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Batch 21: Canon Era (12) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 21: Canon Era (12)
Woo-hoo! End of the canon era ones... and I'm actually almost halfway through.

while on the run sirius helps a muggle child who is young enough to not recognize him from the wanted posters. for mercury'ravenclaw
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All I need is a bloody kilt, Sirius thought, standing at the edge of the ravine and looking out over the Highlands. A kilt, a set of bagpipes, and a voluptuous lass pining away for me.

He rolled his eyes. He'd spent time in any number of odd places this year, including a workroom in a Muggle library. There had been piles of piles of paperbacks featuring, for some mad reason, pictures of shirtless Scotsmen in kilts, often carrying both swords and bagpipes, with subtle titles like The Laird's Lover and The Scotsman's Pride. They all had long, unkempt hair, sometimes--for no earthly reason--with feathers in it. Sirius's had feathers in it as well, but that was because he'd caught a pigeon for supper, and it had fluttered crazily, showing everything in the vicinity. The wind was, indeed, pulling at his hair as he stood atop a highland peak. He was also, at the moment, sans shirt, but he didn't suppose anyone would put him on the cover of a book, not as skinny as he was these days.

Maybe in the old days. In the old days, he supposed he could have sold any number of bad paperbacks, if he'd known where one got such work. Now? Perhaps he could model malnutrition for a Healer's textbook. (He'd briefly seen Lupin wandering through Hogsmeade earlier this week, and from the looks of him, he wasn't much better. If Sirius ever managed to get his name cleared, he planned on having a long word with Dumbledore on just why he'd allowed Remus to live so poorly over the years. That was no way to repay a loyal compatriot.)

He sighed, and felt the wind against his chest. There was a bite in the evening as October drew in, and he'd have to steal heavier clothes soon. It wouldn't do Harry any good if he died of pneumonia before he got into Hogwarts to kill Wormtail.

Either that, or he could go back to London, sneak into the house, and have a warm fire at night. No one would be the wiser, and it certainly looked like no one else was left there. Mum certainly wasn't the type to be keeping quiet about the return of her prodigal son, if she were still here to say anything. He wondered if she'd put him back on the tree when she'd heard he was a Death Eater.

He sat down on a rock, fully prepared to commit to another afternoon of fretting about getting into Hogwarts, wondering if anyone was left alive, and planning more creative ways to do away with Wormtail... but his plans were interrupted by a scream.

He stood up, adrenaline rushing through him. The scream was echoing along the rocky sides of the ravine. It was thin and high... a child's voice.

"Help me! Help!"

Sirius took a step, then stopped.

The wanted posters were everywhere. If he went to help, he'd be sent back to Azkaban--probably fed to the Dementors without a trial.

Harry needed him outside of Azkaban. Only he knew the truth about Wormtail.

Lupin knows. Just find time to shout, "It's Wormtail! He's with the Weasleys!" Then whatever happens can happen.

Only that wasn't quite fair. Sirius wanted justice, he wanted--

The scream came again.

Sirius felt frozen to the spot.

Surely, someone else was nearby, children didn't wander up into the dangerous highlands unaccompanied...

But there was another scream. No one was answer it.

Bloody hell, Padfoot, James said in his head. What's the point of not having your soul sucked out if you're just going to stand there and throw it away with both hands anyway? There's a kid screaming. Are you going to let it die?

The paralysis broke. Sirius ran toward the scream.

The boy was a few feet down the ravine, perhaps a quarter of a mile from Sirius's excuse for a camp. His face was bloody and his left arm had twisted behind him. He'd caught himself on a narrow, wet ledge of shale, but his feet were slipping... and the rock was easy to break.

"Hold on!" Sirius called down. "I haven't got a wand--"

"A what?" the boy yelled.

"A... a rope!" Sirius yelled, realizing that he was talking to a Muggle. He hadn't realized there were Muggles this close to Hogsmeade. "Let me find a branch!"

"I can't grab hold!"

Sirius ground his teeth. The boy was in reach, if he leaned over very, very carefully. He grabbed a sharp rock--there were plenty of those--and scratched a trench in the earth. Using it to steady his feet, he bent over the lip of the ravine.

It was harder than it looked, and Sirius nearly ended up going over himself a few times. He had a feeling he was doing a bit of wandless magic keeping his feet planted in his little trench, but he didn't have time to think about it. Finally, bit by bit, he pulled the boy upward, until they lay side by side in the grass.

"Thank you," the boy said. "I--"

"You! Who are you?"

Sirius sat up. A tall man was coming down a slope, brandishing a heavy board as a weapon.

"What did you do to my boy?"

The boy scrambled to his feet. "Nothing! I fell! He helped me!"

The man narrowed his eyes at Sirius. "You look familiar."

"I, er..."

"Dad, he helped," the boy said again.

The narrowed eyes resolved into recognition. "Aye. So he did. And because of that, I'm going to turn my back for one minute. Use it well."

The man grabbed the boy and pulled him away, and turned his back.

Sirius ran along the edge of the ravine, and threw himself headlong into the shadows.



dont know if this makes sense but' can i ask for a PoV one? Sirius a moment during Strays where he can envision making it work doing little things undercover (or whatever he imagined to be doing when he decided to come back to england for harry) and then Sirius, thinking of what his changed priorities as he reflects on almost'killed harry in the graveyard and voldemort return, on what he is role he is going to play for harry now. its not too hard? for maraudersChickFan
[I think I know what you mean. Hope this is right!]
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Sirius was ready to break out of his dog form and storm the castle by the time Minerva McGonagall came to fetch him.

"Don't transform," she said quietly, as if reading his mind. "I'm to take you to Dumbledore's office, then return to him. Harry is safe."

Sirius gave a sharp bark.

Whether it was because McGonagall understood the frustrations of being in an Animagus form or because Sirius's need to know was obvious, she answered as if he'd asked. "Alastor Moody was never here. I don't know everything; I'm sure Dumbledore will tell you. A Death Eater has been masquerading. He set this up. I can't speak any further; we're too near the castle."

Sirius fought an urge to just transform, to hell with the rules, and beg her for more information, but he could see by the set of her face that the last thing anyone needed tonight was the distraction of his sudden appearance--and, given the mood since the end of the Task, he might be lynched on sight. He was, after all, a Death Eater, at least as far as anyone here was concerned, and a boy had been murdered. Harry did not need to deal with that.

He padded along silently after McGonagall, who took him inside the castle, passed by doors and portraits without commenting (Sirius caught a glimpse of Phineas Nigellus, of all people, slinking along beside them at one point... then remembered that Phineas had seen him in this form, and knew perfectly well who he was). She reached the gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's office, said, "Lemon drops," and waited for the door to open. "Go on," she said. "Dumbledore will be with you in a moment."

Sirius went onto the first step, and the door closed behind him.

When he reached the top of the stairs, he transformed and looked around dully. There'd been a time he'd been a frequent visitor here--usually because Mum would come in and demand that his house be changed, or that he be removed from classes with Muggle-borns, or that Dumbledore police his interactions with people she'd disowned. His most prominent memory of it, though, was the night he'd tried to trick Snape into seeing Remus transformed--Dumbledore had been in a rage, and it had been terrifying, even though Sirius hadn't quite understood it at the time (the real horror of what might have happened hadn't really occurred to him until later, when Remus had refused to speak to him, and even James had been appalled). Snape had sat in the red chair by the window, making wild accusations about a murder attempt and threatening to tell everyone Remus's secret. Dumbledore had got him calmed down, convinced him not to retaliate against Remus ("He is not responsible for this"), then sat Sirius down and demanded a reason not to expel him.

Sirius couldn't remember what he'd said.

"You're becoming tiresome again," Phineas said from his portrait. "Moping about and letting your appearance fall to pieces. Remember, how you choose to appear will determine how people will judge you."

"People already made their judgment," Sirius said, sitting down. "I doubt they care, at this point, whether my hair potions have expired."

"That attitude is why you remain a fugitive. Clean yourself up nicely, present yourself to the Wizengamot, argue your case--"

"They'd throw me to the Dementors on sight, Grayfur."

"Hmph."

"A boy died tonight."

"Is that what's happening? None of the portraits seemed to know." He looked alarmed. "It isn't the Potter boy, is it?"

"No. His name was Diggory."

"Ah. No one you know. Why so troubled?"

"Because a seventeen year old boy is dead. Because I've spent all year running pointless errands, trying to solve mysteries that don't matter--"

"Rescuing people who don't matter?" Phineas asked pointedly.

"They mattered," Sirius said, and sighed. He hadn't exactly had trouble not thinking about Fiona since he'd left her in Brazil--he felt guilty about that when he did think about her--but that didn't mean she didn't matter.

She was just not the person he was meant to be taking care of.

That person was downstairs, having barely escaped murder, being consoled by Dumbledore and McGonagall.

"I did everything but what I came for."

"And what, precisely, did you imagine you could do, whilst running about with a price on your head? Did you imagine you would coach him through his tasks? Rush in on anyone threatening him?" Phineas raised his eyebrows. "Good heavens, Sirius, you're meant to be among my more intelligent progeny. You were never in a position to do any of those things."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"The boy's guardianship is in your hands--"

"It's in Petunia Dursley's hands."

Phineas wrinkled his nose. "That is a mere contingency, based on crude magic. You are his guardian. You were trusted to provide him with a safe home, a stable figure--"

Sirius looked up, horrified that Phineas would even bring it up. "I can't. I can't go back there. I can't put Harry in the middle of Number Twelve."

Phineas didn't back down. "You have what your Order needs. What your godson needs. And he is blood... need I remind you? You are no futher apart than second cousins. He is my blood as well. You have a safe place."

"Grimmauld Place is not safe."

"For Harry, or for you?"

Sirius didn't answer.

Phineas sneered. "Ah, yes, Gryffindor. Home of the brave. You'll face any monster you might beat, but you won't sacrifice the one thing you need to sacrifice."

"My sanity?"

"Don't be so melodramatic. I mean, your stubborn, foolish pride. Your vow that you'd never return to your mother's house. You've already broken it. Twice."

"And you want me to give your house over to people you'd look down your nose at?"

"It isn't high on my list of desires, no. But were I in your position, Sirius, I would wonder whether I could stand to lose my pride for the sake of my duty. Or if I would be too... afraid to do it."

"I can't," Sirius said. "When I was there with Fee, it was like being at Azkaban."

"Oh, please. You do have a flair for cheap dramatics. It is your family home. It was built to protect your family."

"I know. The whole, miserable, bigoted lot of them."

"Those are my children and grandchildren you are slandering. Beware."

"Or what? You'll stare me to death?"

"I'll cease to tell you what you know perfectly well you now need to do for your godson. What you owe him."

Sirius turned away from the portrait (it tried to go around through the others to catch his eye, but he refused to let it). It was right about one thing--his place in Harry's life was to provide safety and stability.

It was time to stop playing fugitive Auror... whatever that might mean.
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Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 25th, 2012 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)
These are both great (though I'm not sure I've ever seen Scottish-themed romances in the UK - well, not the kind with lurid pictures of kilted men on the cover. Not exotic enough, I suppose...)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 25th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I laugh at them every time I see them. I just had to throw them in once I got the initial picture in my head, even if it would be weird. ;p I suspect it started with Highlander here, though I doubt the romance readers would have heard of it.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: January 28th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It always baffled me that there are a jillion Scottish heroes in romance novels and no Irish ones, and you're the first one I've seen who voiced a theory on the matter, so thanks.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 25th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually loved Sirius's vision of himself on the cover of a romance novel. The second snippet filled in why Sirius offered the Order the use of his hated family house as headquarters.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 25th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
:D

i love me comflicted sirius being heroic. his inner voices were both great insight and sad at how he misses his friend. ;(

and the contrast between romanticized kilt sirius and azkaban made me laugh and cry.

poor sirius he couldnt catch a break even among muggles.

good one

mercury'ravenclaw

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