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Little Bits of Junk, part 5 (conclusion) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Little Bits of Junk, part 5 (conclusion)
Title: Little Bits of Junk
Harry Potter/Raiders of the Lost Ark
Neville Longbottom/Marion Ravenwood

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Complete version at ithurtsmybrain.

Notable objects: Feather of Maát, ancient Egyptian artifact that grants far-seeing powers to witches or wizards who use it.
Emerald brooch with names on the back: Names include Neville Longbottom's gran. Left in British Museum when the Feather of Maát was stolen; in the past, worn by Mertysa Marvolo.

Characters:
Neville Longbottom: Sent into the past by accident; ordered by Kingsley Shacklebolt to retrieve the Feather and bring it back so it doesn't get stolen in the first place, because Bellatrix has it.
Marion Ravenwood: Found the Feather on a dig with Dad. Is having having some self-esteem issues after a rendevous with a certain achaeology student has wrecked her reputation. Attaches herself to Neville because he's nice to her.
Mertysa Marvolo and Tom Riddle: Fashionable young couple in the 1920s, who are planning to steal the Feather. Riddle is unaware that his best girl is a witch. Neville has noticed that she's not carrying a wand.

Last event: Mertysa tried to steal the Feather, but Neville got it away from her. He and Marion have locked themselves in a basement. He tried to get back, but Bellatrix blocked the way. He has to explain to Marion what he needs to do. She's annoyed with him for trying to steal from her dad, but agrees to help him get out, because Bella spooked her. But she insists that he talk to her.




Neville let Marion lead the way, though he really didn't have any reason to believe she knew the house any better than he did. His mind was slightly numb, like he'd fallen from his broom and landed headfirst on swampy ground.

At first, when the window had closed, there'd been a rush of energy, a kind of confidence he wasn't at all used to--after all, he'd just thwarted Bellatrix Lestrange, taken something from her that he wanted. But as Marion led him down the stairs into the dark cellar, weaving between shelves, heading for the door to the gardens, the energy was getting cobwebby and murky.

Had that been Kingsley on the floor, bleeding? What had happened there? Why had Bellatrix returned? What did it mean that she still had the Feather of Maát?

"Here it is," Marion said. She leaned against the wooden slats of the door. "I don't hear anyone. Can you... you know, do that Feather thing again?"

Neville nodded and closed his eyes, trying to picture the area outside the door, the men he'd seen there a moment ago. His sight took a dizzying leap, and he found himself near the front of the house, among the parked cars, where Marion's father and the others were looking into all the windows. He opened his eyes. "They're gone," he said.

Marion lifted the wooden bar that held the door closed and set it aside. There would be no way to seal the door other than magic once they were outside, but Neville didn't think it mattered. Marion would be able to say that she'd found him hiding in the cellar and then followed him out after they left.

She opened the door, and moonlight spilled in, reflecting from her dark hair in a kind of ghostly radiance. Had she actually tried to kiss him upstairs?

And had he stopped her?

She bent over quickly and pulled her high-heeled shoes off, tossing them unceremoniously into a corner. "Nobody'd believe I chased anyone in those," she said. "Besides, the heels leave holes in the grass. Easy to follow."

"I wouldn't have thought of that."

"That's 'cause you've never worn heels. C'mon."

She glanced quickly back and forth, then went outside. Neville followed. She held her finger to her mouth--unnecessarily--to signal him to be quiet, then pointed ahead at a shadowy patch of woods twenty yards away. He nodded.

Marion bit her lip, took a deep breath, and took off at a run across the open area, her dress catching the moonlight, making her seem ghostlike as her feet disappeard into the shallow ground mist. She reached the tree line and slipped into the shadows, ducking behind a tree. She leaned around cautiously and beckoned for Neville to come.

Neville glanced up at the house briefly, hearing the laughter of the guests, the calls of searchers elsewhere on the grounds, the pleasant dance music. Then he ran.

He reached Marion seconds later, and she caught him before his moment drove him into the trunk of an oak. "Okay," she said. "We're clear. Let's find a place to talk."

"All right."

At a slower pace, picking their way among the roots and ground plants, they went deeper into the forest, until the moonlight came only in occasional dappled patches. Ahead, Neville could see a large open area; it seemed to glow with silver torches, though of course it was only moonlight seeping in. When the reached it, he saw that it was a natural meadow, dominated by a large natural rock formation at the center. The grass was dotted with tiny wildflowers, and a stream at the far side was lined with gently swaying willow trees.

"Wow," Marion said, looking up with plain delight. "This is pretty. I didn't know this was here. I guess you never know, do you? Let's get to the willows, in case anyone comes." She set out across the meadow, looking up at the rocks and the stars as she went, and Neville followed her. When they got to the willows, they found a large rock at the stream's edge, behind the veil of the willow's leaves, and they sat on its relatively flat top. It was a close fit, and facing one another, they were knee to knee. Marion gathered her skirt and pooled it in her lap to cover herself, though she was showing quite an embarrassing amount of her legs. "All right, Neville," she said. "Tell me why I'm supposed to let you get away with stealing stuff from my dad."

Neville carefully took the Feather of Maát off his head, and held it in one hand, looking at it as he spoke. "I was born on the thirtieth of July in nineteen-eighty," he said. He waited for Marion to say she didn't believe him, but when he looked up, she was just listening with a slighly skeptical--but not unkind--look on her face. "I can't tell you much about what happens between now and then."

"Don't want to know, anyway."

"Hmm."

"But somehow, this"--he gestured with the Feather--"ends up forgotten in a box in the British Museum, until the woman you saw got her hands on it. She can't get it. We didn't even know it had been found."

"We?"

"Wizards and witches."

"Right. And what about the leprechauns? Do they know?"

"Not that I'm aware of. Leprechauns aren't particularly bright."

She laughed. "I like you, Neville."

"Really?"

"Sure. Why wouldn't I?"

Neville didn't answer that. He just looked down at the Feather. "The problem is," he said, "that I don't know why Bellatrix--the woman--still had the Feather. If I've got it, then it isn't stolen, so how does it end up where it ends up?"

"Maybe she'll take it back from you or something."

"Possibly." He frowned. "I don't know why the Ministry isn't here. I don't know why she doesn't have a wand. Something is happening, and I just..." He shook his head. "Marion, I have to get this to London. To the wizarding authorities. I thought I could just take it back, but that's not going to work. I'll have to bring it somewhere safe and then go back."

"And if she gets you on the way to London?"

"I don't know. I don't even know where I am, actually." He felt panic trying to rise. "I don't know what's going wrong, I don't know what I'm meant to--"

He broke off abruptly as something warm and soft brushed against the corner of his mouth. When he turned his head up, his nose bumped against Marion's. She put her hand on his cheek, leaned in, and touched her lips to his again.

At first, he wasn't sure what to do. He'd kissed Ginny Weasley good-night after the Yule Ball, but that had just been a brief sort of peck, and this was... not. Marion's lips had covered his fully, and he could feel her tongue teasing against them. He opened his mouth to tell her this, and she claimed him fully.

Finally, she pulled away. "Feel better?" she asked.

Neville blinked. "I... well... thank you... I... why?"

"You were getting upset. I thought you needed to calm down a little."

"Calm isn't precisely what I'm feeling."

She smiled and patted his face, drawing her long fingers down his cheek. "You're sweet," she said.

"I'm leaving," Neville said helplessly. "I can't stay here."

"Didn't ask you to." She looked around. "We're not far from the road," she said. "You could go up there, get a ride to London from someone, or at least partway."

"And if Mertysa catches me on the way?"

Marion thought deeply, then abruptly grabbed the string of pearls around her neck and yanked it hard. It left a red weal as the string broke. She handed it to him. "I'll run back and say that you asked me for money to go to, um... what's a good place other than London?"

"Birmingham?"

"Birmingham. I wouldn't give it to you, so you grabbed my necklace to sell, and you're probably heading out that way as we speak. They'll go the other way. You get to London and find out what to do."

"How do I get to the road?"

"Well, I was walking around, and this stream runs up along the edge of the property. Follow it out to the wall and you're free."

Neville considered it. It wasn't what Kingsley had told him to do, but he'd obviously done something wrong. He needed help from the Ministry; he just hoped they were better now than they would be in seventy years. "All right," he said.

"Good. I'll head back, you wait a minute, in case someone is watching, then run upstream."

Neville agreed. It took a moment to hide the Feather of Maát--it would hardly do for him to be wearing it or carrying casually, and he finally ended up wrapping the leather strap around his ankle and letting the Feather drop into his shoe.

They slipped down off the rock and Neville walked her to the edge of the curtain of leaves. She slipped through it, then ducked back inside and kissed him again, grinning and winking. Then she dashed across the meadow. No one moved after her.

Neville went to the stream and found a vague path along its banks. He followed it out of the copse of willows, letting it lead him toward a pasture he could see dimly through the shadows. The stream was fast running and made a cheerful, burbling noise, and he never heard the footsteps on the springy ground until a long, thin arm grabbed him around the waist and yanked his wand from his pocket in a smooth and practiced motion.

Mertysa Marvolo swung him around. "Where is it?" she demanded. "Accio Feather!"

Neville was thrown to the ground as the leather strap wrapped around his ankle tugged ferociously, the Feather striving desperately to reach Mertysa. He grabbed at it, wrapping his hands around his ankle protectively, keeping it from moving.

"Do you think I can't get it away from you?" She glared at him. "Who sent you? Was it Dumbledore? Is he still keeping tabs on me, trying to keep me out of trouble?"

"It wasn't Dumbledore."

"The Ministry then. The Aurors. I thought my Concealment Concoction would keep them away." She paced, then abruptly tried to Summon the Feather again. Neville didn't let it go, but she dragged him forward along with it. "Let go," she hissed.

"No. What do you want with the Feather of Maát, anyway? Why are you giving it to a Muggle museum?"

She frowned, suddenly puzzled. "What are you talking about, boy? It's not going to a Muggle museum. It's my ticket back inside. I'm bringing it to the Ministry myself."

"You're lying."

"Why would I lie?"

"Are you exiled?"

She laughed madly. "Ah, yes. Exiled. Murdered but still alive is more like it. They took my wand and snapped it. It's been in my family since Salazar Slytherin--ebony and basilisk skin." Neville went cold, remembering the message written on the wall: "Enemies of the Heir, beware." The creature in the Chamber of Secrets had been a basilisk. The Heir of Slytherin. Mertysa didn't notice his reaction. She just kept raving. "And they snapped it. They snapped Slytherin's wnad like a common Ollivander's trinket. All because I taught my girls that they could use their power any way they liked, just as I do."

"To lie to a Muggle boyfriend?"

This seemed to stab her. "What Tommy doesn't know won't hurt him." She shook it off. "Not just how to control men. Men are rather easy to control, really. It hardly requires my expertise."

Neville tried to squirm backward, but she caught him. She was certainly controlling him... but the Feather had ended up in a Muggle museum. He wondered if her control over Tommy Riddle was considerably less than she imagined.

"No, I taught them the old ways. I taught them to use everything available to them to defend themselves and the magical world against Muggles. And for this, I was exiled. But that's going to get me back. Of course, they Obliviated my girls. So much for remembering me for ever." She smiled. "Why deny it to me? I'll only bring it where you're taking it. And they'll see that I'm doing my part to uphold the Statute of Secrecy, and--"

"No." Neville swallowed hard. His heart was beating in a quick tempo. "I'm not giving it to you," he said. "I don't know what you really mean to do with it, but you can't have it."

"I'll do exactly what I said I would."

"You won't." He bit his tongue on explaining how he knew it. "I'm taking it."

She laughed again, this time genuinely amused. "Oh, really. I don't think that's likely. I could match you when I didn't have a wand. Now, I have yours."

"Yeah?" someone said.

Mertysa, taken by surprise, turned. Something flew out of the darkness, and there was a crash, then Mertysa crumpled to the ground.

Marion stepped out of the woods. She pointed at the ground, where several small dimples appeared in the dirt. "High heels," she said. "Idiot."

Neville grabbed his wand compulsively away from Mertysa's hand. She made weak grab for it, but Marion kicked her hand away.

"Get it out of here before she wakes up," Marion said. "We've got her right here, so she can't take it again."

Neville heard a series of pops in the woods behind Marion, and saw a figure starting to move up through the trees. On the ground, Mertysa turned her head slightly, and her eyes widened. "Aurors," she muttered, then disappeared with an audible pop.

"Jeez, Neville, go now," Marion whispered. "Do that window thing again."

"They'll Obliviate you, Marion."

"Let me worry about that. You get out of here if you can."

Neville looked at the approaching Aurors, then raised his wand. "Priori locum Shacklebolt," he said, and the window opened. Gone was the hunched figure on the floor, the spilled flowers, the broken vase. The drawing room was tidy and empty.

"You there!" one of the Aurors shouted. Neville thought about staying, turning it over to the authorities, letting them handle it.

But that wasn't what he'd been sent to do.

He looked at Marion. "Thank you," he said.

"Any time. Get out of here." She turned away, facing the Aurors, and Neville jumped through the window, coming to a skidding stop against Gran's sofa. He looked up. On the other side of the window, he saw an Auror pull Marion out of the way and reach for the opening.

"Finite incantatem," Neville said.

The window closed.

He was alone.

He sat on the floor for several minutes, looking around the ordered room, unwinding the Feather of Maát from his ankle. She'd never gotten it. It hadn't been in the museum. Bellatrix hadn't stolen it.

And Kingsley Shacklebolt would have no memory of allowing Neville to break the law and travel back in time.

He considered this, long and hard. Kingsley could probably be convinced, but it would be a right mess all around, and the Feather would probably end up right back where it started--the magical world wasn't the safest place to hide things from Voldemort.

Neville pulled himself up onto the sofa, and wrapped the leather strap around his forehead, allowing the Feather to depend between his eyes. He looked, sure for a moment that he would see nothing, and then smiled.

Perfect.




Washington, D.C. Two days later.
Marion Ravenwood leaned heavily on her walker, her fingers, her wrists--really every joint in her body--aching from a week of rain. This damp basement warehouse was no help, but she could hardly do the work she meant to do elsewhere. They'd certainly covered their tracks in the paper trail. She'd need to physically open crates if she ever meant to find it again.

And she'd promised that she would.

She'd been looking for twenty years now, ever since she'd been appointed archivist here. She didn't think her higher-ups would care for her daily hobby of Ark-hunting, but they never came here, and she suspected they believed her to have died at some point anyway. It was a worthless position to them.

To Marion, it was the only position.

She was just starting down the widest of the aisles when the freight elevator opened behind her with a soft bell tone. A metal cart rattled out of it.

"Hey, Dr. Ravenwood!" the pimply-faced boy pushing it said. "Anything going out?"

"No."

"Got something for you," he said, pulling out a small but bulky package and tossing it to her.

She thanked him and frowned at the old-fashioned handwriting. It looked like it had come from a fountain pen, the sort you dipped into an inkwell, but who used those for anything other than pretentious wedding invitations now? It had no return address.

She opened it.

Her eyes widened at the tiny artifact inside... and even more at the leather strip, which should have aged seventy years, but looked as new as it had when Dad had fitted it for display. A piece of paper--parchment, actually--fell from the package, and she picked it up.

Marion, it said. I imagine you won't remember me, but I thought you'd like to have this back, as you found it, which makes it much more yours than mine. It's dangerous, though. You might want to hide it, if you can think of a good place...

Marion looked up at the mountains of crates around her, and smiled.

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Comments
sreya From: sreya Date: April 1st, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Marion's searching for the Ark in her old age in that crazy warehouse? *cracks up* Oh, I love the ending, it's wonderfully Indiana Jones.

This was a really cute fic.
the_jackalope From: the_jackalope Date: April 1st, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I'm so glad you've updated/finished this story. I really love it. And the end? Perfect.
cornfields From: cornfields Date: April 1st, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hooray for Neville and Marion! I really liked this a great deal. Very cool fic, great ending. :)
sep12 From: sep12 Date: April 1st, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Way to go Neville!!!
I've been waiting for an update/finish and I love this. I'm glad Neville got a chance to shine, as he never seems to get the credit he deserves. Very fun story, Fern!
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: April 1st, 2005 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fab - a very good ending to a pairing that somehow didn't hurt my brain as it should have (and I have a feeling it probably didn't phase you too much in the writing either; if it did, it doesn't show - your storytelling is seemingly effortless as ever) :D

(Oh, and I liked this, too!)
"Right. And what about the leprechauns? Do they know?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Leprechauns aren't particularly bright."

persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 4th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
You're brilliant.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: January 28th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I was really hesitant on reading this- I actually completly forgot about it for a moment on my list of Things By Fern Still To read- because I've never seen Raiders Of The Lost Ark and therefor wouldn't get the full implications of the crack. Then I decided- Well, I need to read everything by you, and I've read fics completly compiled of your OC's and adored them, this shouldn't be much different.

So, of COURSE, now I need to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it- though THAT shouldn't be any surprise.

Thank you, so much. *Originally wrote this comment in the Ithurtsmybrain community, but decided to post it in your journal*

I'll stop shoveling endless praise on you one day. Really. Though I wonder what went wrong before when Bella still had it- had Mertysa stolen it back from him? Hmm...

(Oh, yes, also a sign how much I love your stuff that I read stuff that canon has completly killed and you know, completly forget these facts.)
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