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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Fourteen: Yule Tidings, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Fourteen: Yule Tidings, pt. 3
James and Scops just got back from Gabrielle's, where they met her husband, Nicolas DuLac, who was the son of a French Death Eater (he and Scops bond somewhat over this). Nicolas says that, had he not been old enough to remember, he believes his father--now ashamed--would have lied about his participation. Scops says that Draco has always told him the truth, for which he is grateful. He and James talk about this for a moment, James awkwardly mentioning the subject, and Scops shrugging it off, then challenging him to a race back to the train. They get there at the same time, and Robards lets them in without any further conversation.

Table of Contents So Far




There was talk of nothing but the upcoming Yule Ball for the next week, as Beauxbatons officially entered its Christmas holidays. Almost no one went home. Madame Maxime had managed to book Enchantress, an American band with a large following among the Beauxbatons girls, who all tried to mimic the bouncy, curly hair of the lead singer, Kelly Sweet, as the date approached. (Elodie, whose hair naturally fell this way, kept hers in a tight bun, just out of spite. She promised she'd do something more flattering when they actually attended.) Dani Villanueva, who hadn't been around since the First Task, would be returning to host the dance, accompanied by her Mexican beau, much to the disappointment of several boys. Girls talked about how fabulous their robes were--many packages from tailors arrived by owl during meals--and boys joked uncomfortably about how stupid they were going to feel. James tried on the robes Mum had packed, and didn't think he looked stupid. He thought he just looked disturbingly old, like he was already a grown-up who had just somehow misplaced a few inches of his height. Edward Flourish caught him at this and took the mickey out of him for a day about it.

A letter arrived from Teddy, with news about Mira and Victoire and the new baby, to be called Orion ("We're going to stick with 'Orry' for every day"). He'd also written a new chapter of the Marauder book, in which Jason Clay and Sir Ryan Brown got themselves stuck in an Acromantula web, and Violet Owens had to team up with Raymond--who had escaped this fate by sheer chance--to rescue them. He left the chapter off just as the Acromantula came crawling toward them. James went to the Beauxbatons library to learn more about Acromantulas, and a few Beauxbatons students spotted him, and the next day, he found Titouan Boulanger holed up in the stacks with every resource the library had on the subject. James considered reminding him that the Second Task was never about a single creature, but decided not to.

Reporters were finding ways onto the school grounds, trying to find out about the champions, their dates, their robes, and their musical preferences. On Wednesday, James found himself cornered by a Belgian reporter asking if it was true that Harry Potter's son meant to attend with a Crassonist, and if so, how Dad felt about it. As James hadn't mentioned anything about Elodie to Dad, this had necessitated a quick Floo call before the reporter's story ("Potter Scion Defends Crassonism: Insists on 'Abstentionist' Terminology") went viral. Dad--who hadn't happened to hear of the sect--had been forced to do some rapid research on it with Aunt Hermione. The reporter claimed that he "had no comment," which James took to mean that he'd rolled his eyes hugely and told the reporter to go find an actual story.

On Thursday, Celia slipped off to transform, and claimed in a note on Friday that she'd injured herself and meant to stay at the sanctuary village all weekend. Given that reporters had been asking her very personal questions about lycanthropy and romance, James rather suspected that the injury, if it existed, was being overplayed.

On the last Sunday before Christmas, James met Elodie for lunch in her favorite spot on the river. The place was a group of rocks about halfway between the train and Ville-Sauvage. There were a bit off the path, and James hadn't climbed them yet, so when she led him up to the top, he was quite surprised to see what a view they commanded. He could see the Sentinelle glimmering along its banks, the fields spread out around it, the snowy mountaintops as the range curved away.

"This is nice," he said.

"And no one else ever comes here, except for the groundskeeper," Elodie added, spreading out a picnic blanket. It was a bit cold for it, but nothing like it would be at Hogwarts, or even in London. Decent jackets were quite sufficient. Elodie took out the basket of food that they'd gathered in Dining Chamber and began to spread it out. She sighed. "Thank you for the bit with the reporter. My pastor this morning asked me to thank you--and your dad--on behalf of the church."

"Oh. Right. Sure, you're welcome." James turned away, and fidgeted at the hem of his jacket, unsure how he felt about now being officially known by a religious group he was, at best, ambivalent about.

"You didn't have to. And you didn't have to come out here with me. I eat alone most of the time. You don't need to act like we're going together just because of the stupid reporter."

"Would you think less of me if I told you that my brother has a girlfriend, and I'm jealous?"

"Yes."

"Well, then, I won't tell you that." He sat down across from her.

She served out sandwiches, hot chocolate, and wine. "So... why were you researching Acromantulas?"

"They want you to find out for your champion?"

She nodded. "It's amazing. They actually talked to me and used my actual name, and didn't threaten me." She clasped her hands and batted her eyes. "'Oh, Elodie, you're friends with the Hogwarts champion's friend, can you find out why on earth he wants to know about Acromantulas? Is it for the task?'"

"It's not," James said.

"Then why?"

"Private hobby."

"You have a private hobby that involves man-eating giant spiders?"

"Just a story that I'm--" He stopped himself. "Just a story I'm reading."

"Sounds exciting. Have you read the English writer Jim Wolf? He had an adventure out--Mischief Managed. Do you know it?"

James grinned. "I know it pretty well, yes. Do you like it?"

"Well, it's sort a little kids' book, but it's fun."

James, who had been considering sharing his secret identity, rethought it. "Well, I imagine Jason Clay and Ryan Brown would have figured out who'd tried to wreck the tournament by now."

"And found a treasure and rescued a pricess."

"There was no princess in Mischief Managed."

"What about that Violet girl?"

"She didn't need rescuing." James nibbled at his sandwich. "Who is sabotaging the tournament, I wonder?"

"No one lately," Elodie said. "There hasn't been anything since the sirens got out. Maybe someone's bored with it now." She considered it. "Or maybe they'll do something at the Ball. Some of the girls are saying that someone trying to ruin the tournament would attack the band, since the whole world will watch."

"That's a cheerful idea."

She shrugged. "Everyone will be here soon. Denis Laurent--we know he's already broken something, when he took your champion's name from the goblet. Daniela Villanueva is in Ste.-Marthe, and she'll be coming here--"

"Why would Dani do anything?"

"There are rumors about her," Elodie reminded him. "About her tournament, and how she just appeared at San Cipriano to try out. No one really knows where she came from before. With all the biographies, no one has ever visited her home village."

"There are rumors about you, as well, and I don't recall many people visiting your town."

"It's true. I'm not saying I believe the rumors. But they exist. And there is your Mr. Diggory."

"He's not going to be anywhere near the Ball."

"Or the ghost of his son."

James sighed. "It's not Cedric. Not his style at all."

"I'm not saying it is. But you wanted to know who might be sabotaging things. I'm telling you some people it may be. There are also older Beauxbatons students who resent that they missed it. And people who just like to ruin anything just because they're unhappy about totally unrelated matters. And frankly, if I were one of the werewolves in Celia's village, I wouldn't want Beauxbatons to look good to anyone at all."

"Yes, I'm sure Père Alderman is in a rush to let sirens loose." James sighed. "The problem is, no one really seems likely. Even Laurent. He'd sabotage Celia, but not the tournament."

"Well, there's still me. I certainly cringe whenever they run those stories about Beauxbatons and all of its wonderful traditions. Of course, I know it's not me, so I need to look somewhere else. I think the key is in why someone would do it."

"I have my brother and sister working on that," James said.

"Useful brother and sister."

"They're the best. Don't tell them I said so." James finished his sandwich. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

"Three. They're all much younger than I am. My sister is nine. She--"

But they were interrupted by a bellow from below. It seemed to be angry, but, to James's surprise, he didn't recognize the words. Elodie stood and called back. The words sounded French, but James couldn't quite parse them.

A moment later, a grey-haired man appeared from below. He and Elodie had sharp sounding words, then she ground her teeth and turned to James. "Casier says we have to leave. Too close to Ville-Sauvage."

"I couldn't tell what he was saying."

"He's speaking Walloon. Close to French, but not the same. You mentioned my village? His cousins are my neighbors."

The old man, Casier, continued to berate them as they packed up. "Who is he?" James asked.

"Groundskeeper."

"Why haven't I seen him before?"

"He's supposed to stay away from students. Mostly, he's good at it."

"Our groundskeeper talks to us all the time."

"I doubt yours is an unreformed gentil," Elodie muttered, leading the way away from the rocks.

"Elodie--"

"I know, I know. I say that about everyone, but he's for real. Card-carrying member of the club."

"Could he be the one sabotaging things?"

"He's a Squib. He couldn't if he wanted to. Which he probably does." She wrinkled her nose. "Madam Laurent wants him gone, but Madam Maxime gives everyone a chance. I suppose I should be grateful for that." She shook her head, and went on down the path without saying anything else.

James followed her after a moment or two.
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Comments
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: What a great surprise this morning!

I hope when the perp is revealed, the response will be "Of course!" rather than "WTH?", but hopefully it will be a surprised "of course."
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 27th, 2012 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the ball! I can't wait either!

Dad!Harry rolling his eyes "hugely" FTW.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
James is exactly right on what "no comment" translates as, too. :P
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: May 27th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

I don't think I ever said this before but....

I really admire you as a fanfic writer.

not only on your characterization and building off ocs, but also it amazes me how how you manage to put so much detail and elements in such short chaptelettes.

not only that, but it's nice that there are still people of quality in fandom, when most of the popular ones left, are a bit shaded,etc

so thanks
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I don't think I ever said this before but....

Thank you. I don't know how much more I have to say in this fandom (I always think I'm almost out, then there's just one more thing I have to write), but I'm glad people are still around to read it!
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: May 27th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

things are building up

I know i'm being such a girl- but I'm really excited for the Yule Ball. it looks like it's going to be fun! (certainly hope a bit more enjoyable than the previous one, and hopefully less angsty)

ah reporter. geeze. well at least these dont seem as sensationalist as skeeter- by which i mean they get No comment and they stick to the no comment- instead of making rubbish up.

Elodie is beginning to grow on me I admit, it's nice to see she's softening up and treat magical-users better.

it made me laugh so hard how the Beauxbaton champion thought the second task was about Acromantulas just because james was reading about it, and monopolized the subject matter.

also found it funny how Elodie mentioned Jim Wolf with James right there keeping his secret identity.

for someone who is picked on so much, Elodie sure collects really nasty rumours about others. I know it's not her that thinks them but seriously who would think bad of father Alderman?!

and the groundkeeper seems awful fishy now. and what does elodie mean by "he's for real. Card-carrying member of the club".

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: things are building up

I think Elodie is inherently defensive and acidic in her personality, but she doesn't necessarily have anything against magic users. She just assumes (on good evidence) that they have something against her.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 28th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Squee, Kelly Sweet! I hope that means we'll have a Donzo and Maurice cameo! I miss Teddy's crew.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I can squeeze in some Maurice, at least.
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 29th, 2012 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)
That would be amazing. Looking forward to it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 28th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
need to catch up, but this is most intriguing.

the plot thickens

~Alex Wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you like!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 28th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, the Yule ball approacheth--looking forward to seeing what happens there. And Elodie is acting downright human--an unlikely ally but one who might have a lot to offer as a fellow detective.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 29th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
She's observant, anyway--always useful!
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 29th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

The More Things Change...

I love the reference to Harry doing frantic, catch up research with Hermione about the Abstensionistes. Just like the old days!

Sara Libby
15 comments or Leave a comment