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A/N: 
Special thanks to my beta readers bluemoon and becca venable.

Disclaimer: In the unlikely event that I become an actual published author,  everything created by JKR will have to part ways with everything created by me.  Back in the real world of...ahem...fan fiction shall we go read a story ;)
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Between Worlds
A Marauders Era Fan Fiction
by
Mischief Managed aka
Vampiremouse

Chapter 4: Pictures and Memories

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Amos Longbottom was sincerely lost in thought. He hated to see a woman of pureblood cry, even if she had been foolish enough to marry beneath her station. He had to admit John Lupin was a fine wizard, a fine worker, and, perhaps, even a fine human being; but for the daughter of Imogene Malfoy and Asmodious Montgomery to fall so far, it was just tragic.


"Daily Prophet" Amos screamed into the Lupin fireplace, throwing the green powder so hard that the resulting explosive reaction splattered him in greenish ash. He brushed off his clothes and skin with disgust, growling while he waited for the image to form.


"Daily Prophet office, where can I transfer you Floo..." Tiffany answered in her usual sickeningly neutral tones before the connection was even fully operational. "Oh its you Mr. L..." She paused to smack on her Droobles second-best blowing gum and took in Longbottom's expression. "What's wrong?"


"Nothing...Everything. Just transfer me to Cuffe, girl. I don't have time for your chatter." Amos answered trying and failing not to take the stressful situation out on the young receptionist.

 

Tiffany's fingers dipped into the green powder on her desk and with a rapid twirl of her fingers over the mini-Floo he found himself speaking to Barnabus Cuffe.

 

Young Rita Skeeter was just climbing out from under Cuffe's desk. Amos cleared his throat, really hoping she'd just dropped a pencil under there. Cuffe jumped at the interruption but composed himself rather quickly, if indeed anything untoward had been going on.


"Barnabus, it's Longbottom, I will be unavoidably detained this evening in pursuit of an important development."

 

"Detained," Cuffe's eyebrows rose as he pondered that statement.


"Yes, I need you to pull the evening edition I had waiting for Lupin's piece, move Oddpick's op-ed to page 3, and put in that article by Cornelius Fudge we were saving for the morning edition on page 1."

 

"I told you not to let a Mudblood onto staff," Cuffe sneered, "Your little experiment let you down, how tragic."


"Zip it, Barnabus." Longbottom returned, his lips turned up in the ghost of a smile at the blush that come to Cuffe's face.


"We're swapping things around, Lupin gets page 3 on the morning edition. Oh, and Skeeter you're up; quarter page on 7 evening edition, fill the gap, girl, this is your break! Mush, Mush! we have less then an hour till press time." With that Amos broke the Floo connection and returned to unpleasant reality, where, come morning, he expected to report either a dramatic rescue or the death of the Lupin's only son.

 

He turned around to find Vera Lupin, waiting patiently for him to finish the call.

 

As befit a properly bred woman, she had taken a few moments to compose herself, banishing tears, red eyes, and hysterics to their proper time and place: away from guests.

 

She held a tea tray to almost disguise the tremor in her hands and even a hastily donned cheering charm had barely brought a cordial smile to her lips.

 

As a properly bred guest he did not call these things to her attention, accepting the illusion of an informal social call that they both knew this was not.

 

"Tea, Mr. Longbottom?" She asked quietly.

 

He accepted with a gracious smile and sipped the delightful beverage as the tonic it would have to be. One thing to be said for Vera Lupin, even half out of her mind with grief and worry, she made wonderful tea. He would have to remember that fact under happier circumstances.

 

"Delightful tea," He remarked, judging this a safe conversation.

 

"Yes, even Remus has developed a taste for it." She choked at the mention of her son then pulled herself together. "I'll go get us something to eat," she murmured, slinking off to lose her composure in the kitchen instead of in front of Amos.

 

So much for safe conversations, he thought dryly.

 

To pass the time, he glanced at the combination of wizarding and Muggle photos on the mantle. John Lupin charming a miniature red train to fly before a laughing Vera and a delighted little boy with dark blond hair and warm brown eyes. John and Vera in Muggle attire aboard what appeared to be a small ship, an older man with a strong resemblance to John at the wheel. A wizarding photo with Muggles abounding, Amos couldn't help but laugh at the incongruity. Just as the photo was ready to cycle round John wandered out of focus laughing and an older woman with a cheery smile darted into the frame. Beautiful sea in that picture, he would have to ask John where it was taken.


Amos finished his cup of tea and still Vera Lupin had not returned, ostensibly with food. He meandered over to another set of pictures and realized why the woman seemed vaguely familiar, he had gone to Hogwarts with her parents. This further complicated an already impossible situation. 

She was not just a woman of his social class, despite her marriage choices; this could no longer be about his admittedly good impressions of John Lupin, now the entire situation was infinitely more complex. 

Staring out of the photo frame was the slightly time-tarnished visage of Imogene Malfoy. One-quarter Veela to the pleasure and shame of every boy at Hogwarts.  Imogene had been something, and Amos sighed in fond remembrance of taking, the most desired fifth year in school, to the Halloween dance, to Hogsmeade, to his parents house for the holidays...where there brief romance had been put to a most definite end. 

In a tiny corner of his soul the wound still stung, but his parents had been right, damn them, he was much better with a proper pureblood, one without the pale-blond hair and even a trace of Veela wiles, still for one brief year he had been in love. 

With a savage start he tore aside the mists of memory to find Vera standing in the doorway. Vera who was the daughter he might have had, who carried a trace of her mother's effortless beauty even with eyes red from crying. 

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For those with sharp eyes, yes that was several members of the future Prophet staff and a future minister of magic ;)

Amos is really in a pickle. What can he publish on page 3 tomarrow morning, and will he decide to stand by the Lupins when Remus's fate is revealed.  The next chapter is back with John and Remus, so the answer will have to wait <evil laugh>

This chapter was recently corrected to make Imogene 1/4th Veela rather then the physically impossible 1/6th.  I can not believe I didn't notice that problem before now.  

This would make Vera's mother the same percentage Veela as Fleur, with Vera herself being 1/8th Veela like Victorie.  Remus ends up a VERY dilluted 1/16th Veela, which would hardly matter, except it does make the eventual marriage of Teddy Lupin (1/32) Veela with the (1/8th) Veela Victorie somewhat interesting...just something to ponder MUCH further down the road <whistles innocently at her readers>.     

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading

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