifters he had brought into her home. Kreacher slinking off to hide some old treasure he was trying to save from Sirius' wrathful attempts to find his revenge on his family by discarding everything Black he could find. At least that was one problem they would not have to face today, Remus thought. Dumbledore had taken Kreacher elsewhere to prevent him from again running to Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, or any other Black relative the house elf respected.

"We'd better stay together and keep our wands out," he finally said. "Just in case." He did not need to say just in case what. Tonks well knew that.

"Yeah," she murmured, her voice sounding alien to his ears without its usual cheerful tone. "Where do you want to start?"

"The library," he answered without a moment of hesitation. "That was where we would go in the evenings to chat if he was in a good enough mood. It will be in there or down in the kitchen. He hated every other room in this house too much to hide something as personal as a will in them." She nodded and together they started down the hallway.

As soon as they entered the library, they realized the enormity of their task. There were thousands of volumes on the dusty shelves. The will could be hidden in any of their pages and searching them all without magic could take days. They looked at each other with identical despondent expressions. "We have to find it," he finally said.

She rubbed his arm comfortingly. "We will. My dad always said the best motivation is knowing you have no other option. We have to find it so we will find it."

He smiled in spite of himself. "We will find a will, Nymphadora?"

"Yeah," she said, the corners of her lips curving upwards to mirror his slight grin.

He looked at her for another moment and then sighed deeply. "Lets get started."

They were on their third bookshelf when he stopped, staring at the dry and cracked book in his hands. "Did you find it?" she asked.

"No," he tried to whisper but he was uncertain the sound got beyond his lips.

She peered closely at the book in his hands. "Oh, Remus," she said in response to the title: The Animagus Spell: Myth and Mystery. She of course knew the basics of the story of the Marauders.

"This book never actually explains how to do the spell, but it is where they first got the idea. I remember Sirius coming back after Christmas second year talking about this book he found in his library at home and the great idea he had." Small drops of water began to appear on the cover of the old tome. He was slightly surprised to realize they were his tears. His voice hoarser than normal, he kept talking. He could not stop. "Sirius was the first living thing I ever saw as a werewolf. At home, I was locked in the cellar and at Hogwarts, I transformed inside the Shrieking Shack so I never saw anything or anybody. They didn't tell me when they finally got the spell correct. They just showed up one full moon. The other two waited outside by the Whomping Willow while Sirius came in alone to get me."

He felt the comforting weight of her arm around his shoulders, but still he kept talking. "That was the best part about this past year. Even though I had the wolfsbane, he insisted on transforming into the dog during the full moons. For the first time in years, I had my pack mate back. And now he's gone again." Remus barely managed to choke out the last few words. He began to sob. Just as he had not been able to stop the words spilling from him, he could not stop the tears. Tonks pulled him closer and he buried his face in the side of her neck, his tears soaking the collar of her shirt. She held him and said nothing. After a few moments his tears subsided enough for him to speak, though his words were muffled by Tonks' body. "He hated this place. He was stuck here as a child, then Azkaban, and then back here. He never got to live." He pulled back and looked at Tonks. Her concern for him and her sorrow for Sirius warred for dominance in her features.

"He certainly didn't have a very fair life," she agreed. "But," she continued, "he told some pretty amazing stories about his time at school and immediately after with you and James and…" She trailed off as everyone always did when this subject arose.

"And Peter," he finished the thought. "Yes, we had some great times. Until Peter betrayed everyone and everything. Peter killed James and Lily; he ruined Sirius' life, and then killed him as well. If I had nothing else to fight for, making Peter pay would be enough."

"But you do have other reasons to fight," she gently whispered.

"I know," he bent his neck so their foreheads were touching. "Thank you for helping me remember that." After far too brief an eternity, he reluctantly pulled from her embrace. "We still need to find his will."

She nodded and turned to examine the bookshelves. "Too bad we can't just accio Sirius' will," she said.

"Yeah. There has to be something I'm missing." He considered the bookshelves. "Look for a book on Quidditch, stags, or Muggle detective novels," he said slowly.

"What?" she stared at him blankly.

"Look for a book on Quidditch, stags, or Muggle detective novels," he repeated more forcefully. "James. Sirius would have wanted Harry to be able to find his will so he would have hidden it someplace connected to James."

"Muggle detective novels?" she asked.

"James gave him some for Christmas every year. James always wanted to be an Auror and giving Sirius books about Muggle detectives played on that and poked fun at the Black pureblood nonsense Sirius so despised. It was one of their many inside jokes."

With this odd plan for narrowing their search, they quickly dismissed the contents of five bookshelves without having to examine a single volume. On the sixth shelf, Tonks found an old copy of Quidditch Through The Ages. Chapter Seven: Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland included notes in James' and Sirius' handwriting on the relative merits of each of the professional teams as well as the Hogwarts' teams of their school years. Wedged into the middle of the chapter was a sheaf of papers. "Found it," Remus said without emotion as he held the Last Will and Testament of Sirius Black.

"Shall we get out of here and take it to Dumbledore?" Tonks asked.

"You should go home. I'll take it to Dumbledore. He wants to speak with me alone anyway. He mentioned something about possibly having another mission for me."

They walked to the front door. Just before they left, Remus extinguished their two torches. Silence and darkness once again blanketed the house of Black.

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xela30991 at 12:44 am on 23 July 2006 (UTC) (Link)
oh no he is gonna tell him about the werewolf mission isnt?
bratty_jedi at 11:23 pm on 24 July 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, yes. The way I figure, at the end of OotP, Tonks' hair is bright pink at the train station so everything is fine between Remus and her. Two weeks later, at the start of H-BP, she can't morph and is drab brown. We know Sirius' will was founf in the middle of those two weeks because that is what Dumbledore tells Harry. I'm assuming the break up and the start of Remus werewolf mission also occur in those two weeks due to Tonks losing the ability to morph. I just kind of combined the two.
kileaiya at 11:50 pm on 03 September 2006 (UTC) (Link)
EARGH. That durned mission. Old Dumbles *tear* had a good reason for it though, I'm positively positive. *sniffle* I miss Sirius and Dumbledore. It's odd how attached you can become to characters in a book.
bratty_jedi at 1:33 am on 04 September 2006 (UTC) (Link)
I will probably crawl into a cave and cry for a week if Remus dies in Book 7! I miss Sirius and Dumbledore, but I'm so attached to Remus, and always have been, I'm not sure I could handle his death.

I'm sure Dumbledore never intended for Remus to end everything with Tonks for the mission. That was just Remus being Remus.
kileaiya at 2:00 am on 04 September 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I know! Remus is my favorite character, and I've been telling everyone who'll listen about how they might as well just leave me be for a month if he dies in book 7 because I will cry my eyes out!

By the way, do you mind if I friend?
bratty_jedi at 4:03 pm on 04 September 2006 (UTC) (Link)
Friend away. Though I should warn you that I will friend back ;)

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