home :: fanfiction :: links :: livejournal :: recs :: about

Minimal Grounds For Disaster
and yet it happens
by Raven

PG-13, het. Remus Lupin has problems. He's a wizard. He's a werewolf. He's somehow got himself very, very lost. And he's just been arrested by the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Things can only get worse...

It wasn't because he was a wizard. It wasn't even because he was a werewolf. It was - apparently - because he was the wrong kind of werewolf.

He blinked.

Here he was, sitting with a young woman who could somehow tune out the noise of an entire city's worth of people shouting, screaming, hawking, kill- inhuming, and other such unsavoury verbs, and telling him that all was wrong with him was the fact that his was the unfashionable kind of lycanthropy.

He wasn't sure what to make of that. To be perfectly honest, he wasn't sure what to make of a lot of things in this place. He didn't even know how he'd got here. He supposed it were possible - no, that implied his being here was somehow logical, understandable, somehow made sense, and that wouldn't do at all. He merely acknowledged the merest possibility that when you were talking into a shining green fireplace, sinuses full of ash and brain apparently full of cotton wool, the words "Diagon Alley" could somehow emerge as "Ankh-Morpork" and the rest could be, as they said in the Writers' Guild, history.

Of course, he hadn't even known that was the name of the place. He still wouldn't, had he not, moments after his arrival, had an encounter with its brightest and best.

He hadn't been doing anything. He'd said so.

It wasn't so much as what he was doing as what he wasn't doing, they'd said.

Which was what, exactly?

Not being not morphologically gifted, they'd said.

Remus Lupin let himself be arrested by the Watch. It seemed like the polite thing to do.

They brought him by way of Treacle Mine Road, past Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler ("Sausages! Inna bun!") and into the Watch House. They tried to place him before Commander Vimes, but hit an insurmountable obstacle in the fact there was no Commander Vimes for him to be placed before, unless they wanted to place him before the commander being placed before the Patrician, which would only have been possible had the Oblong Office been inside the Watch House.*

- - - - - -
* Or had Remus, Vimes or Vetinari (or some combination of the three) been capable of being in two places at once. Which, to clarify, they weren't, although in the case of Vetinari, Leonard of Quirm was working on it.
- - - - - -

Before Carrot could come and ruin everything by being polite and reasonable, a woman in chain-mail stomped through the door.

"Sergeant, I thought you were having a headache." Nobby could be quite reasonable himself when he chose.

"I was. I can smell him from the other side of the Ankh!"

It took Remus a moment to notice she was pointing at him. He blinked at her. Without a second glance at Nobby, she took control of the prisoner. If 'control' could be interpreted as taking him outside to sit in the sunshine, Nobby thought ironically. The Patrician would have approved.

In the yard, Remus was blinking again.

"You're a werewolf," she told him bluntly.

"I know. I mean, yes, I am." Remus wondered vaguely whether he'd gone quietly mad. "How... how do you know?"

She glared. "I told you, I can smell it on you. But you're... different. Aniseed," she added inconsequentially.

"Different? Aniseed?" Remus closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, a (nominal) man had swivelled into view, yelling something about rats on a stick.

"Different," she repeated. "You're the only one in your family, aren't you?"

Something about the way she said it prompted him to finally catch on. "And you're not," he said.

She shook her head. "My name is Angua von Uberwald."

When she saw this clearly hadn't had the effect she intended, she tried again. "As in the place. Uberwald. You're not from round here, are you?"

"You could say that. I'm not entirely sure where 'here' is. Go on."

She paused, and did so. "My family are quite well-known. They're mostly all werewolves. Carrot says I have a good pedigree, and he doesn't have a sense of irony, so there you go."

"Who's Carrot?" It wasn't, Remus reflected, the most logical question to ask first; but with about six hundred questions whirling round his head for him to choose from, it was a start.

"My... well, he's a captain in the Watch."

Ah, said a voice in Remus's head. Aloud, he asked the question that had been bothering him for the longest time. "What am I doing here?"

"Well, I don't know." She sniffed. "Keeping me from my headache. You reek of werewolf."

"That's hardly surprising." Remus raised his eyebrows. "Is there something else I should be reeking of?"



She sighed. "Word gets around, you know," she said carefully. "Seems every unlicensed criminal knows there's a werewolf in the Watch. The ones with above-average intelligence drop an aniseed bomb before making a clean** getaway. I can't track 'em because I can't smell a thing other than aniseed. Except you. You smell of werewolf."

- - - - - -
**Speaking figuratively. This was, after all, Ankh-Morpork.
- - - - - -

"Instead of aniseed?"

"Quick learner, aren't you?"

"I try." He grinned suddenly; he might not have much of an idea where he was or what he was doing, but at some indefinite time within the last ten minutes, subtly, insidiously, he'd begun to enjoy himself.

She grinned back at him. The effect would have been unsettling on anyone except a pretty young woman with a lupine set to her features. "Tell me," she said after a moment, "do you drink?"
Remus considered. "Even if I didn't before, I do now."

What they did next might have followed all the basic rules of narrative convention (as set forth by the Writers' Guild) involved sex, or drugs, or Music With Rocks In, but probably not.

Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh and Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, had something less than limitless reserves of patience. He'd just had an hour or so of Lord Vetinari being ironical at him, which had not done wonders for his state of mind. And now, it would seem his officers had arrested a werewolf from another dimension.

"Why?" he asked.

"Standing With Intent To Loiter," said Nobby.

Vimes sighed.

He extracted the story bit by bit - the weather was cold, so Sergeant Detritus managed to make one or two contributions - and came to a conclusion in no time at all. "Magic," he said succinctly.

"Sir?" said Detritus and Nobby simultaneously.

"Wizards," said Vimes, equally succinctly, and then looked thoughtfully non-committal, an expression he had perfected by long association with Vetinari. After a moment, he added, "Where is he?"


"The werewolf. The other one."

"Sitting outside with Sergeant Angua, sir," said Carrot, who had just come in.

"Angua?" repeated Vimes, giving Carrot a significant look. Carrot stared impassively back, and Vimes sighed. Carrot wouldn't understand the concept of infidelity if it hit him on the head with a battleaxe.

Angua and 'the other one' appeared a short time later, looking slightly worse for wear, but perfectly cheerful, particularly Remus. He was happier about himself and his lycanthropy than he'd been for quite some time.

"Do you want to go home?" Vimes asked him abruptly, and gave him a Look. It was a look that positively radiated menace. This is a man who believes everyone is guilty, it said. His ancestors were regicides and he is married to a woman who breeds dragons for fun. This is, in short, a man who wears cardboard soles. And likes it.

Remus took a deep breath and swallowed. "Yes," he said.

Angua led him back outside. They were shortly followed by Vimes, Carrot, Corporal Littlebottom and Detritus. And his crossbow.

"With all due respect, sir..." Angua began.

"Yes, Sergeant?" snapped Vimes.

"Where are we going? Why so many people?"

Vimes glared. There were some things he wouldn't allow any man (or woman or troll or dwarf or werewolf) to face alone.

"We're off to see the wizards," he said darkly.

They stormed into Unseen University with all guns metaphorically blazing.

Ridcully glanced up. "Oh, hello," he said vaguely. "What do you - stop that please, Bursar - want?" Without waiting for an answer, he went on, "Whatever it is, it'll have to wait, I'm afraid, we're very - Bursar! - busy at the moment..."

"Sergeant Detritus," said Vimes, "look intimidating."

Five minutes later, the Dean had been persuaded down from the chandelier, the Chair of Indeterminate Studies had been extracted from the sideboard, and the Archchancellor was a lot more eager to help. "It's all very clear," he said officiously, then quailed under Vimes's withering glare.

"Mr Stibbons!"

Ponder Stibbons scurried across, trying not trip over the bottom of his robes. "Yes, Archchancellor?"

"This looks like bein' a job for that thing of yours. You know, the one with the ants."

"Hex, Archchancellor."

"That's the one. Lead on, old chap."

"Ook," said the Librarian.

Remus watched in bemusement as they wheeled out Hex. As well as the ant farm, Unreal Time Clock, beach ball and mouse-with-cheese, it now featured a bunch of peacock feathers and a knife sticking out of a lemon. "Ah," he said faintly.

Ponder Stibbons glanced at him, and nearly shouted for joy. Just for a moment, he'd recognised in Remus Lupin something he'd never thought he'd see again.

Sanity. He could have cried.

Remus was rather unnerved at the look of mute intensity in the other man's eyes, and whispered in Angua's ear, "Who are these people?"

"Some of the cleverest people on the Discworld," she replied, straight-faced. Beside her, Vimes took a step back as the Bursar made to address him. "A trumpet of shellfish, if you would be so kind."

Ponder sat down at the keyboard and pulled a few levers. It took some time to compose the question, but at length he paused and turned to talk to the Archchancellor. "I think I know the answer," he said carefully.

"Out with it, then," said Ridcully breezily, and paused for a moment to glare at certain members of the Faculty. And the Watch.

"Milk and two sugars, please," said the Bursar. The Chair of Indeterminate Studies nudged the Dean, and they felt in their pockets for the dried frog pills.

"It's like this," said Ponder despairingly. "Thaumotological instabilities seem to have transported him" - he nodded at Remus - "into Ankh-Morpork from a parallel dimension. Biderectional sortilegic transfer."

Ridcully blinked. "Then let's send him back the same way," he said confidently.

"It's not that simple, Archchancellor."

"Doesn't seem too complicated to me. We bring something else through, and while the door's open we push him back through it."

They thought about it.

"I'm going to regret saying this," said Vimes, "but that actually made sense to me."

"Is making sense to me, too," added Detritus.

"Me too," said the Dean.

"Fish in fried batter," said the Bursar.

"I think it might work," said Angua.

"Ook," said the Librarian.

Remus said nothing. He blinked a little.

Hex whirred.

+++Minimal Grounds For Disaster. Divide By Cucumber Error. Redo From Start+++

Ponder Stibbons looked slightly affronted, then gave it up as a bad job and started drawing an octagon on the floor. He was helped somewhat by the Lecturer in Recent Runes, and as the Watch... watched, they led Remus to stand in the middle of it. Ponder attempted to explain things. "The problem," he said, "in teleporting objects is the object to be teleported, no matter how large, is reduced to the size of a thaumic particle and is subject to a near fatal quandary in that it can know who it is or where it is going, but not both, which therefore causes escalating ripples in the morphogenetic field of said object and may result in its being smeared across eleven dimensions. But you all knew that, I'm sure."

"I didn't," said Remus.

"Ook," the Librarian told him*.
- - - - - -
*He meant, "Neither did I, and would you perchance happen to have a peanut about your person?"
- - - - - -

Ponder wasn't listening. He looked Remus up and down. "How much do you think he weighs?" he asked no-one in particular.

Angua whispered something in his ear.

"Ah. Well, we'll need to transport something from the other end that weighs as much, or possibly more, as it'll prevent him arriving at too high a speed."

"Good," said Ridcully vaguely. "Do hurry it up, Mr Stibbons."

"I'm doing my best, Archchancellor. Well, Mr Lupin, it's been nice to see you." He paused and gave Remus a look a life-prisoner would give a mate about to be released on parole.

"You too," said Remus bemusedly. Angua stepped forwards. "It's been a pleasure to meet you, Remus Lupin," she said clearly, making Vimes glance quickly at Carrot. Carrot was staring straight in front of him, apparently unaffected.

"You're not too bad," Vimes told Remus grudgingly. "For a wizard."

"Thank you, Commander," replied Remus evenly.

The university wizards shuffled forwards and took up their positions. Vimes looked wildly around for an upturned table he could tell his watchmen to hide behind. There wasn't one, so he told Detritus to stand with feet apart and had them hide behind him instead.

The wizards' staffs were soon smoking at the ends. Ridcully was alternating between glaring at the Bursar (who was playing with a yo-yo) and glaring at Ponder Stibbons. "Mr Stibb-..." he began.

The spell caught.

- - - - - -

Remus landed, if that were the word, in bed. Not his own bed, but an empty bed nonetheless, and he wasn't one to quibble. But it took him only a few moments to notice all was not quite well. The sheets were rumpled and warm, almost as if they had been being slept in seconds previously, and his lupine senses could pick up the faint scent wrapped in familiar swathes around him.

Remus lay still for a moment and thought about it. When he spoke, it was in the careful, measured tones of one who is
trying their very hardest not to swear.

"Oh, no."

- - - - - -

On the floor of Unseen University, Angua's senses were suddenly assaulted by the acute absence of werewolf.

"He's gone," she said. Her tone suggested this was less of a good thing than might be expected.

One by one, the Watch edged out from behind Detritus.

There was a faint rumble in the ground.

Something just slightly heavier than Remus Lupin appeared in the centre of the octagon.

"I do hope it's not a vampire," murmured Ridcully distractedly.

"Amen to that," breathed Vimes.

Ridcully nudged it with his toe. "Hmm," he said. "Uncommunicative sort of chap."

Sirius Black opened his eyes and caught sight of Ridcully.

"Fuck," he said thoughtfully, and passed out.


comments, compliments, rotten tomatoes...

back (crossovers)
back (Harry Potter)