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Batch 12 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 12
Another idea I would love is something with Dudley's family. Maybe his kids slipping and saying something about visiting their Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny (preferably something they enjoyed) in front of Dudley's parents and Aunt Marge and/or Dudley gets mad at his parents and Aunt Marge and lets them know he doesn't appreciate their lies about his cousin.
for Anonymous, seconded by Sara Libby and lollapulizer

-----
It had been building all Christmas afternoon, while the smell of goose filled the house and the electrical fire glowed.

Harry and Ginny had brought their children over two nights ago for a pre-Christmas dinner. Dudley supposed that all the rules they had to follow about talking about their school in front of Kelsey and the children made them a bit surly (especially the girl, who kept pressing her lips together like Mum staring at a curl of dust in the corner). They were also a good deal older than Vern and Daisy--the eldest was sixteen and the youngest was thirteen, while Vern had just turned eight and Daisy was five. Vern was pressing hard for school information, which made them withdraw further--it was quite frustrating to watch--when Ginny saved the day for adult conversation by saying, "James, why don't you tell Vern and Daisy a story? Remember to be careful, theyr'e... younger."

The story had changed the entire tone of the evening. James had spun a story about a poor girl from Birmingham who'd married a fairy prince (Ginny had gasped, but Harry had said quickly that it was obviously a fairy tale), but he was taken away, and she had to go find a special treasure to get him back. It was quite a good story, but the real trick of the thing had been the way they'd all joined in. Al and Lily had made false protests at first, but they were bored and clearly welcomed the diversion. Not having television or going to the movies often must have made it necessary to do things like this, and soon enough, Harry and Ginny were both involved, tossing in ideas, and Kelsey had tossed in a few new elements as well, and by the end, even Dudley had suggested that the girl might do well to use a Grunnings drill to get through the lock. It had been one of the most pleasant evenings he could remember spending as a family, and the children had thought so as well. They'd been trying to make up stories themselves ever since, and were currently tripping over one another on a convoluted one about a bicycle messenger. a vampire jellyfish, and Aunt Ginny, and Dad's face had grown steadily redder. Aunt Marge, more than a bit tipsy on port, was muttering under her breath from the moment she'd heard the word "Harry."

"He could go to Kent!"

"Dover!"

"Aunt Ginny would like Kent better."

"How do you know? Aunt Ginny might like cliffs. I think Aunt Ginny would like the cliffs!"

"Uncle Harry said--"

"He is not your uncle!" Dad suddenly bellowed.

Vern and Daisy stopped the story and looked up at their grandfather with eyes the approximate size of Mum's good teacups.

"That... man... is barely related. He's a wastrel--"

"And a criminal!" Aunt Marge added. "Went to that school, didn't he, Vernon? That criminal school."

Mum smiled nervously. "Come now, Marge, that was a long time ago..."

"It was never," Dudley said.

All of their eyes turned to him.

The room seemed suddenly very small, and it was difficult to breathe.

"Dudders," Dad said, "you remember..."

"I remember him packing his way off every year and being glad to go," Dudley said. "But we all know there's no such thing as St. Brutus's. He went to a perfectly decent school for... for talented people."

"Freaks like him," Aunt Marge said.

"If Harry's a freak, maybe we all should be," Kelsey offered. "He seems delightful."

"Hmph." Aunt Marge stirred her hot toddy with a stick, then gulped it down. "You'll pardon me for saying so, dear, but you've stepped into a situation you don't understand."

"Kelsey understands more than you do," Dudley said. "Harry's a decent bloke, and his wife's grand as well."

"Dudders..." Mum started.

"Mum, I don't know why you always sat still for this! I don't care how much you fought with your sister, she was still your sister. How could you let them talk about your nephew like that?" Dudley shook his head. "I could have had a brother. My own age. Right smart and a lot of fun. Instead, you taught me to have an enemy in the house. Why?"

"Well, he wasn't... our sort," Dad said, looking askance at Aunt Marge, then Kelsey and the children.

"So what?" Dudley said. "And by the way, yes, he was. He still cleans picture frames with a paintbrush, Mum."

In the kitchen, a bell rang.

"The goose is ready," Mum said. "Everyone sit down, and let's talk about more pleasant things..."

Dudley sighed. The children's Christmas had been compromised enough. They all went to the table together.



was interested by your characterization of orion (not orry)and how different he was from the rest of his family, so it would be interesting to see walburga and sirius from his perspective, esp. as he might see their
similarities more clearly, since he's so different.

for m

-----
Orion Black had little interest in the affairs of the world. He assumed (on good evidence) that Walburga would choose a side and proclaim for the family, and he was happy to let her do so. He didn't find her current cause--pureblood protection--particularly compelling, but he could certainly see her point. All one needed to do was walk down a Muggle street to know that it wasn't the sort of influence one wanted in one's family. It had occurred to him that the Mudbloods might eventually be acculturated, but, as Walburga pointed out, they seemed disinclined to do so. In fact, they seemed inclined to acculturate natural wizards into their ways instead.

So he didn't object to her escalations, and he just tinkered with the security spells on the house until they were as strong as the law allowed (in fact, a bit stronger, but if it got to the point where Aurors were testing such things, it would have gone too far already). This was something he enjoyed anyway. If he'd needed to take up a profession, he supposed this would have been it, but thank heaven, things were not so desperate that the head of the House of Black was forced into employment.

No one had ever asked him if he loved his wife and sons, and he rarely gave the subject much thought. They were his family, he took care of them. Walburga, he held in a certain sort of awe--she had swept him away early on and he had never looked back. She ran his life efficiently and ran his House passionately. Regulus was a good, quiet boy who did as he was asked and strove to make things more pleasant.

Sirius... did not strive to make anything pleasant.

Like Walburga's mirror image, he escalated every argument he could find, put his foot down as hard as he could on any position that was opposite of hers, and declared himself the enemy of any cause she espoused, from pure-blood protection to the tradition of rolling bandages at St. Mungo's on Boxing Day.

Did he love them?

He'd never felt a wave of maudlin sentiment about them, but he thought he loved them well enough, as well as a man of his inborn nature could. He assumed they knew it (this on considerably scanter evidence than his other assumptions, but surely, all sons knew such things; he had known it about his own father, hadn't he?).

He was working on the security Hexes, hiding carefully behind an Illusion Charm that made the neighbors see only an empty garden, when the door burst open and Regulus came out. He looked franticcally around, spotted Orion, then straighted up and said, calmly, "You should come in. Mum and Sirius..."

"Again?"

Regulus nodded.

Orion put down his wand and followed his younger son inside.

Walburga and Sirius were down in the kitchen. The books were out for summer lessons, but they were entirely ignored. Sirius had a different book in his hand, and Walburga was trying to rip it from him, ignoring her wand to do so.

"I want this rubbish out of the house! Do you understand me, Sirius?"

"It's not rubbish, it's the truth! You just can't stand it!"

"Sirius," Orion said firmly.

Sirius paid him no attention at all. He jumped up on one of the benches and held up his book, The End of the World (And Why This Pure-blood Likes It That Way). "I'm going to burn the whole family tree, just like you burned Andromeda! If she can't be on it, no one can!"

"She betrayed us!"

"I'm going to throw out all of your rubbish in the attic! Everything!"

"How dare you!"

"Sirius," Orion said again, to even less effect.

Walburga finally remembered her wand and Summoned the book from Sirius (he made a grab for it in mid-air). She snarled and tossed it into the fireplace. "Enough of that!" she said. "I compromised with you. I let you read that Bagshot woman instead of Nature's Nobility. I am never going to allow that... that..." She apparently couldn't think of a strong enough epithet, and just pointed at the fireplace. "Not in my house!"

"It'll be my house, and I'll read whatever I want, and I'll get rid of whatever I want."

Orion gripped him firmly by the elbow, which he couldn't ignore, and prodded him down to a seat. "If you don't mind waiting for your inheritance until I actually die," he said, "perhaps you could return to your studies and learn something before you burn it down."

"Tell her that," Sirius muttered, but pulled his lesson books to him.

Walburga smiled tightly, sat down across from him, and started teaching again.

Orion went back to his tinkering. Ten minutes later, Regulus was back outside, telling him to come in.
21 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: December 11th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, you've got such a way of immersing yourself into the characters you write, a very good psychological insight into what it means to be them, that I'm awed. You really shouldn't have any trouble writing something that's all yours. You just need to make up something you're as passionate about as this. I'd love to see both of the above extended into at least a full chapter. *happy sigh*
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: December 11th, 2008 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Hah! I hadn't thought of the Black family in that fashion, and I admit seeing Sirius as a bit of a mirror to Walburga was a shock. But at the same time, I really like seeing how people portray the Black family, when they're seen as such, rather than as characatures. Three dimensional characters for the win!
From: severely_lupine Date: December 11th, 2008 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I love that first one! It's so sweet, how you write Dudley in the future. His comment, "I could have had a brother" really hit me. Just... so true.

The second fic makes me want to see something from when Sirius was just a baby, or possibly when Walburga found out she was pregnant, or when he was born and she found out she'd produced an heir to the great House of Black. Surely they weren't always so divided, and it would be nice to see some pleasantness between them.

Thanks for those. I really needed something to cheer me up. I just went back and read some of your older stuff, and I read that ficlet called The Killing Moon, and by the end I was literally having trouble reading through the tears. It was so very sad, partly because of the story itself, and partly because that's how Remus *should* have died. Not the painful and half-transformed part, but the part about dying an old man, surrounded by friends and family and great-grandchildren. It makes me sad again just thinking about it.
(Deleted comment)
ladyphoenixia From: ladyphoenixia Date: December 11th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved that first one, makes me really want to see more of Dudley and Harry and their families interacting.
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: December 11th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your Dudley is so totally my favorite character to read.
From: spitc1899 Date: December 11th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
The comparison between Sirius and his mother threw me a bit, too, and then I realized it really is so true. This was rather sad.

Dudley was wonderful. I wanted to cheer for him. And the comment about 'he still cleans picture frames with a paintbrush' was perfect.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I like your Dudley!

If Petunia had asnwered Dudley's question honestly, by the way, my take on her is that fear played a big part in a lot of how she acted. I mean, before Harry showed up on her doorstep, she spent time not knowing if or when her sister might be killed, not being able to do anything about it, and not even being able to talk about it to anyone. Besides not being able to discuss magic with Muggles, she knows Voldemort and his supporters are targeting Muggleborns and their Muggle relations. Any slip she makes - any acknowledgement of her fears - could make them go from abstract to reality.

Then, the way she finds out about her sister and brother-in-laws deaths is by opening the door and seeing their orphaned son left there.

Looked at that way, I could kind of see why she screamed (as Rowling told us).

And, although putting Harry in the cupboard under the stairs was hardly decent treatment, I could also see it as part of the whole hide-things-away obsession.

Sorry, I meander everytime I comment on your things. They just get me thinking about the whole world in your stories and talking about Petunia as if she's a real person. Thanks!

Ellen
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
These were great, especially the first one.

Vern's "pressing hard for school information", and his age, made me wonder. Does he know anything about magic, or notice some similarity between his relatives and himself, or at least have a sense that he's different in some way?
I'd love to see something more about that at some point.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: December 11th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, poor Dudley. You've done a great job here. I like how the story gets the whole family together. And I love how he stands up for Harry when he doesn't have to.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 11th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow!!! Orion and Walburga are exactly like I've always pictured them!

And I do love a good Grownup!Harry story, especially when it involves Dudley!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

m

thanks! orion was very interesting with his coldness and assumptions and ambivalence.

he thought he loved them, as well as a man of his inborn nature could

was pretty sad. i've always liked the dynamic you set up- much more interesting (and more likely in the books) than orion just being a mirror image of his wife.
~m
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From: (Anonymous) Date: December 11th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
GO BIG D! :) But didn't he marry Pravati in Teddyverse?

-fh:)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 11th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
He still cleans picture frames with a paintbrush, Mum
I bet Petunia is secretly proud.

Orion was VERY interesting, it was a great character study.

Thanks!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: December 11th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Dudley... now I want to see the part of the saga where Mira and Vern meet and Kelsey and Daisy have to find out what's been going on all these years (if they haven't figured it out before then). I hope I still remember the next time you dare to make a challenge call!!
tencups_i_swear From: tencups_i_swear Date: December 11th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

one word

*Sniff*
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: December 11th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two snippits it would never have occured to me to seek, and yet I enjoyed them both. Thank you!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: December 12th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm.....I think that may have been the first time I've seen your Orion. It was interesting to get inside his head.

Also, I love the family interactions and the note about how storytelling brought the family closer together. The details you added were really point on too, like Aunt Ginny being the star in the kids' story! How cute. Also, its interesting that Dudley's kids are that much younger and that you make note of how that is slightly awkward....
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: December 12th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Liked them both, especially the Dudley one. A lot of good lines there.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 12th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I like how in the second one, there's a little link between Geoffery and what happened before--Wasn't his book 'Get out of my Mudbloody way!'?
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