Just a Number

[ - ]
Printer Chapter or Story ePub eBook Chapter or Story
Table of Contents | - Text Size +
Story Notes:

Commissioned by::emmagrant01 for the Quidditch Pitch's Demelza House fundraiser. I hope this is what you wanted, hon! 100quills prompt: days

Originally Posted: Aug 26, 2006

“I think I’ve found something,” Hermione said excitedly as she peered closely at the sloping scrawl covering the margin of the page open before her.

“What is it?” Remus asked as he marked his place and closed his book. He stood up and crossed the small room to stand behind her.

For a moment, she was distracted by the scent of peppermint and spice, but she soon forced herself to focus. Now was not the time for indulging in frivolous thoughts and foolish infatuations. Instead, she pointed at the writing. “It’s a name and appears to be a telephone number,” she said as her mind raced through the possibilities of why Voldemort would have a Muggle telephone number.

“A telephone number?” He leaned down to get a closer look. “Maybe it’s some sort of code instead.”

“It’s a telephone number,” she said firmly. “Any of the other codes we’ve found have been pretty distinguishable. I can’t see him using a code system of phone numbers.”

“Yes, well, I can’t see him having a telephone number at all,” Remus said with a frown.

“It’s something,” she pointed out. That frown meant he was frustrated and on the edge of annoyance.

Annoyed Remus, she had learned during the last few weeks, was not a charming person to be around. In fact, he was quite disagreeable and often made appearances before a morning cup of coffee, found tea to be weak and tasteless, and wasn’t at all shy about making his opinions known. He was a part of Remus she had never really seen during the years when she’d had difficulty not thinking of him as Professor, which had lasted until this current assignment when they’d been required to work together so much that it seemed silly not to call him Remus.

“It could be nothing,” he challenged as he sat on the edge of the desk and held the book in front of him.

“It’s the first thing we’ve found that could be important,” she argued as she settled back in her chair ready to debate.

“Why do you think it’s important?”

“Because it’s a name and a Muggle telephone number written sloppily in the margin of Voldemort’s book. I’d think it was worth looking into even if proves to be nothing.”

“Are you sure you’re not projecting your frustration at being stuck here with just research to occupy your time for an excuse to get out and do something proactive?”

“Remus, we’re not being kept prisoner here. If I wanted a break, I’d simply go for a walk, not invent stories of possible evidence,” she said dryly. “Besides, I volunteered for this assignment.”

“I always suspected that genius bordered on insanity and now I know that’s true without a doubt.”

“Was that a joke?” she asked with mock surprise. “Are you feeling well?”

“It was a weak attempt and there will be no questions regarding my health,” he said as he rolled his eyes. “You forget that I, too, volunteered for this mission.”

“Well, yes, but I think we already know the issues with your sanity or lack thereof,” she said matter-of-factly. “It’s just a pity that you can’t use the genius excuse.”

“Cheeky,” he murmured as he shook his head. “You didn’t use to be so insolent.”

“You used to be my professor,” she reminded him as she tapped her quill against the edge of the table. “I admired my professors, even those I thought were rather worthless, and would never have disrespected any of them in such a way.”

“That’s odd since I seem to recall a certain incident during the year I taught you regarding a certain fit thrown in the midst of a particular class that you didn’t enjoy,” he mused as he ran his thumb over the cover of the book. “Or was that some other Hermione Granger who stormed out of Divination?”

“It wasn’t a fit,” she denied. “I simply had a difference of opinion and chose the wrong way to show my displeasure. I did apologize later for my behavior.”

“You do realize that Moody would dismiss this as nothing more than feminine imaginings, don’t you?” he asked as he glanced at the scrawled phone number.

“Moody hasn’t yet realized that women are smarter than men or that I’m not some silly fourteen year-old with flights of fancy. I didn’t even have those when I was fourteen,” she said.

“You say as though you’ve years of experience behind you now,” he said.

“I’m nineteen and the last two years…well, needless to say Harry, Ron, and I had to age quickly if we wanted to survive,” she reminded him before she smiled. “I notice that you didn’t deny women’s superior intellect.”

“Because you don’t truly believe that,” he said with a shrug. “There’s no use arguing when you’re making generalizations simply designed to make me debate with you. You hate broad judgments and considering an entire group without looking at individuals, remember?”

“I do make exceptions at times,” she muttered before she gestured at the book. “So we’ve established that Moody, should we mention our find, would dismiss it as useless and not worth investigating. That leaves us with the options of not telling him and looking into it ourselves or ignoring it and going on with the cleaning.”

Remus looked at her and asked, “Do you really think it’s worth investigating?”

Hermione considered the question seriously and finally nodded. “It’s too odd not to at least try to find a reasonable explanation,” she said. “It may be nothing, like you suggest, but I’d feel better knowing for sure.”

“All right. We’ll look into it and I’ll forget to mention it in my weekly report to the Order,” he decided. He handed the book back to her and smiled. “Unlike Moody, I happen to have faith in those odd feelings of yours.”

Hermione smiled at his words, wondering if he had any idea that the greatest compliment she could receive was someone supporting her like that. Other women might prefer to be told they were pretty or fun, but she preferred someone to value her mind more than any of those qualities. She looked down at the book before she did or said anything inappropriate, though she didn’t stop smiling as she tried to read the name and number listed.

He cleared his throat and looked briefly away. “It’s getting late. We can start our investigation tomorrow, Hermione. It’s nearly midnight.” He took the book from her hands and set it on the desk, closing the cover and leaving his hand on it for a moment.

“I suppose that now wouldn’t be a good time to point out that ‘nearly midnight’ actually does equate to being ‘nearly tomorrow’ would it?” she asked as she glanced up at him through lowered lashes. His lips quirked into a half-smile before he looked away and ran his fingers through his hair.

“No, it wouldn’t,” he agreed as he put the book on the table and started to walk towards the stairs. “There will be plenty of time to play detective in the morning, after dawn, when the sun is up again. There, is that better?”

“Much,” she said with a nod. “That statement is far more precise and clear as to your definition of tomorrow versus another.”

“Hermione,” he said in a warning voice as he arched his brow and tapped his foot.

“I’m so very proud that you’ve learned how to say my name so well,” she teased as she deliberately took her time putting away her quill, ink, and notes. “It’s only taken you five years to learn that it’s not Miss Granger.”

“And how long has it taken you to stop calling me professor? I believe that, should we do a fair comparison, the fact that I was only your professor for one year far outweighs the fact that you’re still, actually, Miss Granger,” he told her. “Now quit dawdling and come along before I decide to leave you down here.”

“Dawdling? Is that one of those words that you used when you were young?” she asked as she hurriedly put away the rest of her things. While she wasn’t actually scared of this house, not after the extensive curse breaking that was performed before they moved in for this assignment, she had no desire to be left alone downstairs at night in the small house that Voldemort had called home. Well, home was probably too warm and cozy for him so perhaps ‘stronghold’ was more appropriate. She reached Remus and smiled innocently. “It’s very fortunate that you can remember things from way back then. That means your memory is quite good.”

Before he could swat her arm, which he had taken to doing in what she thought was an affectionate manner, she rushed up the stairs ahead of him. She reached the second floor and made a quick stop at the loo to brush her teeth and use the toilet before she headed to her bedroom. His door was open as she walked past and she glanced in at him, stomach twisting gently as she thought about him changing for bed. She wasn't sure what to do with the sensation, but whatever it was, it was complicated, and she wasn't ready to think about it very hard.

“Sweet dreams, Hermione,” he said with a friendly smile as he glanced up from the book he was reading.

“Good night, Remus,” she said softly before she went into her room and closed the door.


Voldemort was dead but the war wasn’t over. In the weeks since his defeat, the Wizarding world had started the slow process of reconstruction. Funerals were held, sentences for captured Voldemort supporters were delivered, memorials were planned, and people were doing their best to move on. The Aurors were hunting the last remaining Death Eaters, the Ministry was attempting to get plans and processes set in motion so life continued as normally as possible, and rebuilding had begun. Harry had been released from St. Mungos but was still recovering, Ron had started to help with the construction on Diagon Alley, and Hermione had been working with the Order in whatever capacity was needed.

Since her own release from St. Mungos, she’d thrown herself into gathering information. She hated not having a purpose so she'd created one by listening for what was unknown, and then coming to know it. Mostly, she gathered data on battles and statistics that might help them understand what had really been lost during the war, but her skills with organization and research had been utilized in various other projects as well.

It was comforting, the research. Solid. For too many years she had had only one true goal: to survive to see Voldemort's defeat. With that behind her and no alternate anchor, she'd felt lost and restless. She had been around too much death and destruction to help at the hospital or with rebuilding, but she could make a contribution like this, and knowing that she was contributing was really all that mattered.

Besides, it was better than trying to work out what to do when she grew up.

She thought more than once as she scribbled notes that she might eventually write a book, a true telling of the war so that history woouldn't repeat itself. It would probably be useless, as far as that went, because people never seemed to learn from their mistakes, whether they be wizards or muggles, but, for once, she hoped she’d be proven wrong. Either way, it wouldn't be too soon; there was too much to work through emotionally. Still, it didn't hurt to scribble thoughts as they came to her and fill rolls of parchment knowing that one day, that might be the result.

In all honesty, the distraction provided by her notions of authorship were sorely needed at times. Her work with the Order had given her an opportunity to explore the libraries of purebloods, to gain access to books that she’d only heard rumors even existed, and to travel throughout England while performing various tasks. It had also, not very coincidentally, allowed her the chance to get to know Remus, someone that she’d never really given much thought beyond his being a former professor and fellow Order member.

Now it seemed that he was rarely away from her thoughts, which was proving to be bothersome. Which was why the distraction was welcome. Hermione was not the type of woman to become infatuated nor had she had a crush since the disaster that was second year and Lockhart. Her relationship with Ron was something else entirely; they had lasted for nearly a year, after all, and he was still one of her best friends. And, come to think of it, they just worked better as friends. It was possible they'd have worked as lovers had they not been on the run and hunting horcruxes, but when their friendship with the added attraction of shagging reverted to just friendship, it wasn't a crisis for either of them, and neither of them had suffered lingering infatuation.

Her infatuation with Remus, though, had come out of nowhere. He was nearly twice her age, a former teacher, and not someone she’d ever really considered as male, in terms of potential attraction. After a week of long conversations and working side by side, she had been surprised to find herself aware of him in a very non-platonic way.

Instead of seeing him as just skinny, she noticed the subtle muscles in his shoulders and arms. She quickly developed a fascination with his hands, which were large yet graceful with long fingers that made her mind go places it really shouldn’t. She found the gray lightly sprinkled amongst his brown hair to be very distinguished instead of making him seem older. She liked his voice, which was soft but firm, and enjoyed listening to him during their many conversations about everything and anything.

He was quiet and thoughtful, as she always knew, but he was also witty, sarcastic, and intelligent. Even if she hadn’t found him physically appealing, which she did, she knew she’d have been attracted to him for his mind. Therein lay the problem. She shouldn’t be attracted to him and certainly shouldn’t have developed a crush.

Crushes were for little girls, not women of nineteen who had already had a semi-serious relationship in the past. True, she had little to no experience at flirting, seduction, or that sort of thing, since she and Ron had skipped those steps due to their situation and the possibility of dying while helping Harry, but she still felt too old to have a crush.

She was trying to deal with it: there were scrolls of parchment all over the table in her room with lists of the reasons why she needed to get over it and reasons why she should act upon it instead. Normally, lists helped her make sense of things that confused her, but they weren’t doing any good with this particular subject. Pros and cons only made things even more complicated because she couldn’t find a definite answer.

Should she forget the growing feelings she was developing or do something about them? Was it worth the risk of humiliation or ruining a new friendship for a chance at something more? She honestly didn’t know and weeks of thought and analysis hadn’t helped. It wasn’t really fear holding her back; it was difficult to be truly frightened of many things in comparison to facing Death Eaters. Fear of rejection was present, though, as was the knowledge that she had no idea how to flirt or play those sorts of male/female games.

They were nearly done sorting through Voldemort’s books and papers, and she doubted there were many more such assignments left. That meant their partnership would be ending. For all she knew, Remus would disappear, as he had in the years following the first war, and she might never see him again. If she didn’t at least try, would she always wonder ‘what if’ or look back with regret?

Hermione sighed and looked at the pile of lists on the table beside her bed. “Why can’t you be any help?” she muttered, glaring. She rolled her eyes at herself and wondered if Harry and Ron would worry if they knew she was talking to parchment now. Considering their teasing over her talking to books, they’d probably just use it for evidence to support their belief that reading too much made one crazy.

After deciding that she'd spent enough time focusing on that subject for the evening, once again, she turned off the light and lay back on her bed. She thought back to her find that evening and wondered what it meant. Tomorrow, they’d research the name and telephone number she found. The fact that a Muggle telephone number was found in one of Voldemort’s books still intrigued her, though she was prepared for it to be a false lead. Even if it was, she decided, it might prove useful in some unexpected way. It seemed so many of their best finds were serendipitious like that.

It wasn’t long before she’d exhausted that comparatively straightforward topic and her mind once again turned to Remus and annoying crushes. She sighed and concluded that it really was time to stop making inefective lists and just take some sort of action. She didn’t have much experience with men, but she liked to think that she’d know if one were attracted to her. She hadn’t noticed Remus ever looking at her in a leering sort of way or even as if he had realized that she was a woman and not the gawky teen he’d once taught.

Maybe she should try flirting and see how he responded. If he was uncomfortable or asked if she was mental, she could always deny that she’d been intentionally flirting, after all. If he didn’t respond at all or even notice, she’d know it was hopeless and she needed to get past the infatuation. And if, perchance, he flirted back, well, she’d be more confident about things. With that decision tentatively made, Hermione rolled onto her side and snuggled against her pillow before she drifted off to sleep.


After a night of tossing and turning for reasons that had nothing to do with nightmares for once, Hermione woke up to the scent of coffee. She hadn’t previously been much of a coffee person, preferring flavored teas, but working with Remus had given her a new appreciation for it. She got out of bed and picked up her robe, yawning when she saw that it wasn't even seven. She was a morning person, much to Harry and Ron’s annoyance during the year plus of hunting they’d done together, but had to admit that she was becoming lazy as she got older.

She stopped at the loo for the toilet and to clean her teeth, making sure she wiped away the drool that was on the corner of the mouth before she went downstairs. Her hair was hopeless on a good day so she didn’t bother to do anything more than run a pull it up into a sloppy ponytail for now. Once she was on the way to being conscious and good company, she went downstairs and found Remus in the small kitchen.

“Coffee,” she said as she reached out and made a ‘gimme’ gesture with her hands.

“Say please,” Remus said in a far too perky voice for this early in the morning. His hair was damp and the old T-shirt he was wearing was wet in spots, making it cling. That vision was enough to wake Hermione up even better than a mug of the strongest coffee. After all, she couldn’t be sleepy and bleary eyed when there was clinging.

“Please,” she murmured as she took the mug from him and focused on the bitter taste of hot coffee. When she noticed the plate of fresh fruit and toast on the table, she smiled. “You’re a god.”

“If I didn’t know that anyone who gave you coffee in the morning would receive such a compliment, I’d be flattered,” he said as he sat down.

“Not just anyone,” she said, feeling more awake after a few sips of coffee. She sat opposite him and reached for the butter, rather proud of herself for not ogling clinging. “For instance, I can’t imagine ever saying that to Voldemort even if he’d bought me a coffee factory. Well, if it was an entire factory…”

“It’s nice to know that I do rate higher than Voldemort in your opinion,” he said dryly as he picked up her freshly buttered toast and slathered it with strawberry preserves, her favorite, before repeating the action with his own toast.

“Of course you do,” she told him as she added exactly the amount of milk to his coffee that he preferred and then a spoonful of sugar to her own. “Though, really, you’re to blame for my coffee addiction so you should repent for getting me involved with such an unhealthy relationship.”

“I’ll be certain to ask for absolution at some time in the future,” he decided as he opened the newspaper and handed her the local news before he began to do the crossword.

She smiled as she read the news and ate her toast, listening to him mutter about several of the clues in his crossword. After she finished reading, she leaned back in her chair and sipped her coffee. “The plan for today is investigating the name and telephone number that I found?” she asked as she mentally began to schedule the day.

“Eight letter word, pub game,” he said as he looked up and arched a brow as his lips twisted into a mischievous smile. “Or is that not your area of expertise?”

“I’m not a total recluse,” she muttered as she tried to figure out the clue. “Any letters?”

“Fourth letter is T and the last letter is S,” he told her after he glanced at the paper. “Yes, we’ll look into the name and number before we go back to sorting through the bookshelves.”

“Skittles,” she said confidently after running through the games her father mentioned playing at the pub. “I think the easiest thing to do is go find a Muggle telephone and call the number, of course. We can see if it’s valid.”

“It fits,” he said as he wrote in the name. “I also think it would be a good idea if we check that book for any other possible notes before we go call.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” she reluctantly admitted.

He put his paper down and smiled slightly. “That’s why I’m here, to think of the things your brilliant mind doesn’t.”

She rolled her eyes. “If you start with that ‘brightest witch of your age’ bit, I’ll hex you.”

“I appreciate the warning,” he said as he picked up his mug and took a drink. His gaze was curious as he stared at her until she shifted in her chair. “Do you really dislike being complimented on your intelligence?”

“No, I don’t really. Sometimes I feel like it’s all anyone sees, though,” she replied before she could stop herself. “I mean, most women would rather be told they’re beautiful or charming and not that they’re smart or clever, wouldn’t they?”

He frowned slightly and she stared into his pale hazel eyes until he blinked and his lips quirked into a half-smile. “That’s an unfair comparison, however, because you’re certainly not ‘most women’,” he said before he looked down and shook his head slightly. He stood up and picked up their empty plates. “Now run upstairs and get dressed so we can start investigating the information you found.”

Hermione stared at his back before she stood and went upstairs. What did he mean by ‘not most women’? The entire moment, brief as it had been, had unsettled her, and she didn’t even know why. After a quick shower, she got dressed in comfortable jeans and one of Ron’s old T-shirts she’d borrowed with the intent to never return. She couldn’t find one of her trainers despite knowing she’d taken them both off and left them by her bed, and fnally resorted to a summoning charm to locate it under the chest of drawers. Honestly. No matter how many complex spells she'd masterd, shoes were apparently cleverer. Irritated with how long she was taking, she tied the laces and hurried down.

When she got there, the kitchen was empty and clean. Remus was in Voldemort’s study, leaning back in the chair with his eyes closed. It looked like he was scowling, which made her hesitant to let him know she was there. He suddenly opened his eyes and looked right at her, his gaze narrowing. His scowl deepened momentarily before he looked at the book she’d been reading the night before and seemed fine again.

“I didn’t look through it since you made the original discovery,” he said. “I assumed you’d want to look yourself.”

“I would,” she confirmed as she picked up the book, her quill, and a piece of parchment. She sat in the extra chair and opened the book where she’d marked. “It’s rather messy but I think the first name is Bernard or Barney and the last name starts with an N definitely or is it an M. Norris or maybe it’s Morris.” She looked up and frowned. “You’d think a Dark Lord would have had better penmanship.”

“Want me to take a look?” he offered as he closed the book he’d been scanning.

“Please,” she said as she stood up. Instead of giving him the book, she walked back around the desk and stood beside him. She leaned forward and pointed. “See, it’s difficult to decipher. Several of his letters are written so similarly that I can’t quite read it.”

The scent of mint and spice vied with the book to claim her attention. Remus looked at the name, and she resisted the urge to smell him when she realized just how close they were now. If she were more bold or the flirtatious type, she’d touch his shoulder or giggle over nothing to draw attention to her lips. Instead, she bit her lip and stole glances at him from the corner of her eyes.

“I think this is deliberately messy,” he mused as he tapped his finger against the page. “If anyone had casually opened the book, they’d have seen an ink stain and not given it a second thought. It’s fortunate that you’re more careful and observant. I think it says Bernard Morris and the number looks like it’s a London exchange.”

“I had a suspicion that it was London,” she agreed as she turned her head to look at him. She unconsciously swayed closer before she caught herself and straightened up before she complicated things by acting on her crush faster than she'd had in mind. “We wouldn’t be lucky enough for it to be some small village where a Bernard Morris might be known should the number no longer be active.”

“We should go now,” he said as he stood up quickly after she moved back. He walked to the other side of the desk and looked at her. “Do you know where a public telephone box happens to be?”

Hermione shook her head as she watched him shift and tap his fingers against his upper thigh. “I haven’t had to go into the village so I’m not sure if they have one or if we’d be better off going to a larger city nearby.”

“When I did the initial sweep through town before we moved in, I didn’t notice a phone box but it wasn’t something I was looking for,” he admitted. “I think it might be best to go to Cardiff and find one. I believe that’s the closest large town. Are you wearing that shirt?”

“I think going to Cardiff is a good idea,” she agreed. The local village wasn’t very big so they might be more likely to be noticed there. It didn’t really matter if they were seen since they weren’t in hiding or anything, but it was easier if they could just disappear once the assignment was complete without anyone even realizing they’d been there. When he asked about her shirt, she glanced down and shrugged. “I had planned to wear it. Why?”

“It advertises a Quidditch supply company and we’re going into a Muggle town,” he pointed out.

“And if any Muggle bothers to actually read it, they’ll assume I got it at Camden and it’s just advertising some new unknown band or something,” she said. “Besides, it’s been washed so many times that the words are faded.”

“Fine,” he said with a brief scowl before he started to walk towards the door. “Let’s go.”

She was tempted to ask him if he needed a nap since he seemed to be having bouts of cranky today. Instead, she put the piece of parchment in the pocket of her jeans and left the study. “Do you have the coordinates to an Apparition point in Cardiff?”

“No, I just thought we’d randomly try to find one,” he said.

“Cute,” she muttered as she rolled her eyes.

“So I’ve been told.” His scowl turned into a teasing smile as he deliberately ran his fingers through his hair in a primping manner.

She laughed and shook her head. This was definitely a glimpse of the man who had held his own against Sirius Black and James Potter, one she knew that not many people ever got to witness these days. Before she could tease him, he moved his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. To go from laughing to aware in the space of seconds was enough to startle her until silence. Any foolish ideas she might have entertained, even briefly, about him suddenly being overwhelmed with desire for her or planning to kiss her until her toes curled, dissipated when she felt the familiar pull of Apparition.

They arrived at the Apparition point, and she looked around as she tried to collect herself. She didn’t dare look at him in case he could tell that she was affected by simply apparating with him. She had resolved last night to flirt with him should the opportunity arise, but now that the situation was at hand, she was having a hard time keeping that resolution. It just wasn’t something she was good at, and it made her feel awkward to even try.

“Thank you,” she said as she glanced up at him. His face was so close that it would require her leaning up just a little to brush her lips against his. She felt his hand on her back and realized that he hadn’t stepped back yet. Her gaze lowered to his mouth as she licked her lips. She almost fell backwards when he let her go and walked past her.

“I thought that would be easier,” he murmured as he stopped and waited for her. He looked tense and she calculated how long it would be until the next full moon. It was still a couple of weeks away, though, and it didn’t normally make him that moody, just tired and weak for a few days. When he looked back at her, he offered a half smile that was familiar. “Are you ready to check out your lead, Hermione?”

Glad that she had obviously been imagining things, she smiled and caught up with him. “Yes, I want to get some answers,” she said as she followed him out of the alley. They found a telephone box not too far away and she got the parchment and a few coins from her pocket.

“I think it would be best if I called,” Remus said. He held up his hand before she could argue. “We have no idea who this man is or what he might have been involved with regarding Voldemort. I’d feel better if you weren’t involved in that potential conversation, at least until we know what we’re dealing with.”

She wanted to argue but remembered the time she'd tried to extract information from the shopkeeper in Knockturn Alley, all those years ago; she hadn't gotten appreciably better at the task since. She just wasn’t good at lying or being tactful. Remus held out his hand and she gave him the coins and scrap of paper. While he dialed the number, she stood outside the box and waited. It didn’t take long for her to sigh with disappointment.

“It doesn’t work,” he said with an apologetic smile as he hung up the phone.

“Damn,” she muttered as she tried to figure out the next step. “Here, let me check something.”

She slid past him as he stepped out of the box and dialed the operator. After a quick exchange, she hung up and looked at Remus.

“Well?” he asked as he hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his jeans.

“There is no record of that telephone number in their system so it obviously hasn’t been in service for awhile,” she said. “She also said that it wasn’t a London exchange. It’s Cambridge.”

“Cambridge? Why would Voldemort have a telephone number for a Muggle in Cambridge?”

“That’s the question.”

“We need to regroup and figure out what to do next, if anything,” he decided. “We don’t need to rush off to Cambridge without a plan.”

“Plans are good,” she agreed as she took the parchment back from him and put it in her pocket. “We can go back and decide the next step.”

“While we’re here, we should probably go to the market to get a few supplies. We’re almost out of milk, eggs, and that tea you have in the evenings,” he said as he started walking down the street. “I didn’t know how much longer we’d be there since I think we’re nearly done going through everything, but we’ve probably got another week’s worth of boxes and books to sort through.”

“He had a rather extensive book collection considering he lacked a full library,” she said as she fell in step beside him. Less than a week left. She almost wished Voldemort had had a dozen bookcases instead of a few boxes of artifacts and just one bookcase stuffed with texts. After this assignment, she wasn’t sure what the Order would need them to do. There was a chance that they’d be sent out separately despite the fact they’d been working together since the end of the war. If they were out of places to organize and sort, she didn’t really know what she’d do.

That also meant that she might not have much more time with Remus. She expected him to disappear once all the loose ends were tied up. Since his relationship with Tonks had ended, he didn’t have anyone keeping him around except Harry, and a visit every few months would suffice there. The thought of never seeing him again, even for conversation unaffected by her infatuation, bothered her.

She needed to revise her timeline, she decided, which meant she needed a new list. A plan always made things better. For now, they’d go shopping and then figure out what to do about the information she’d located. She pushed thoughts of crushes and desire neatly into a corner of her mind to think about later. They started discussing Cardiff as they walked, and she listened intently as he told her the history of the city.