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Batch 9 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 9
Sirius barging in on Grayfur's portrait once his has been established in Grimmauld place (I assume he will be able to visit all the portraits in the house like

they painting jump at Hogwarts).

for gabrielladusult

-----
Harry'd never really mastered the householdy spells. He'd learned them at some point--mostly from Molly--but Ginny had a habit of getting to things before he did, and Andromeda had as well. He felt quite guilty about this, like he was expecting the women in his life to do housecleaning while he lolled about, but it was never that he was unwilling. He just rarely thought about it at the exact second it ought to have been done, and by the time he did think of it, someone had already taken care of it.

As a result, his skill at cleaning spells resembled Hermione's skill at broomstick-flying--he could do it, but would generally accept any other handy means of accomplishing the end. It also meant that, while he rarely took care of immediate messes, like dishes after a big supper or the explosion of toys when the children played, he often ended up assuaging his guilt by doing the sort of day-to-day maintenance work that wasn't as noticeable, and therefore was frequently not noticed by anyone else first. The primary manifestation of this was dusting rungs, the tops of doors, and rococo woodwork. From time to time, he would catch himself at this, and he would think of being a boy in Aunt Petunia's house. The memory wasn't fond, but it had lost its sting, and he recognized that, one way or another, something of his upbringing had been imprinted on him. He'd mentioned this to Dudley once, and Dudley had laughed quite heartily.

He was alone in the house--Ginny had gone off to supper with Portia Durkin, a friend from the Daily Prophet, and the children were having a sleepover at Shell Cottage--so he had Conjured a feather duster and a thin paintbrush to work on the intricately carved portrait frames. He thought he'd work his way downstairs and end with the portrait of Dad and Sirius, then maybe sit down and have a chat with it. It wasn't them, but he found that they always had a way of making him laugh at himself. They--

"Ahem."

Harry looked up from the tiny crevice he was excavating with the paintbrush.

Phineas Nigellus had appeared in the landscape in the corridor outside the master bedroom. He looked anxiously over his shoulder, then straightened his shoulders and said, "This is utterly unacceptable."

"What is?"

A flicker of movement at the edge of the landscape answered the question, as Sirius loped in, eyes glittering. "Oh, don't worry about Grayfur. He's just happy to see me again. Forever."

Phineas turned on him. "Had I known when you were a child that you meant to inflict that tedious nickname on me for eternity, I would have certainly forbidden."

"You did forbid it. I didn't care." Sirius looked at Harry. "He likes it. He makes a great show of pretending not to, but I always suspected he was a softie."

"How dare you!" Phineas challenged him, nostrils flaring. "I am your ancestor, and you ought to show me respect."

"That's not fair--I treat you with much more respect than I treat the rest of them."

"That is hardly a ringing endorsement of your behavior." Phineas turned his nose up. "Your treatment of your mother, for instance..."

"She started it," Sirius said.

Phineas pointedly looked out of the canvas at Harry. "You see? I am forever trapped with a spoiled adolescent. At this rate, I'd do as well to stay at Hogwarts!"

"I can get to Hogwarts through Teddy's painting," Sirius pointed out helpfully. "At least for two more years. Then perhaps Teddy could persuade Dean to paint me again, if he has any memories left, and I could finally let the Fat Lady retire and become the Gryffindor guardian, and then we'd be together at Hogwarts forever."

Phineas put his head in his hands.

Sirius glanced around the landscape and found a handy fallen log to sit down on. He smiled at Harry. "You're not actually fooled, are you?"

"No," Harry said. "After all, Phineas could always leave the frame and go back, but he's still here."

"Hmph," Phineas snorted.

Sirius nodded. "Right. And if he were to go over to Hogwarts, there are protections on the Headmaster's office, so we can't listen in on Headmasterly affairs--I was joking about that--so the fact that he knows he can go there, but stays here anyway..."

"Proves only that I don't intend to be run off by my own progeny!" Phineas said, then shook his head at Sirius. "Impossible boy."

"Cranky old man," Sirius said.

Harry just smiled and let them get on with it. He had dusting to finish.






maybe even some AU of what would happen if Sirius hadn't died and his name was FINALLY cleared! :D.
for kt_tonguetied

[Of all the choices, this one caught my fancy. Sounded like a cheerful world.]
-----
It was Honoria's first major assignment at the Prophet, and she meant to cover every angle. She could already envision the headline: "THE PETTIGREW PAROLE: DEATHEATER FREE AFTER TWENTY-THREE YEARS." The rest of the page would be taken up by her article covering Pettigrew's crime, his capture in 1994 (at Hogwarts, under what Honoria considered highly suspicious circumstances), and the use made of his inside information in tracking Tom Riddle... information that had led Aurors on a mad witch hunt to catch a disembodied spirit. A waste of time and resources, really. How much damage could it have done, really?

Paranoia.

Still, there'd been quite a lot of blood lust for Lord Voldemort, who'd been active in the seventies and early eighties. People felt better once the problem was taken care of, though the Death Eaters Honoria had interviewed at Azkaban suffered under the delusion that the raid had been less than successful.

But it wasn't Death Eaters she was interviewing today. It was the man Pettigrew had framed for his crimes--Sirius Black. He'd spent twelve years in Azkaban on Pettigrew's behalf, and Honoria was certain he'd have something interesting to say about the release. She'd been able to contact him through her classmate, Teddy Lupin, Black's godson (along with, of course, the famous Harry Potter, the Seeker for the National Team). The interview would be at Teddy's parents' home. Honoria didn't know Mrs. Lupin, the head of the Auror Division, but Professor Lupin had taught Defense Against the Dark Arts since the year of Pettigrew's capture. He might also have interesting commentary; they'd all been friends, after all.

She went up the hill to the house that had once, for some reason, been known as the Shrieking Shack, and knocked on the door. It opened, and a woman with bright purple hair streaked with white appeared. "Wotcher--Honoria, isn't it?"

"Yes. Mrs. Lupin?"

"Dora, please," Mrs. Lupin said. "Remus and Sirius are in the back garden. Teddy's not in from London yet, but he'll probably be over by the time you're through." A door slammed upstairs, and she rolled her eyes at the ceiling. "Julia! If you shut that door a little harder, they may hear it in Aberdeen!" She shook her head and led Honoria down the corridor toward the kitchen. The wall to her left was covered with the same sort of lovely drawings that had always hung in Professor Lupin's classroom. They reached the back door, and Mrs. Lupin pointed to the back of the garden, where the professor and a tall, handsome man with jet black hair--broken only by a dramatic streak of white--were leaning back in overstuffed chairs, their faces to the sun. Black saw her first and stood up.

"Moony! My guest is here."

Professor Lupin opened his eyes. "Honoria. Nice to see you again."

"And you," she said.

"I'll go in."

"Well... I could talk to both of you for little while, if you don't mind."

The professor didn't appear to mind. He Conjured a chair for her, then Summoned drinks from inside.

Honoria settled herself in, bringing out her recording quill and a scroll. "Very well then. You were both friends with Mr. Pettigrew, along with Mr. Potter, of course--what do you plan to do when he's released?"

"Thought I'd have him for tea," Black said blithely. "Talk about old times, ask how he enjoyed my old cell."

"Sirius, she's got an assignment," Professor Lupin said. "I'd actually like to talk to him, and find out what on earth happened to him--"

"Happened to him?" Black asked.

"Yes." Something passed between them that Honoria didn't catch, and Black quieted. Professor Lupin sighed. "I should think you'd at least like to thank him for clearing you instead of implicating you."

"I sent him flowers," Black said. "And that's the last I'll have to do with him, if I'm lucky. Whatever he did to me, he killed James and Lily, or was responsible for it."

"What do you think of Xeno Lovegood's notion that his information stopped a major war?"

Professor Lupin shrugged. "That's the sort of thing you can't know, one way or the other. There was always an idea out there that Voldemort would find a way to return, and he did attack Harry Potter two years before Peter was captured. But a major war? I hope we would have been wise enough to avoid that with or without Peter's help."

Honoria couldn't think of a place for that to fit in her feature on the parole, but she tucked it away in her mind for future reference. She looked at Black. "It must have been a shock, coming back to life as a civilian after time in Azkaban."

"It was. But I had my godson to raise--my first godson, Harry, of course--so that took my mind off of it."

"And your own family, of course," Honoria mused, thinking of Sirius's daughter, Talitha, who had been two years younger than Honoria and Teddy, and his son Regulus, now in his fifth year, who had amassed an average of one detention for every week of school.

"Harry is my own family," Black said. "I'd like to make sure that's entirely clear."

"Yes, of course," Honoria said.

Black nodded. "It's true, otherwise. By the time I'd managed to get Harry through O.W.L.s--no mean feat, with Lucius Malfoy trying to get him expelled--I was wrapped up in school governor business. I can at least thank my family for assuring me a spot to fight from there, I suppose. Then Elise Macmillan took over her father's post on the board, and one thing led to another, and I can happily say I've been utterly distracted from any thought of Azkaban or Peter Pettigrew ever since. She even made peace with my house elf, which I'd previously considered impossible."

"Do you think Mr. Pettigrew's release will change anything?" Honoria asked, feeling that she'd got off track somewhere.

"It best not," Black said. "But I will, shall we say, be keeping a close eye on him."
49 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know--that was more of an intellectual exercise than anything else... what would happen if they'd caught Peter and cleared Sirius's name? I realized that there were a lot of consequences other than Sirius's freedom that would have come from it, so I wrote them down, but I don't know if I'd be able to sustain it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Remus would have still resigned as Defense teacher, actually. He still took an unacceptable risk with not mentioning a way into the castle that someone he thought was a mass murderer knew, which is why Dumbledore accepted his resignation in the first place. Plu there's the curse thing.

-- the silent speaker, too lazy to log in
cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: December 30th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
One thing for example: Remus and Dora didn't plan to call their first-born Ted, according to one of your stories. So if the second war didn't happen, and Ted presumably didn't die, then Teddy should be called ... whatever name was planned.
From: bookworm_91 Date: September 27th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
maybe Ted had a heart attack? or died of natural causes at a similar point in time?
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: December 7th, 2008 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. Your writing, as always, has been a balm in a stressful time. I suppose it says something about me, that my life is always so stressfull.

But the second one, the AU piece, is something I'd *love* to see you write a novel in.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry things are so stressful, but I'm glad to help out!
beceh From: beceh Date: December 7th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
They were both lovely....ah but that second one... what if... *sigh*

Thanks Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome!
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: December 7th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, especially that last one. Of course we've all done the if only Peter had actually been caught that night imagining and it is wonderful, although there wouldn't actually have been much more of a series if that hadn't happened. But this was a lovely piece.

And I like Uncle Harry more and more with every ficlet.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Harry. I know I spend most of my time writing Remus or Teddy, but it was Harry I loved in canon, and Harry I continue to love. :)
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: December 7th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
These were both excellent pieces, but the second one really intrigues me. This sounds like the happiest AU in the universe, thought even happy AUs have stuff lying under the surface... I am so, so intrigued. Any chance you'd expend on it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think so. Like I said a few comments up, it's really just a little exercise in extrapolation--if X happened, what string of consequences would play out? While it's a more pleasant place for the characters, it's not very good for a story.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 7th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I loved war-less world. Such a nice place, it seems. Look at all the alive people...

Also, Grayfur = Love
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know. Alive people are good. I like Alive people much better than the other sort.
renesears From: renesears Date: December 7th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for doing these. They're wonderful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. :) I enjoy these. They always make me think of things it wouldn't have occurred to me to write otherwise.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: December 7th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sirius . . . my Sirius fan girl is back in mourning, and wishing. Thank you for giving her a smidge of AU hope. But I do hope that painting gets painted. Harry needs him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm hoping that JKR views the portraits much more simply than I needed to in order to make a plot point of it, and has just given all of them portraits to work in.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: December 7th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed both of these. The snark between Greyfur and Sirius is fun and affectionate, and your Harry is a lovely man. But, of course, the allure of the AU world where Sirius, Remus, and Dora are all alive and well is very strong. Along with everyone else, I'd love to see more of it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just loved that they took Phineas's portrait with them in TDH. I suspect JKR was secretly fond of the old codger, too.
From: kobegrace Date: December 7th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay. That second ficlet is breaking my heart.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... but for the motion of a cloud at the wrong time.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sniffle* This is why I normally never read AUs - makes me too sad. But as a Fern-ficlet, how could I not read it?

But Sirius as replacement for the Fat Lady made me giggle.

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like AUs generally, if they're logical, but yes, writing one where it worked out better is weirdly melancholy.

(And I think Sirius would totally dig being the Gryffindor guardian, though I somehow doubt he'd be especially vigilant about rule-breaking...)

Edited at 2008-12-07 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I thought so, too... he'd probably encourage the kids to go sneaking out at night, too!
Who knows, maybe the Fat Lady gets attacked again, and resigns permanently, and... *dreams*
Better than Sir Cadogan, in any case.

~Hermione Stranger~
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

challenge request change?

I loved the second one. I think my favourite parts were the streak of white in Dora's hair, and the Julia mention--which brings me to a question. In my request--the Julia curing lycanthropy one--can it be this AU-Teddy's-sister-Julia? But can the cubs be in it? Assuming that just because Voldemort was captured, Grayback would still be around, and R and D could still get to know, and free, them? Shades could still happen...

and...Elise? What about poor Hestia?
Anyway, I love the idea, and you could do so much with this whole new universe! There are so many changes here, and I think exploring them would be just fascinating!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: challenge request change?

I don't know that the cubs would be around--Greyback brought his pack back for Voldemort, after all, and Remus wouldn't exactly have hooked back up with the lycanthropic scene without a really good reason to do so.

Anyway, I think I'm not going to go much further in that world--it was a fun exercise, but not much of a story.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooooh! Can I change mine, too? (The Julia-gets-the-eagle one.)

I have so many questions now. Like, do R and T now have nine kids, minus Dora I but plus Teddy? Or is it Teddy, Julia, Mira, Orry and Karina, and the others are Teddy's? What does Teddy do for a living? What'll happen to Cho, now that Daniel has Mira again?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like I said above, I think I'm not going to go further in that little world. Fun, but not compelling. :)
alkari From: alkari Date: December 7th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for both of these!

I love the relationship between Sirius and Grayfur - LOL at "You did forbid it. I didn't care."

Your AU is sad (*misses Sirius*) and very intriguing, and poses so many 'what if' questions, especially as we know of the horcruxes. And I love the fact that Sirius named his son Regulus, who certainly seems to be his father's son!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome.

I'm not sure how, but I think somehow in that world--probably through Kreacher--they'd have found out how Regulus died/went under the lake/whatever, so Sirius would forgive him.
alkari From: alkari Date: December 7th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I'm sure Sirius would forgive him, because I am sure he loved Regulus underneath it all, even as he was angry at the way his followed the family ethos for so long.

Though I doubt he could ever forgive Peter. I think that 'intellectually' Sirius would understand and acknowledge how fear can make people betray others, but he would have expected 'more' from Peter as their friend and an Order member. Maybe he'd have understood about betraying other Order members, but as you wrote: Whatever he did to me, he killed James and Lily, or was responsible for it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
That happy war-less world is nearly too much for me; I got more teary-eyed and sad while reading that piece than I have when reading almost an of your other pieces. It's just so unutterably sad to really see Teddy's life as it could have been: no smallest year, growing up in the Shrieking Shack instead of burning it, and Remus teaching generations of kids who are more complete human beings because of his influence.

I've never been very sympathetic towards dreamy what if's. While it's healthy to reflect upon and study what has happened so that those mistakes can't happen again, continually wallowing and indulging in fantasy (like living with the Resurrection Stone) creates stagnation and disassociation with the wonderful, live, reality around you, and I'm just a crazy fan of messy, painful, real life. So this story was hard more than it was joyful for me to read, but just because it got me so wrought is why you're a great writer. I feel as if your AU is cheating your reality a bit, and isn't that silly?

Thanks for all the wonderful fics this Holiday season!

-Sqveege
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it does, I think, cheat the "actual" post-war world (mine or canon). Unlike in Star Wars, where the forces are way beyond individuals, in HP, a single different choice really would stop everything. And everyone would be different because of it. I mean, you can have James and Lily saved by someone catching Peter early on, or Peter not breaking, and then Harry'd have a happy life, but there'd be no canon.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 7th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unlike in Star Wars, where the forces are way beyond individuals...

Yeah, The Force (or is it supposed to be mitacloriens post Phantom Menace? :-P), does allow for a certain loss of personal responsibility with many of the characters, as do a lot of mythologies I suppose. But Harry Potter, for all it's fantasy, is based in the actions and lives of average people. What I most like about the Epilogue is actually seeing how Harry grew up to be as normal as he always wanted to be. For all his extraordinary childhood and adolescence he is happiest when he can be boring like everyone else (which is why I love your Post-HP world best, it's so gloriously mundane). Not enough children's or YA literature has that message.

And I meant it was slightly silly of me to feel as if a story was cheating another story when they're both actually wonderful flights of fancy and come from the same person. Just goes to show what a wonderful, complex, canon you and Jo created for us. ::grins::

-Sqveege
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sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 7th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

"She started it," Sirius said.

Phrase of the Week!

And I don't ususally care for AU, but that one was sweet! Wait, who's Mrs. Black?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: "She started it," Sirius said.

She's Ernie's considerably older sister.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: December 7th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahhhhhhhhhhh! That second one hurt my brain. Like, I always HATE when things go wrong in books or movies or whatever, when plans are SO close to working and they're thwarted- HATE it, but that- that hurt my BRAIN. Like, I guess its a good thing, but its so, so WEIRD, no second war, and Harry's just the seeker, and and and MAH BRRRAAAIIIN.

I don't think I liked it. It was too, I dunno... happy? That sounds ridiculous, but I don't know... Am I odd for not liking it? It was far too happy and good and perfect and, oh, my brain...

And I giggled at the first one :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 7th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a little lifeless, among other things--definitely just me extrapolating out from what-would-happen-if... always a fun game, but I don't think it makes for a great story, in this case.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: December 8th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess that's the thing. I looked for the life in it, but everything just seemed so perfect and happy, and part of life is pain. So I was flinching when I saw everyone say "Please write more in this world!" Because... what stories are there to SAY? In a world without conflict.

And I'm still holding my breath for so many other stories of yours I want to see told, heh.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: December 7th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
:D You have made me immeasurably happy, Fern! Sorry for all of my indecision about what I wanted, too. XD You're a wonder, and I agree with samus_mcaslan! I would love to see more of the free-sirius universe! ...HE HAS A FAMILY!! *squee* And the first was just plain funny. I would love to see Sirius bothering Phineus more, too. Ah, hell, I want to see more of YOU, my dear! You're writing style is wonderful!
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: December 7th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved the Sirius/Phineas interaction in the first story. Your AU was a good one and would make an intriguing story.
izilen From: izilen Date: December 8th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
"I could finally let the Fat Lady retire and become the Gryffindor guardian"

Oh, I loved this! It is ironic, too, what with him 'breaking into' the Tower in Book 3.

The second ficlet: Awww. It is certainly a very happy little world.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: December 8th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Your adult Harry always makes me happy. And now that Teddy's fifth year has been written we can enjoy the portraits a lot more too, I've noticed...
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: December 8th, 2008 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I wondered which of my multiple suggestions would get chosen -- I really enjoy your take on Greyfur, so this was excellent (but don't think you've got out of all those other suggestions in the future ;) ) -- and to get another Sirius snippet in this lot was an extra bonus. Thanks for all your generous work on our behalf.
49 comments or Leave a comment