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Fic: Talking Lessons - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Fic: Talking Lessons
Just some Father's Day fluff. Kind of treacly. Marauders.




"Have you cleaned out Lily's kitchen yet?" Sirius asked, with no preliminaries, dropping a stack of photographs onto the table and opening up the cooling box. "She always leaves something good."

"Thi-thi! Thi-thi!" Harry called, reaching out from his spot in the crook of Remus's elbow, where he'd been peacefully listening to a bedtime story thirty seconds ago. "Thi-thi!"

Sirius, forgetting about potential treats, plucked him up and flew him around the kitchen, holding him up in the air in one hand, and he giggled madly.

"I... I told him it was late," Peter said. "Probably the baby was sleeping."

"And up he goes! The Amazing Flyer, Harry Potter! Wooo!" Sirius swooped Harry down toward the floor--Harry absolutely screeching with laughter now--and caught him at the end of his death-defying dive. "Who needs sleep, right? Right?" He cuddled Harry and covered his face with loud kisses, and proceeded to tickle him with a scratchy covering of day-old beard.

Remus rolled his eyes. "Lily and James are due back from their meeting with Dumbledore in half an hour. You can explain to Lily why he's still awake."

"Well, you're clearly not guarding the door very well." Sirius settled Harry casually into his arm, and went back to rooting in the cooling box. "At any rate, James will be too happy to care."

"Why is James going to be happy?"

"It was Wormtail's idea," Sirius said. "James has been going on about how Harry can say Ma-ma and Eemuf and Thi-thi, but hasn't got around to Da-da yet. Wormtail decided we should teach him."

"I didn't mean... you know... right now." Peter fiddled with the sleeves of his robes. "I just thought it would be... something nice. For James."

"Are you all right?"

"Fine. Why?"

"No reason."

"I feel stupid is all. What do I know about teaching a baby to talk?"

"Anyone can teach a baby to talk," Sirius said.

"That's true," Remus said. "Babies learn to talk. It's their job, and they're very dedicated. Unfortunately, they generally have to see what they're trying to talk about..."

Sirius emerged from the box with a bunch of grapes. One of them broke off and rolled across the table as he gestured to the photographs. "Which is why we brought those." He set Harry down in the high chair and picked up the top photo, which showed James at an Order meeting, laughing. Sirius held it in front of his face. "Who am I, Harry? Who am I?"

Harry pointed at him and laughed merrily. Which, to be fair, was generally the way he identified James.

"Is it 'Daddy'"? Sirius asked, waving the picture in front of Harry. "Is this 'Daddy'?"

Harry drooled a bit through his wide smile, and nodded amiably, as if to say, Why, yes, Sirius. That's exactly who that is. But he didn't make any of his baby-sounds.

Sirius put the picture in front of his face again. "Who am I, Harry? Say who I am!"

"Thi-thi," Harry said, pulling at the picture.

"He's not falling for it," Peter said.

"Hmmm."

"Sirius is too tall to be James. Maybe you should try it."

"I think he just knows it's a picture."

"Maybe we should have tried Polyjuice Potion."

"It takes a month to brew," Sirius said irritably. "He can learn. Come on, Harry!"

"Let me try," Peter said, taking another photo from the stack. This one was from James and Lily's wedding, and it showed James, Lily, and Sirius. Peter bent over beside the high chair and put it down. "There's Thi-Thi," he said, pointing to Sirius. "And there's Mummy"--he pointed to Lily--"so who is this?" He nudged James's face.

Harry had taken a grape from Sirius, and he put it carefully down on the picture. Lily's image tried to scoot out of the frame, but it was too late--a chubby fist came down, trying unsuccessfully to share a snack with the gathered group. Harry sniffled, and started to work up to a cry.

Peter stepped back, looking very disappointed. He took the picture. "I'll clean it up," he said. "I'll..."

"I'll get it," Remus said. "I cleaned up a lot of my parents' pictures after Mum died. I've got it down to a science."

Peter nodded and put the grapey photo on top of Remus's cloak.

"Eeda!" Harry abruptly shouted, pointing at Peter. "Eeda, Eeda, Eeda."

Peter jumped; Harry laughed, and said his name again. Peter jumped for him a few more times, until they were all laughing.

Remus bit his lip, then walked over to the high chair, ignoring the pictures for the time being. "Harry," he said. "Can you just say, 'da'? Da."

"Eeda."

"Da."

"Da."

"Good! Good job, Harry! Say it again."

"Da. Da-da."

"He did it!" Sirius said, mussing Harry's hair from behind. "I knew he could."

"Da-da," Harry said again. He pinched Remus's nose. "Da-da."

Remus stepped back. "Er... "

Sirius shook his head. "Oh, that's going to help James's insecurities." He picked Harry up.

"Da-da," Harry said again, this time tugging at Sirius's ear. "Da-da, Da-da."

"Oh, no," Sirius said. "I'm Thi-Thi. Remember? Thi-Thi."

"Thi-Thi," Harry agreed somberly. "Da-da."

"Sirius. And that's Remus."

"Eemuf. Da-da."

"No, just Remus," Remus said. "Remus." He pointed to himself, and picked up a picture, and pointed to it instead. "Da-da"--then to himself--"Remus"--the picture--"Da-da."

Harry goggled at it in a mystified way, then looked down at his tray and started chasing grapes with his fingers. "Da-da-da-da-da..."

A grape squirted off the tray, and Sirius reached down to catch it. He put it in Harry's outstretched hand and said, "Well, this is a problem."

"Da-da-da-da..."

"It's your brilliant plan."

"It's Wormtail's plan."

Peter shook his head. "It was just an odd thought, not a plan."

He reached over to the tray to pick up the photograph, but as soon as he'd lifted it, Harry pounded his hand on the tray and screamed, "Da-da!" He pointed at the picture.

"Yes, that's right," Peter said. "That's just who it is!"

There was a slight pop, and the air displaced beside Remus. "Well, that was--" Lily's eyes widened. "Remus, what on earth is going on here? Harry should have been in bed half an hour ago! Sirius, Peter..."

"It's not Moony's fault," Sirius said. "It's mine."

"Why am I not surprised?" She shook her head. "Sirius, you know he has to sleep."

"Wormtail had a good idea..."

"Peter?"

"I didn't think..."

"Remus, he really needed sleep--"

"Where's James?" Sirius asked.

"Checking the Warding Spells," Lily said, rubbing her temples, then plucked Harry out of his high chair and cuddled him. He quieted quickly. "Dumbledore has heard a rumor that Voldemort..." She sighed. "He met with us and with the Longbottoms. I'm sorry I snapped at you, Sirius. It wasn't a pleasant meeting."

"It's all right. What's going on?"

Lily shook her head, her lips tight. "We have to talk it out. James and I, I mean. So what was Peter's grand idea?"

The door opened again, and James came in, shoulders hunched, looking pale and drawn. He seemed less surprised than Lily to find them all here, and smiled wanly. "Well," he said. "It looks like--"

"Da-da!" Harry called, and held out his arms.

There was no further talk of the meeting.

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24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: June 19th, 2005 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Cute! Those were the most realistic baby-talk names for everyone that I've seen (usually the names aren't really sounds that babies can make at that age.) It would have funny to have Harry call James "ames" or something... my neice called my sister "Becky" for a long time because that is what everyone else called her.
darreldoomvomit From: darreldoomvomit Date: June 19th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
my couin called her mum aunt monique untill she was 6. actually, she called her "MY aunt monique". she was very territorial.

fic = tres cute.
dudley_doright From: dudley_doright Date: June 19th, 2005 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I happen to like 'em treacly =P

Fern, really, this is brilliant, I was laughing aloud most of the way through. This line, in particular, I thought, was absolutely the sweetest thing ever

"Harry pointed at him and laughed merrily. Which, to be fair, was generally the way he identified James."

Understated, but all the more affecting because of it, one of the things I've come to love about your work =)

I'm guessing L/J heard the prophecy then?
autosolarium From: autosolarium Date: June 19th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that is adorable! I'm not a baby person in RL, but for some reason, I love baby Harry in stories.
litlefallofrain From: litlefallofrain Date: June 19th, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probably because in most fics, you don't get the messy, icky side of babies, the parts you can't seem to avoid in RL.

But in fics, babies are absolutley adorable. As is your baby Harry, Fern! Thanks for sharing.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 19th, 2005 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Really lovely fic, Fern. Wonderful dialogue. My only issue would be the grapes - not something I'd give a child under 2.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 19th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't either - but I bet a bunch of carefree, non-child-experienced uncle-types would do it :). Maybe Lily could freak out when she first notices?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 19th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, well... Harry wasn't doing very well with the grapes! Fine playthings, though...

I can see the thought process. "Grapes are fruit. Fruit is healthy. It's good to give babies healthy food. Ergo, I will be the best godfather ever and give him grapes instead of ice cream." :p
artaxastra From: artaxastra Date: June 19th, 2005 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Awwwww! Very very cute! And I love these older, tireder Marauders.
From: psalm_27 Date: June 19th, 2005 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bravo, Fern! This brought more than one tear to my eye, it was quite poignant and bittersweet. Adding this to my memories.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 19th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
No words. There are no words to describe my happiness at seeing this fic. I love it SOOO. There is not enough well-written Baby!Harry fluff in the world. OMG.

It's just so cute! So cute! *dies in paroxysms of sweetness and happiness and Sirius*

So good.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: June 19th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very cute. Harry's baby talk was quite convincing--what a lovely father's day gift.
valerie_valerah From: valerie_valerah Date: June 19th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww. That was so sweet. What a nice little treat for James, to have just heard the prophecy (I'm assuming?) and to come in all tired and haggard, only to hear his son for the first time call him "Da-da." Teee...I'm filled with warm fuzzies.
texasmagic From: texasmagic Date: June 19th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nicely done. I like stories of the Marauders with little Harry, and yours kept them nicely in character. I also like that you didn't show Peter as being shifty the whole time.

Little Harry is soooo cute. Poor Lily, always having to deal with those grown up boys.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: June 19th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your icon. It's like stained glass.
texasmagic From: texasmagic Date: June 20th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! It is stained glass! I took that pic of the ceiling of in the lobby of the Bellgio hotel in Las Vegas. It's one of the few genuinely beautiful things in that town.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: June 20th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, that's amazing.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: June 19th, 2005 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, so sweet.
And after a meeting like that, James needed a treat.
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: June 19th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't read much Marauders fic, but I'm always up for reading yours. This is very cute.
parallactic From: parallactic Date: June 19th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I <3 stories featuring the Marauders with baby!Harry. I could actually see this happening behind the scenes. I like the way you portrayed the Marauders' interactions, how it was a group effort, and DIDN'T leave Peter out like some people end up doing. I also like the touch at the end, when the Potters come back, showing that they're living in a dark time.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: June 19th, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is so cute! That's what best friends are for, teaching your kid to say your name. :-) I wonder if Peter came up with the idea out of guilt, or if he hadn't joined Voldemort yet. Anyway, excellent piece!
From: inyron Date: June 20th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Ack, that is adorable.

I think I'm a sucker for Happy/Impending doom MWPP. And babies.
moonlinnet From: moonlinnet Date: June 20th, 2005 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
This is SO CUTE. =)
rissabby From: rissabby Date: October 12th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Got here thru your essay which I saw listed in Hogwarts Today.
This was Fun.
Loved Eemuf! and eeda jumping!
24 comments or Leave a comment