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Batch 8 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 8
How about R/T on a birthday, any birthday?
for katyhasclogs

-----
"Have you heard from our fugitive?" Dora asked, unpacking an apparently neverending bag of takeaway (Remus wondered if she even had a kitchen in her London flat).

"Am I being asked by an Auror?"

"As an Auror, I know you aren't aware of any fugitives whatsoever, and that the kindly Mr. Foote who's been staying here with you has gone off for reasons of his own." She smiled and put out the last dish. She seemed to have chosen Italian food for the evening. "Really, Remus, have you heard from him?"

"He's keeping an eye on Harry. There may be a plan to meet, but of course, you'd take no interest in Harry meeting Padraic Foote."

"Of course not, none of my business." She looked at the table and frowned. "Oh, blast, where is..." She looked around and waved her wand. A brightly colored box appeared on the table. "Ah, there it is."

"There what is?" Remus asked.

She flicked her wand again, and the box opened to reveal a green-frosted chocolate cake with chocolate letters spelling out, "Happy Birthday."

Remus laughed. "I forgot entirely!"

"Well, I didn't."

"You never do."

"I vote for cake before lasagna," she said, and started cutting and serving without giving room for argument. As she Levitated his piece over to him, she said, "I'd hoped Mr. Foote could be here, but as he's not, we could have a few more people. Call up Mum and Dad, maybe Kingsley, anyone you'd like. Well, except Hogwarts folks--they're quite busy, which is too bad, as I know you've been itching to see old Snape again."

"Oh, yes," Remus said dryly. "I was just talking to the Hogboon about how much I'd enjoy an afternoon with Severus."

She took a bite of her cake and smiled in a small and satisfied way. "It comes from a Muggle bakery near my flat," she said. "There's something to be said for baking this way." She savored another bite, then set the plate down. "As it happens, I have been spending some time with Snape."

"Why?"

"He's been teaching me to brew your potion. I've got quite good at it, but unfortunately, there's nothing to be done for the taste."

Remus blinked, his fork halfway to his mouth. "What?"

"Your Wolfsbane Potion. You raved about it, and I know Snape's not making it for you anymore, so I reckoned I'd do it."

"You don't have to do that," Remus muttered. "I wish you wouldn't."

She looked up, stricken. "Really? I thought you'd be glad of a supply again."

"I'd rather..." He trailed off, not sure what he meant to say, only tha the didn't want his lycanthropy to be the first thing she thought of about him. She'd always been one of the rare people who simply knew it and let it go. There weren't enough of them anymore. He tried to brush it off with a joke. "Oh, I suppose I was just looking for a Firebolt for my birthday, you know..."

"Oh, God, that's not your birthday present," she said. "How depressing! A Firebolt isn't, either--I'm not Sirius... er, Mr. Foote. That's just something to help out."

Remus couldn't think of any other protests, so he just said, "Well, thank you."

"You're welcome." She finished her cake and started serving out the lasagna. "Now, as to your real birthday present, I thought long and hard about it--"

"You don't need to get me birthday presents, Dora."

"Pish-posh," she said loftily. "Buying presents is my favorite occupation. It's like a little puzzle. What would Remus really want, but not really need? Presents that are necessary are always so dull." She tucked into her meal. "I did think about them, mind you. Shopped for some decent Hogboon-expelling charms, and gave serious thought to replacing that old chair, and that qualifies as a necessity, as my arse can testify after the last time I sat in it.'

"Sorry." Remus poked at his cake. "Dare I ask what you eventually stumbled on?"

"After supper," Dora said.

They ate over a congenial conversation about her friends, the Triwizard Tournament (she still insisted that Cedric Diggory would win), and the fine run of weather in the Orkneys ("provided, of course, that your definition of 'fine' extends to lovely days of endless drizzle"). When they'd finally finished, she insisted on taking a walk. He put on an overcoat and followed her out. The March rain was quite miserable, but she sloshed along happily, not bothering with an Umbrella Charm, her hair a bright shade of pink that was almost violent against the gray sky. They made their way to the top of the largest hill on the island, which gave them a rather commanding view of the surrounding ocean.

"After Bonfire Night," she said, smiling up into the sky, "Mr. Foote told me that, when you were small, you had a great affinity for fireworks, and were disappointed that we didn't have any. I don't know how he happens to know that, being a near stranger to us all, but I found that I believed him. Sorry I didn't think of them then, but, honestly, I rather prefer Mr. Lupin Day to Guy Fawkes Day. Happy birthday!"

She twirled her wand, and several lines of fire rose up from the hilltop, impervious to the rain. One burst into a dragon busy fighting a knight, another became Zeus, hurling a thunderbolt. The thunderbolt rained down, and Remus and Dora ran to avoid it, then dodged fire from the dragon. Dora tripped, and Remus was too close to avoid her, and they tumbled to the wet grass, side by side, the rain pouring over their faces. The thunderbolt hit the ground beside them and dissipated.

More figures appeared in the sky, less dangerous, but delightful--a phoenix, a Quidditch team, the Union Jack (Dora sang "God Save the Queen" at this point, and Remus was feeling good enough that he joined her for a few bars), the Gryffindor Lion, the Hufflepuff Badger, and finally, Hogwarts itself.

Remus laughed. "Thank you, Dora. I don't know how long it's been since I've watched fireworks with a friend." He stood up and helped her to her feet, and she looked up at him. There was something strange in her eyes. Other than the rain, which had gathered on her lashes in glittering prisms. He wiped them with his thumb, but the odd look was still there.

She let go of his hands and stepped back. "Well," she said, "I probably ought to get back to London."

"Yes," Remus said. "Before you drown."

"Right." She took a few steps back. "Well, if you see Mr. Foote, remind him that he's invisible to me anywhere other than this island."

"Of course, yes."

She took a final step, said, "Happy birthday," then Disapparated.

Remus remained on the hilltop in the rain for quite a long time.




A James and Al brotherly moment? As an adult, or any time really.
for Anonymous

[I can't think of an adult one just now. I probably will later, but for now, I'll take advantage of "any time really" ;p]
-----
The attic was strictly off-limits when Mum and Dad weren't with them. It was full of old Black family rubbish, and much of it was dangerous. When James had pointed out that half of it was probably old robes, Uncle Ron had said that he'd once been strangled by a Cursed robe here. When Al had suggested that most it was knick-knacks, Mum had said that a music box had nearly sent them all into a coma.

This was, of course, too much to resist.

Mum and Dad both tried to have one-on-one days with each of the children, and today was Mum's day with Lily. They were going to a Harpies game, then having supper, and perhaps catching a Muggle film about crazed robots that Lily had heard the neighbors talking about and was just mad to see. Dad had been planning to spend the afternoon with the boys, but he'd needed to finish up some work first, and, after two double-shifts in a row, he'd fallen asleep with his head on the desk instead.

Al had been utterly certain that they would have hexed the attic door to make an awful racket, but James refused to entertain the possibility, and had turned out to be right. There was a lock on the door, but Uncle George had taught them both to pick locks last year, and it didn't take long at all to pick this one.

The door came down, and a ladder descended. James went up first.

Al looked over his shoulder anxiously, still expecting that some alarm had gone off, that Mum or Dad had been alerted silently, but no one came. He gulped, and followed his brother.

He'd only been in the attic once before, when Mum had been on one of her periodic cleaning sprees, and it didn't seem quite so impossibly high-ceilinged now. The rafters tilted upward, giving it a cathedral feel, and the dust had formed itself into clumps and cobwebs that spread over the exposed beams. There was a low smell of old cedar, mixed with the cinnamon scent of paper.

"En garde!"

Al jumped as James flew out from behind a lopsided old sideboard, carrying a dagger. Al grabbed the handiest weapon, which happened to be an umbrella, and crossed it. "You'll not take me alive!" he cried, jumping up onto an old trunk.

James cackled madly. "I wasn't planning on prisoners. All the treasure is mine!"

"Drop your weapon, scabrous dog!" Al demanded. "Or I shall be forced to defend my treasure to the death... yours!"

They exchanged several volleys--the umbrella held up surprisingly well against the dagger--and jumped onto every available surface in the process. Finally, Al hit the edge of the dagger just right, and sent it clattering off into a corner. He tapped James's chest with the tip of the umbrella.

James fell, twitching, to the floor, flopping his arms wildly once he got there. "You..." he whispered hoarsely. "You must listen, young one... I have... wisdom to depart... before... I..."--he made a gagging sound--"...die here of the grievious wound you've given..."

Al dropped to his knees, following the change. "What is it, pirate?"

"Remember... the secret of life is... never... tickle... a..."

"...sleeping dragon?"

"Dying pirate!" James shouted, and jumped up, catching Al in a headlock. "Aye, matey, you've proved yourself, sure enough, but you were foolish at the end. Still, I think I'll have you join my crew."

"What if I don't want to join your crew? Maybe I should invite you to join my crew."

James let go and sat down on the trunk. "Hmm. Where are you sailing for?"

"The Cloaked Isles!"

"Ah, well, why did you not say so, lad? The Cloaked Isles have a huge sea serpent, and he'll make a grand adventure. He guards the Treasure of Tobias! It's more than I've ever gone after before."

Al jumped up onto the trunk and put his hand over his eyes, scanning the distant horizon of the sea. Behind him, James turned around and started swaying back and forth to show waves.

"It's not just the treasure!" Al declared. "There's a princess!"

"She's captured?"

"No, she's in charge of the sea serpent. And she's making it eat all the tourists!"

James stood up and picked up a curtain rod, using it to row against the floor. "We'd best hurry," he said. "Set the course Albus, I've got your back!"
17 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
beceh From: beceh Date: December 6th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Both of those made me feel rather gooey..in a good way :-)

Thank you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 6th, 2008 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Both were sort of going for that. :)
From: spitc1899 Date: December 6th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Love James and Al, and the glimpse of "Stray" was a treat.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 6th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I really must finish that. I re-read it, and I do like the story, and unlike Safe, it has a logical ending (Sirius re-opens 12GP).
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: December 7th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
please, please do. but no pressure! ;)
From: spitc1899 Date: December 7th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I do love that story. :o)
maz333 From: maz333 Date: December 6th, 2008 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, good old clueless Remus. Delicious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 6th, 2008 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I've missed him.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: December 6th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, I haven't commented on your holiday snippets before, but have been enjoying reading them none-the-less. Like your other readers, I love the realistic humanity of all your characters, with a special fondness for the Lupin-Tonks family, of course! I'm always amazed and impressed at the empathy you must have to create (or re-create, for canon characters) such realistic people.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I loved both of these. Poor, clueless Remus (I've said it before and I'll say it again: some men you have to hit with a brick, some men you have to hit with a BIG brick [although, back in high school, I think was a clueless enough girl that a boulder might have not have helped. Good thing for Remus Dora is smarter than that]).

And the Snape fan in me wants to thank you for the little glimpse of Snape doing something moderately nice like teaching Dora how to brew the potion (I know you may have been thinking of him using the situation to make snarky remarks and try to make Dora think less of our favorite werewolf, but I take these moments where I can get them).

By the way, thank you for the Geoffrey story (I said thank you in the comments there, but Thanksgiving was hectic and I added the comment so late that I'm not sure you if you're seen it or not).

As for Al and James, yep, danger, death, it's like a free ticket to Disneyland for some kids. I see that James is either getting old enough to think of rescuing princesses first (or else he's absorbed certain plot expectations from Teddy) while Al takes the more practical view that icky girls must be behind all the trouble (I wonder if the princess looks like his younger sister?).

Ellen
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: December 6th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great stuff. Your take on both pairs of characters is always on target.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

m

both of these were so cute! also liked the moment about the wolfsbane.~m, hoping for the rest of stray.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 6th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, so nice. I was abit down, and I am not anymore. :) Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, those were great! Thanks! I love your Potter family.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 6th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your James and Al remind me so much of my younger brothers when they were little! (I miss those little guys now that they're sick, cranky old men...)
shiiki From: shiiki Date: December 7th, 2008 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
These are lovely, Fern, as have all the others you've been writing. Thank you so much!

As it happens, I've been rereading the existing chapters of Stray, and the first of this batch made me long to see more of that year!
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: December 7th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
James and Al are so cute! For a few moments I thought that maybe Harry would walk in and see the dagger and FREAK OUT, so I was glad that it ended happy. :D
17 comments or Leave a comment