One month into filming
“This is impossible.” It was the only thing Remus could say or think for the past minute. Everything about this experience had become more and more impossible. They’d gone from little blips of strangeness to a full on surreal reality.
“It’s clearly not. Remus. Come on. I need you to get your shit together because I cannot do this on my own. None of us can do this without you.” Sirius looked at him with both desperation and absolute faith that he could lead him through this. It was such a contrast to the beginning when there was no trust between them at all.
He looked around at the rest of the group and just the whole mess of it all. Lily and James were on the floor, she was holding his head in her lap and trying to clean all the little cuts on his face from the shattered glass. Kasey and Timmy were keeping track of all the visual anomalies on their array of cameras while also keeping in contact with the people that were locked outside as much as they could.
In the seance circle was Sirius, Dumo, Olli, and Finn along with the candles now floating in midair and small objects of the house whizzing by their heads as they were thrown. It was a mess. A dangerous and impossible mess. A phenomena of paranormal activity that had never been seen before in real life.
As Remus stepped forward to rejoin the table between Sirius and Olli he couldn’t help but wonder, how did he end up in the middle of it all?
The day before their first day of filming
There was a matching set of old leather chairs, worn from years of use with studs missing from the end of the arms. They were sitting next to each other on a red rug that was just a little shaggy and set up behind them was a large black curtain obviously there for a simple yet stark backdrop. In front of them was all of the equipment needed to film interview segments including the large tungsten lights often seen on sets for film and television.
Remus was taking a moment to look around the place he’d be filming at for however long it would take to film the project he was already regretting agreeing to. He didn’t touch any of the equipment because it was all very expensive and he wouldn’t want to damage anything or even accidentally mess up a setting or something. But he did sit down in one of the chairs and run his hands along the leather with a sigh. His eyes closed as he leaned his head back and just took deep breaths.
“You just have to grin and bear it. This will make good money for us and bring attention to our project… Hopefully good attention.”
“Ah, yes, because that’s what you guys deserve . Good attention.” The voice made him jump a bit out of the chair and look wildly around to find it. He was met with intense grey eyes that he was too far familiar with, eyebrows raised in a challenging matter which made sense given his statement. Sirius Black stood in front of him one hand carelessly messing with the main camera pointed towards Remus and the other holding a togo cup from some cafe probably nearby the set.
“Hello Mr. Black. Here to get a look around before it becomes chaos?” Remus sat back in the chair once more and tried to look relaxed even though his nerves were a little all over the place now.
“It’s not a crime, is it?” His voice was full of accusation and challenge, like it often was when they ended up in the same room together.
“I was… I was just pointing out we had a similar idea.” He let out a tired sigh. Why did he even bother trying to make pleasantries? This was the whole point of both of them being here. Remus saw them as two sides of the same coin while Sirius saw them as opposing sides on a battlefield.
Sirius’ face only softened a little from it’s challenging expression as he moved across the way to sit next to Remus in the second chair. “We don’t have many similar ideas. I suppose we should relish the moment.”
“Oh yes, no relishing for Mr. Lupin. Understood.”
“No--No. I meant I disagree with your statement that we don’t have many similar ideas. I think we have many.”
This made Sirius scoff and turn in his chair to half face Remus so he could cross a leg and look at him skeptically. “Oh really? Tell me about that. I was under the impression you disagreed with everything.”
Remus rolled his eyes but managed to chuckle and mostly roll off Sirius’ implied insult. “We both want the same thing. To investigate the paranormal and find answers. The truth. We--”
“Oh I definitely disagree with all of that.”
“You didn’t let me finish, but also how was any of that untrue?”
“ You and your group want to disprove everything possibly paranormal. Not find ‘the truth’.”
Now Remus was the one to scoff as he let his head fall back once more and he looked at the ceiling in disbelief. “You don’t listen. You never do. I’m not some raging, militant skeptic. I just know how harmful taking every little thing as fact can be. I just wan--”
“Oh, so, what? I’m some naive simpleton for wanting to believe that there are more signs of the paranormal than not?”
“That’s not what I said at all. I’m only saying--”
“You know what Lupin, save it for when the cameras roll. That’s what you’re here for, right? Attention and a paycheck?” Sirius has an insincere smile that said he was very much over Remus and had also won in his eyes. He got up and walked toward the red exit sign with the most assured steps Remus had probably ever seen. There were many things Remus could say about Sirius Black, but he couldn’t argue that he wasn’t a force to be reckoned with.
A long sigh escaped Remus’ lips as he pinched his eyes shut and tried not to let the interaction get to him. He was right after all, that was why he was here technically. Also there would be a lot of those spats over the course of filming so there was no point in taking it too much to heart… But he always did. As much as Sirius didn’t believe him, he didn’t want to just be some cranky skeptic here to take away belief or magic away from those who cherished it.
Remus wanted to strip away any possible falsehoods to get to the truth. The truth just wasn’t always what they wanted it to be. And that was the understatement of the century.
The first day of filming
The screen showed James Potter getting mic’d up for his interview in the big leather chair, he was being friendly with one of the head crew members, Alice, helping him out.
As the mic went hot his voice came through saying, “Can we put a black bar over my face and one of those effects over my voice to make it sound like I’m some ex mob person telling all of my dirty secrets?”
“I mean, technically, yes we can do that. But I don’t think that’s quite the direction Marlene and Frank want to go in.”
“A missed opportunity, if you ask me.” She chuckled at him and patted his back as she finished adjusting everything she could on his person.
Now the screen showed Lily Evans settling in the chair after Alice had asked her to speak to test her mic levels and see if they needed to turn anything up.
“I can’t believe he suggested that. He’s so ridiculous. I honestly don’t understand most of the men in this field. They seem to mostly be pigheaded academics who think I don’t know what I’m talking about because my degree isn’t as fancy as them or clownish manchildren running around abandoned buildings screaming for attention.”
“Isn’t that just men in general?” Dorcas posed with a raised eyebrow as she shifted the camera to properly frame her. This made Lily let out a full laugh as her hand went to her chest and she shook her head at the other woman.
“Sorry, yes, of course you’re right. God. ”
It cut to Sirius as he played with a dark blue hacky sack that had an eye design on the flat ends of it while he waited for filming to begin.
“Is Remus before or after me?”
From behind the camera Dorcas could see Alice was reluctant to answer since she wasn’t sure what answer he preferred. He’d been known to be a bit of a drama queen and everyone was wary of his disdain for the other paranormal investigator.
“Um… before. Remus and his crew are used to getting up early so we’ve scheduled them to go before.”
Sirius’ jaw tightened a little but he took a deep breath through his nose and nodded. “No, that makes sense. Stuffy fucking nerds get up early for no reason.” The two crew members looked at each other as Alice rolled her eyes.
The next cut was to Remus as he took deep breaths and fidgeted with a pen in his hand. He looked quite nervous and out of place in the studio.
“Would you like some water Dr. Lupin?” Alice looked sympathetic to the troubled man as she held her clipboard to her chest.
“Remus. You can just call me Remus. But um yeah that would be great. Also… this is dumb but is there any chocolate anywhere?”
That definitely amused and confused her as she paused to think for a moment.
“I know it’s stupid. Don’t worry about it. Just helps with the nerves sometimes and I left my stash in my car.”
“It’s not stupid. I’ll check and if not I can go in your car for you and grab yours. We still have ten minutes probably since we’re waiting on Marlene and Frank.”
“I’m earlier than the producers and hosts? I suppose that makes sense. It gives me acid reflux when I’m late or even on time.”
She chuckled a bit at that and then gave him a nod. “Okay. I’ll get you water and some chocolate one way or another. I’m gonna send in makeup to freshen you up just a little.”
“Thank you Alice. You’re very kind.”
Finally there was a cut to the two hosts sitting in both the leather chairs slightly facing each other but mostly towards the camera. Marlene McKinnon, a tiny woman with incredibly long wavy blonde hair and makeup that said fuck around and find out. She was in a dark red flannel and distressed black overalls. Her partner in filming crime was Frank Longbottom, a tall and big bellied blonde man with the friendliest face. Everyone adored him in his fun floral shirts and cargo shorts.
“Are you two ready,” Alice asked in a light and hopeful tone. Once Marlene took a sip of her coffee one more time she nodded and held the cup out for her.
“I hate fucking morning shoots.” Marlene rolled her shoulders and sat up so she looked less like a lesbian gremlin.
“Look at it this way, we get to go to the bar earlier if we get this done now.” The jolly look on Frank’s face made Marlene crack a smile and she nodded.
“You’re very true. Let’s get this over with.” She cracked her knuckles and neck while Frank settled in his chair. Dorcas counted them down and as she motioned for one she flipped off Marlene like she always did.
“Welcome to Specter Spectrum. If you’ve joined us it probably means you have some level of interest in the paranormal. Maybe you like to give yourself a bit of a fright or you enjoy explorations into the less tangible.” Frank gave Marlene a small smile and look she’d grown familiar with over rehearsal that let her know it was her go. Timing was never her thing.
“Or, like us, you’re questioning what is really out there? How can I know whether ghosts are real or not? Who do I trust to give me this information?”
“For this series we have two different teams of paranormal investigators put to the test to see which one can find the most accurate answers. They have two different sets of beliefs about the paranormal and styles of investigation.”
“One is much like many of the popular ghost hunting teams of the past. They all fully believe that answers are out there and that compelling evidence is more easy to come by than you think.”
“While the other team has members that are varying levels of skeptical and are very rigorous with how they collect evidence and determine what is compelling. In their field they are not favored amongst most.”
“Each episode we’ll have them investigate a location twice. The first time for each group will be separately on their own in the process they normally go through. The second time we’ll have them attempt to investigate together to see if a combined effort helps or hinders.” The way Marlene’s tone carried the last word was laced with a wicked enjoyment of the possibility. It was a show after all and they were hoping for at least some drama.
“There’ll be interviews before and after the investigation that you’ll see throughout the episode. Most of the time they’ll be on their own to share their thoughts, but towards the end we’ll have a few pairs in these hot seats to discuss the investigation.”
“Hot seats might be an understatement depending on how much they disagree with each other.” Marlene smirked which gave Frank a little chuckle that made most of the crew smile. His laugh was pretty infectious.
“Too right Marlene. Stick with us on this journey to find out where you fall on the Specter Spectrum by the end.”
A few weeks earlier
“I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“Remus, I understand the hang up. Believe me, I don’t want to do this either, but we need more funding. The equipment that we’ve had our eyes set on is expensive as hell and we’re running out of money to keep the lights on.”
Remus, Lily, and Sergei were sitting around a small round table with a contract in the middle to work on a new series called Specter Spectrum along with bottles of beer and some snacks. Each of them looked frustrated and uncomfortable. Lily had been doing her best to lay out why it was their best option while Sergei stayed quiet for the most part.
“It’s just going to turn into this overdramatic pissing contest between Sirius’ team and our. Plus how do we know the people behind this won’t try to fake evidence to make things more ‘interesting’?”
“It’s in the contract Remus. Please just read it or at least let me assure you about the things you're worried about. If there’s something we missed I’ll have it amended.”
Remus took a deep breath through his nose as he looked at the contract like it might burn him.
“I just don’t want to end up adding fuel to the problem. The illegitimizing of what could be a serious field of research and… manipulating vulnerable people to feel a certain way.”
“Remus…” Sergei finally spoke up and looked at him with knowing eyes. They both knew why he was so reluctant to be put in the spotlight or to participate in some film based project that wasn’t their own. “It won’t be like that. It won’t be like her show.” After a moment Remus sighed and pulled the contract closer to him.
“How much are they offering?”
Lily reached over to flip the contract to a page towards the back and when Remus saw the numbers his eyes went a bit wider.
“ Fuck... If you had led with that it would have taken a loss less convincing Lily.”
As he started to crack a smile at her gaping mouth she playfully slapped his arm and then shoved him. “You jackass. You're lucky I love you.”
He chuckled and straightened himself out in his chair just in time to catch Sergei smiling that rare smile that made his eyes crinkle delightfully. “I love you too. Both of you. We’ve been in this together since the start and I’m proud to work with you. Let’s do this stupid show and hopefully leave with enough money to send our research to the next level.” The other two cheered and picked up their bottles of beer to clink in celebration.