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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Two: Ghosts, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Two: Ghosts, pt. 1
Lily has gotten her wand and is spending the afternoon with Harry. Ginny, James, and Al have met up with James's friends, who are gathered at the Leaky Cauldron, talking about the Triwizard Tournament and Quidditch. Suddenly, Amos Diggory comes in, drunk and distraught, carrying a magazine that promises a juicy sounding article that's advertised as "Triwizard Tragedies: From Dresden Dementors to Diggory's Demise."

A couple of paragraphs here were in the original version, lifted straight in. I'm pretty sure I've got the character back on--in my original plan, James was going to sneak his way into the tournament behind Harry's back, but of course that wasn't working. The Potters are not that stupid or dysfunctional.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Mum said that she'd see Mr. Diggory home, and James and Al went along to Quality Quidditch for practice, promising to be home for supper. During the day--really, any time that Wood didn't have his old Quidditch team playing--the practice pitch was barely a quarter the size of a regulation pitch (and that was with a few Charms; Diagon Alley wasn't large enough to have a good-sized playing area), but it was quite sufficient to practice some chaser drills. It was nowhere near big enough for James to get proper practice Seeking, so he borrowed an extra bat and slammed a Bludger around with Celia for a while. Al was an excellent flyer, and he scored quite a lot of goals, but for some mysterious, Al-like reason, he wasn't planning to go out for the team this year, even though one of their Chasers had left school in June. Lily was furious at him about this, as she'd planned to play vicariously through him.

Daniela Villanueva didn't come, much to Michael's disappointment.

Once the group split, James steered Al over toward Flourish and Blotts, claiming that he wanted to check on display of Mischief Managed (it was satisfactory, and James saw at least three people in line to check out with it), but really meaning to have a look at Spooky Sports.

"Are you going to buy that?" Al asked.

James shook his head. "I'll drop a few sickles in the charity box," he said, eyeing the small wooden box where donations were taken to help very poor students with Hogwarts expenses. "But Mum would go mental if I bought it after seeing Mr. Diggory."

Al nodded, and they slipped into a nook where a pair of old armchairs crowded up against a marked up table. James opened the magazine to the main article, so they could both see it.

The article was the sort of thing James would generally have liked: lots of gruesome events that had happened at the Triwizard over the centuries, including Dementors who'd escaped their controls, a cockatrice that attacked the judges, and a vampire who'd caught and turned a champion in 1677 (the champion in question, from Beauxbatons, had been interviewed for the piece; he was excited to see the upcoming tournament at his old school anyway, and hoped at least one of the events will be held at night, so he could watch). But in the middle of this list of bizarre accidents, listed in the same breathless tone of voice, was the deliberate murder of Cedric Diggory.

And of course, the magazine said, in 1995, in the final task of the Tournament (the traditional obstacle field, in this case, a Maze stocked with dangerous creatures) Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter were abducted by Lord Voldemort's henchmen, and Diggory was subjected to a Death Curse. Does his spirit linger, as some have suggested, waiting to avenge himself?

"Why would he want to avenge himself on the tournament?" Al asked. "That doesn't make sense."

James shook his head. "I don't know. Maybe they think he's a revenant? Mind, he'd have probably stuck to Hogwarts if he was, and we'd know about it."

Al put the magazine back on the rack, and James led the way back to Fortescue Park. Teddy's friends, Frankie Apcarne (who was also "Jim Wolf"'s editor) and Tinny Gudgeon, were sitting on the bench, not looking like the wanted to be disturbed. They'd got engaged last year, but weren't in a great hurry to get married, apparently. Teddy had seemed in a rush two years ago, but now his friends were getting married off in droves, like they'd been possessed by some mad revenant of their own. Corky Atkinson had married Honoria Higgs last month. Zach Templeton had announced his engagement to Laura Chapman. Franklin Driscoll had made a splash in the sports press when he'd married fellow Puddlemere Chaser Emily Thomas. Teddy had joked that he was going to need a whole wedding wardrobe just because there wasn't time for laundry between all the dates. Even Donzo McCormack had been talking about wanting to getting married the last time James had seen him up at Teddy's. (Though, to be fair, that had been at Mira's birth, and he supposed everyone was thinking about such things that day.)

James looked at Frankie and Tinny, shook his head, then went over to the outdoor fireplace the Gudgeons had installed and bought a handful of Floo powder from the box beside it. Al did the same. A moment later, they were in the kitchen at home. Kreacher had sandwiches and iced tea for them. James invited him to sit with them for tea, and the three of them talked about Kreacher's favorite memories while they ate. These had seemed to quite suddenly start including Sirius once the portrait had come into the house, and no one reminded him that he had loathed Sirius alive, and even--through some mechanism James didn't really understand--been involved in his death.

After tea, Al hid himself in another crossword puzzle, as he hadn't been satisfied with his times this morning. James left him to his own devices, and went upstairs to write for a while. The Marauders had left Talitha's portrait--"off deviling Phineas," she said--and Talitha herself seemed content to swing and hum, so he was able to get a little bit of work done before he heard Lily's laughter coming from downstairs, and Dad calling a hello to Mum.

He closed off a sentence and went downstairs.

By the time he got there, Mum was apparently telling Dad about Mr. Diggory, because Dad's lips were pressed tightly together in a grimace.

"That's why I was against it in the first place," he muttered, then saw James at the top of the kitchen stairs and smiled. "We just missed you at Wood's," he said. "Lily wanted to get on a broom one more time before school."

"Oh, sorry," James said, coming downstairs. "Pitch time was up."

Lily shrugged. "It's all right. I got my books! And my cauldron, and all the rest. I'm going to go read my books." She grabbed her bag from Flourish and Blotts and ran to her little rug in front of the fireplace, pulling her shiny books out and examining them at random, not settling into any of them.

Mum smiled. "I got you a present," she said.

Lily looked up. "Really?"

"Yeah. I remember needing someplace to hide things from my brothers first year." She made a face at Al and James, then pulled a brown book out of her purse. "Mine was trouble, but this one should be clean."

"Is it a diary?" Lily asked, excited. "Or a journal?"

"It can be either," Mum said. "But if it starts talking back to you, tell me, and everyone else you can find, immediately. It's distinctly not supposed to."

Lily clapped her hands and took the diary, flipping through its blank pages with interest, as if they were telling her what she'd be writing over the next year. Al went over to sit by her, and show her through her first year textbooks.

James would have gone as well, but as he passed Mum and Dad, he heard Dad say fondly, too quietly for the others to hear. "I can't believe you got her a diary."

"She's been wanting one," Mum said, then winked. "And if I'm to argue with you about the damned Triwizard, I can't be squeamish about diaries." She looked over and noticed James, giving him a look that said he was being nosy. He nodded and went on over to the fireplace. He spent a pleasant two hours joining Al in telling Lily how terribly difficult everything was, no matter how easy it looked in the books.

Later that night, when Lily had retired to her room (possibly to make her first diary entry, though James thought it more likely that she was just going to pet each one of her books in turn) and Al and Mum had got a game of chess going, James started to go back up to the attic, but stopped when he saw the light under Dad's office door.

He went to the door and peeked in. Dad was sitting by an old box, reading what seemed to be a thick letter.

James knocked.

Dad looked up and smiled. "Did you need something?"

"Just bored. What's that?" He pointed to the box, on which he could now see the words, "Sirius's things." He'd seen the box before, but never open.

"This?" Dad held up the letter, and James nodded. "It's a letter I wrote to Sirius. After the first task in my tournament."

"The dragon and the Firebolt?"

"You know about that?"

"No, Dad. I don't know anything about you, and couldn't find out if I tried."

Dad laughed, and glanced down at the letter. "I'd forgotten how much fun I had that day--well, in retrospect. It didn't seem all that fun the first second I saw the dragon." He shook his head. "I had to tell Sirius everything. Twice, some of it."

"You wrote a story?" James smiled. "Can I read it?"

Dad sighed and rolled his eyes mightily, then Levitated the letter over to James. "As long as you don't start editing it to make it more interesting."

James read the letter eagerly--it was the first time he'd heard (or, well, read) Dad sounding so excited about something he'd done. The flight on the Firebolt sounded exciting, and the dragon seemed like a great challenge. He finished and gave it back. "Sounds like fun."

"Yeah," Dad said, and put the letter back in the box of Sirius's things. "It was. In its way."

"Did Cedric think so?"

Dad nodded.

James sat down. "I read the article that Mr. Diggory saw. It was trying to say that Cedric will be vengeful spirit."

"I doubt it," Dad said. "Not Cedric's style."

"I'm going to put my name in if there's no age line," James said.

Dad nodded. "I know."

James did something then that he hadn't for a long time. He went to Dad, and kissed his cheek.

Dad smiled. "Good night, James."

"'Night, Dad."
22 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Great to see the story progressing. Can't wait till the tournament :D

One quick edit- First paragraph, I would hope James is hitting a Bludger not a beater around

-Maraudercat
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
My goodness, so do I!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hey, am I the first one?

I know I haven't been commenting much, but I've been reading as avidly as ever. I thought this story was terrific in its first incarnation, but this new version is decidedly improved as well. Looking forward to the future installments!

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hey, am I the first one?

Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

great third chapter but there seems to be a few odd sentences...

" Al went along to Quality Quidditch for *PRACTICE*, promising to be home for supper. During the day--*really, any time that Wood didn't have his old Quidditch team playing*--it was barely a quarter the size of a regulation pitch"

the wording makes it seem like they went to the Store to practice quidditch....

and then the other part of the sentence seems to talk about James and co. going to practice with Wood, it's confusing what it's talking about and i think you might be missing the word "pitch" or something at the end of "day"....


but the chapter is looking good.

~Alex Wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: great third chapter but there seems to be a few odd sentences...

That's what they're doing--Oliver built a practice pitch at the store.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: great third chapter but there seems to be a few odd sentences...

Wow.

it must be a mighty small pitch then....

Even with extension charms and enchantments....

~A
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: great third chapter but there seems to be a few odd sentences...

It's quite small, yes.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 19th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brave chice of gift on Ginny's part. It seems everyone is battling ghosts of the past (and this lot have a load of them!).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wanted a diary in the mix for various technical reasons, and I thought--why not make it do double duty as a character thing for Ginny? ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

technical reasons?

what do you mean by technical reasons?

like plot reasons?

~A
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: technical reasons?

I want the diary around for part of how I'm going to be writing the story--technical as in "technique."
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 20th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: technical reasons?

so like a part of chapters as diary entries?

~A
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 20th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: technical reasons?

Yup.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 19th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

nice bittersweet chapter... wait What?

this chapter has some nice slow pace, and you keep re-telling awesome little details!

the quidditch practice thing was nice, it was nice for James and Al to be getting along well
(couldn't help but notice the detail of Al being surprisingly good at quidditch... hint at future quidditch team involvement? maybe Chaser? like his grandad? ;p)


Michael's famous person crush on Dani Villanueva is becoming very amusing...

that article sounds all kinds of awful (very surprised that there has been a casualty before (*i mean with an escaped Dementor?) did they mentioned in the book the tournament having casualties Before harry did it? , interesting the mention of a vampire-ex-champion...

the note on Cedric sounds really distasteful and offensive--- and to think once skeeter was out and with honoria there instead things would improve and journalists wouldn't be a bunch of tactless slimy gits...

so wait, Kreacher and Sirius don't Hate each other now?! how did they made a truce/ reached a civil interaction?

also Wow wow wow half of Teddy classmates seem to be taking a leaf out of the old generation book.... I understand one or two but that's.... 4 couples married or engaged? why the rush wizards and witches (even muggleborn ones) live much much longer...

do hope they're all happy and we do see another wedding scene soon.

also loved lily luna's enthusiast with starting hogwarts, and that father-son bonding between harry and james Jr.

and, i'm thinking this is were the old version stopped, if i'm not mistaken?

so looking forward to conplete fresh material for next chapter!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: nice bittersweet chapter... wait What?

It's mentioned in GoF that the body count had been getting too high, so yes--definitely there've been casualties!

I understand one or two but that's.... 4 couples married or engaged? why the rush wizards and witches (even muggleborn ones) live much much longer...

Yes, but it seems that they don't have university, so our biggest postponing element isn't involved. They pretty much already know everyone they're going to know... why drag their feet as much as we do?
From: severely_lupine Date: August 19th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can hardly believe she got Lily a diary too, but she does make a good point.

Does James know about the whole Tom Riddle's diary incident?

This line cracks me up: “No, Dad. I don’t know anything about you, and couldn’t find out if I tried.”

Aw, the ending was cute. I like how Harry knows he's going to do it, and knows that it's no good trying to stop him, and James feels like he can tell him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like how Harry knows he's going to do it, and knows that it's no good trying to stop him, and James feels like he can tell him

That's, I think, what wasn't working for me in my first draft. It was going to be a source of some tension, maybe an argument, but of course I couldn't get them to behave, because they're just not like that. Harry wouldn't be operating under any illusions about what James is likely to do, and James wouldn't lie to him or sneak around.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

erm.. .there is this line in your summary that confuses me....

in summing up the last chapter and mentioning the future plot points you said this:

-in my original plan, James was going to sneak his way into the tournament behind Harry's back, but of course that wasn't working. The Potters are not "that stupid or dysfunctional."

I'm sure you meant Not Stupid and Not Dysfunctional at all?

because Harry is not stupid nor dysfunctional.....

~Alex Wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: erm.. .there is this line in your summary that confuses me....

I didn't mean it literally. Just, well--exactly what you said. That obviously, they aren't stupid or dysfunctional. Sort of an eyeroll at myself.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 20th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)

I love the new, improved Ville-Sauvage!

Despite promising myself I would try to save up the chapterlets to read every couple of weeks, I find myself compulsively checking LJ almost every day - you have me hooked once more!

It seems much more in character that Harry would know James will enter the Tournament and that James wouldn't try to hide it from him. I love the mention of the Beauxbatons vampire; Lily going off to pet all her new school books (exactly what I did after returning from every school supply shopping trip) and Kreacher's selective memory about his past feelings toward Sirius. It reminds me of the way adult children sometimes treat their elderly parents, thinking it kinder to indulge their mis-rememberings than contradict them with painful truth. A very nice, bittersweet, human touch. (Like a previous commenter, I am wondering if there was some reconciliation with Kreacher and Sirius' portrait).

I really like the way you write the interaction between the Potter siblings, I'm dying to see how their relationships evolve as they get older ... this gives me an idea for the next Challenge Call!

Fantastic job and I can't wait to see where you take us next!
Xine
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 20th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I love the new, improved Ville-Sauvage!

Thanks, I'm glad you're liking it! I also used to pet school supplies... glad I wasn't the only one!

Kreacher may have reconciled with the portrait (though portraits have a limited ability to learn or change, so I'm not sure it could change its tune... then again, maybe it's just high spirited and good-natured enough that it doesn't devil Kreacher anymore, and Kreacher has started to think of Sirius as a funny little boy).
22 comments or Leave a comment