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Batch 15 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 15
Maurice, Honoria and Regulus. Alone in a cable-car halfway up Mont Blanc.
for miseri

---
Regulus hadn't been entirely surprised when he got an invitation to meet with Maurice Burke. Burke held an entirely Slytherin distrust of most other Slytherins ("Oh, he's got a billywig in his pants about that," Lily Potter had said, tutting dismissively, "and that's about all the action he sees, so he's quite fond of it"), and Regulus knew that his fabricated history made him suspect, and his real history would only make him moreso. He was surprised that the meeting was to take place at a Muggle ski resort, and that Honoria Atkinson had come along for good measure.

"Oh, I'm doing an ongoing series on the last of the war orphans," she said as they boarded a dubious-looking contraption--white on top, red on the bottom, with huge windows on all sides... all dangling from an unstable looking wire. On the front, it said Chamonix. Regulus didn't trust it, but he supposed, if something happened, he could always Disapparate from it. Honoria and Maurice didn't seem concerned. Honoria just took a seat along the edge, moved her wand surreptitiously, and waited to make sure that the Muggles outside weren't actually boarding after them. (Most, including the guide, seemed to forget that the car existed.) "I've already talked to Harry Potter, of course, and Teddy Lupin. And Professor Longbottom, who wasn't technically orphaned, but I thought his case would make good press." She looked at Regulus shrewdly. "Are you aware of what happened to the Longbottoms?"

"Harry told me," Regulus said.

The door of the contraption closed, and it begain to move.

Maurice tapped the wall with his wand, then said, "You don't happen to know it from any other source?"

Regulus, who had been pulled from the lake--and the timestream--two years before Alice and Frank Longbottom had been tortured, could honestly answer that he hadn't heard a thing about it from "any other source," but the car had started to move, and he didn't want to say anything, for fear that his voice would be quaking. He shrugged.

Maurice and Honoria glanced at each other, and the car continued its ascent. At one point, it reached a high tower, and Regulus was certain it was going to crash into it, but it went over with barely a bump.

Maurice raised his wand and pointed at the wire.

The car stopped.

"What a shame," Maurice said. "Ice on the cable. They'll have to take care of that."

Regulus drove his fingernails into his palm to cut the fear. "What's going on?"

"Just a chat," Honoria said. "Slytherin to Slytherin. You're not Sirius Black's illegitimate child."

Maurice raised an eyebrow. "Don't try to Disapparate; I've blocked the car."

Regulus forced his shoulders to straighten. "What makes you think I'm not who I say I am?"

"For one thing," Honoria said, "Sirius Black died in 1996. The latest you could have been born is 1997, and that's two years later than you've been claiming, if we do the math from his year on the run. It is currently 2024. If you're nearly thirty, I'm a hippogriff."

Maurice nodded. "Another thing--you were supposedly hidden abroad for your entire childhood, but your accent is upper crust London. In fact, it's totally indistinguishable from Narcissa Malfoy's or Andromeda Tonks's. Even if your mother had that accent, you'd not have it at all. That's what actually got me thinking about it. Don McCormack's little girl, Tara, is learning to talk in America. Do you imagine she's inherited her father's accent?"

"Also, I've heard of people looking like family members, but your resemblance to Sirius's brother"--Honoria pulled an old society page from the Daily Prophet from her handbag--"is quite uncanny."

Regulus took the page. In the center of it was his own picture, taken at his seventeenth birthday party. The headline was, "Black Heir Vanishes." He hadn't got this particular article in the pile of information Teddy had given him. Rita Skeeter had interviewed Mum, who'd screamed about Mudbloods destroying her line (this was quoted as, "A distraught Walburga Black wept that there might be some involvement from Muggle-born radicals, but that cannot be confirmed at this time"), and Dad was reported as having been taken to St. Mungo's for shock. Skeeter had apparently tried to interview Sirius, but Remus Lupin (Regulus guessed; he'd been described only as "an unkempt acquaintance of Black's") had run interference, saying that "This man has just lost his brother--surely you don't expect him to give a coherent interview."

The article was plucked away from him. Honoria, leaning over, raised her eyebrows in silent inquiry.

Regulus swallowed. "I hope you haven't brought me up here to confirm some mad theory with the aim of publication."

"Of course not," Honoria said. "My series is on the orphans as they've grown up. You aren't a war orphan at all, are you?"

"And I only have one question," Maurice said.

"What's that?"

"Who brought you back?"

"I'm not going to tell you that."

"Then I'll assume it was one of the Malfoys. Lucius is old and weak, but I don't especially trust Draco, and, despite Rose Weasley's reassurances, I'm not entirely certain about Scorpius."

"It wasn't the Malfoys."

"Did it involve my great-uncle's shop? Was Borgin in on it?"

"Not that I know of." Regulus leaned forward. "If you want to know more, might I suggest you contact a friend at the Department of Mysteries. You never know what an Unspeakable might tell you." With that, he leaned back, and enjoyed the consternation on both of their faces. "Now, could we get this thing started again? As long as we're here, I'd just as soon reach the mountaintop."




Andromeda getting some comfort about Dora's death. Teddy has his dreams, the portraits, and the resurrection stone experience, I feel like Andromeda should get to benefit from these things as well - if not directly, than through Teddy.
for Cara

---
Granny didn't want to be comforted.

That was something it had taken Teddy quite a long time to understand, though he wasn't entirely unsympathetic, as he had also felt somewhat disloyal if he let things hurt less than they could. But it was different to accept it in someone else, especially one of the people who'd always told him that it was right to be comforted, right to try to be happy. Throughout his childhood and teen years, he'd thought he must be the only person who felt that way--Granny, of all people, was the one who most often told him not to be trapped in the past.

Now he knew why--she was trapped in it and miserable herself, and didn't feel she had any right to make a bid for freedom. That was for other people.

It had taken Père Alderman, during one of Teddy's religious instruction sessions, to point it out--the session had devolved into little more than an extended philosophical conversation, then, as a bit of mead was applied, a personal one. Ellsworth Wintringham had been put out of her life for another few weeks, and had ended up crying on Teddy's shoulder, and Teddy, appalled at Granny's apparent heartlessness toward poor Ellsworth, had finally confided his confusion and anger to Alderman.

"He's a good man," Teddy said. "And he loves her. And I'm out of the house now. I'm getting married next year. I don't want Granny to be miserable and alone! But she won't even try not to be. Maybe she's afraid he'll die before she does or something. But I could, too. Anyone could."

"Which is a valid point of fear for Andromeda," Alderman said. "But I don't think that's what's going on. Marrying Ellsworth would be closing the door on her first family."

"But I'm still here, and--"

"Teddy, your godfather raised you. Did you ever once call him your father?"

"Of course not!"

"Your grandmother's husband died. Now someone else wants to be called her husband. You can only have one at a time."

"But--"

"I've heard your confessions, Teddy. You feel guilty if you go a day without thinking of your parents. Why do you imagine she doesn't think of her husband and child as often? Or feel guilty at considering joining another family?"

"But they wouldn't mind. I've dreamed, I've... I've done the other thing I confessed to. And I brought the portraits, but she won't even talk to them."

"The portraits are a recording. Better than a photograph album, but not living souls. I imagine it's not comforting to be confronted with such a blatant artifact of death." He sighed. "You meant well, Teddy, and the portraits have been good for you, and I think for your godfather. But your grandmother is clinging to her memories more than either of you are, keeping them alive there rather than in their artifacts, and seeing such a thing only drives home that she's holding onto smoke."

"What do I do?"

To this, Alderman hadn't had any good suggestions. So Teddy had considered all of it carefully. It wouldn't do to tell her about his dreams; she didn't entirely believe in them, and he couldn't verify them, especially if he told her something like, "Mum wouldn't mind if you married Ellsworth." (For one thing, despite a few proddings, Mum hadn't commented on this when he'd seen her under the power of the Resurrection Stone, and it never had come up in a dream.) She also would never take a direct bit of advice on the subject.

The answer had finally come very simply, when Teddy was storing the days' thoughts in the Pensieve he'd found for his workroom. Dad's wedding ring had escaped from the cowl of his robes and clinked against the stone basin, and Teddy had known what he meant to do.

Granny entered his workroom with her usual cheerful curiosity. "So this is where you've been spending your days? Teddy, it's a black box. And an utter mess. You ought to do something with it."

"Maddie says I should let it be what I need it to be. Maybe later there'll be something else. But I've got pictures--look, there's the one James made for me when I went away to school."

Granny went over to it and smiled. "This will embarrass James terribly."

"That's true."

She went around, looking at his quotes, his blackboards, the various knick-knacks associated with his research in Faith and Beauty--one thing about his Divisions, they had the very best artifacts. He'd done nothing to prepare for her visit, and it was somewhat uncomfortable, like watching someone else wander through his own unshielded mind. But this had felt like the right thing to do. She arrived at the Pensieve and touched it lightly. "It's not quite the same as your grandfather's Pensieve," she said. "His was the cheapest he could get, I'm afraid. This one seems quite old. Is it all right? No trace curses?"

Teddy grinned. "I checked it thoroughly before I did anything with it. It belonged to an Unspeakable who worked here in the 1920s. No heirs. It's just been gathering dust in a cupboard in the Faith division ever since. Helen said no one had ever had trouble with it, so I thought it would be safe. It has been. Do you want to see?"

She narrowed her eyes. "What exactly did you bring me here to show me, Teddy?"

"You always could see through me."

"I wish. But you're not as subtle as you think."

"All right. I wondered how much Mum and Dad's memories had integrated with mine--from the ring?"

Granny nodded.

"Anyway, they're like my own memories. I can pull them out, look at them again. I thought you might like to see some of the ones Mum gave me."

She hesitated, then bit her lip, and nodded. Teddy took her hand, and led her into the Pensieve.

Many of Mum's memories had been about her childhood==a happy, carefree time, with parents who loved her and protected her from all of the horrible things it was in their power to protect her from. He showed Granny these memories--walks in the park, dinners where Granny had Charmed the flatware for little Dora's entertainment, times with her friends enjoying the warmth and love in the Tonks household. He showed her his own birth, Granny helping Mum along the way. He showed her how Mum had loved and trusted her, even during the times they'd been exasperated with one another.

At first, she'd talked, telling Teddy about each memory, but as they passed, she just got quieter and quieter. Teddy finally reached the end, and pulled her out.

She remained quiet.

"Are you all right, Granny?"

She nodded, and sat down on the only piece of furniture in the room, an old church pew that had been upended in the corner, which Teddy had restored and cushioned to sleep on. "Thank you, Teddy."

He sat down beside her. "That's always there, Granny. Nothing's ever going to change it. I'll think about it when Victoire and I have children, and hope that they'll be as happy. And I hope that they'll remember being happy, and raise their children to be happy. It doesn't die, Granny."

She nodded, and patted his hand. "I--" She took a breath. "I can't really think what to say."

"I want to see you happy somewhere other than in that basin," Teddy said. "They would, too."

Granny looked at the Pensieve longingly, then nodded. "Yes. Yes, I suppose they would."


14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 16th, 2008 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, how wonderful. That last one, so sad. I really do think that of all the people, particularly of all the non-combatants, that got screwed over in the war, Andromeda got the worst of it. And, of course, Ted and Dora *would* want her to move on and find happiness again if she could, and not stay in mourning for them forever. Also, it's great to see how much she and Teddy care for each other, and how they take care of each other.

The more I see of Alderman, the more I like him. It's just so great to see someone come from where he did with Greyback to become the person he is later, when he talks to Teddy and the cubs and others. It's also very nice that he's helping guide Teddy, talking him through his problems, asking questions, helping Teddy understand things better. Just like Remus helped Alderman. I wonder just what Remus would say if he could see them there. I'm reminded of how teachers (especially single teachers) will often refer to their students as "their kids". And here's one of Lupin's "kids" with his actual kid. It's very touching.

That first bit was very amusing. Slytherins are so entertaining, and of course they would be the ones to see through Regulus's story. And his response at the end was perfect. It's a nice to see that Slytherins are much less nasty in this era than they apparently were for so long. Or maybe that's just Rowling giving us so few examples of non-nasty Slytherins.

- Samus McAslan
From: spitc1899 Date: December 16th, 2008 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to hug Andromeda. She really did get the short end of the stick in Deathly Hallows.

And the Slytherin battle of wits is wonderful. I really wondered how you were going to do this one, but it's perfect. Of course, those two would figure out that something wasn't quite right. It makes me a little frightened for anyone else Honoria and Maurice ever decided to team up against, but Regulus handles it wonderfully.
amamama From: amamama Date: December 16th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. I'm...I don't know, it's like I've been hit in the chest, and I'm slightly breathless. Lovely pieces, both involving Unspeakable!Teddy. Poor Regulus, re-entering the time stream can't be easy, and my heart just breaks for Andromeda. Hopefully now she'll realise it's ok to find happiness again. Loving again doesn't mean you love the ones before any less, it just makes life worth living. And is good for the people who love you. I do understand Teddy's need to see her happy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 16th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much! Loss is very different for Andromeda, who actually knew and loved the family Teddy never knew and I think your fic reflects that beautifully.

Thanks again for the fic!
-Cara
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: December 16th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh Andromeda.

I think thats all I can manage at the moment.
miseri From: miseri Date: December 16th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! It's wonderful to see Maurice and Honoria putting their heads together over anything, and of course Regulus comes from a long tradition of dealing with (or dealing *in*) just such tactics. This really makes my day.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: December 16th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Andromeda. I always did think she got it the worst - I mean, Molly lost a child too, but Dora was her only child. But it was nice to see her have that pain reconciled, a little bit at least. I don't think she'd ever be able to move on completely - but hopefully she can take further steps in that direction.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 16th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will never, EVER, forgive JKR for what she did to Andromeda. Ever.


On a more cheerful note, those Slytherins are so sneaky. Love them!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: December 16th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I was reading these, I realized anew that your version of the Potterverse is canon to me. Pere Alderman, and Honoria and Maurice are absolutely part and parcel of the whole, as much so as Hermione or Sirius, and I love spending time with them. I'll be leaving for the holiday tomorrow, so will probably not be able to read the rest of these until I return. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season to you and your readers!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 16th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know about Regulus' accent being a give away. I grew up bi-dialectical, talking like a Bostonian outside the house and switching to west coast/midwest inside. I think, if I'd been learning a separate language, I'd have copied my parents' accent even more.

Although, it took a while before I sounded completely like my neighbors when I moved west, and there are still some words that _I_ know give me away (I'm not always sure if everyone else knows).

But, added to the age thing and the resemblance, it comes out stronger. Still, I think Honoria and Maurice know how to play a relatively weak hand as though it's a royal flush and run over the opposition. They were ready to hear he was really Regulus but they were probably also to hear a different story that still made sense. For example, they might have speculated that Regulus was Regulus, Jr., that Regulus, Sr. had gone into hiding but been ashamed that he'd never fought his old friends and that he'd indoctrinated his son to think it would be shameful to admit to having him as a father.

So, were they pushing the scenario they thought was most likely? Or did they figure it would be the one Regulus would either confess to (if it was right) or be most anxious to correct?

Of course, since she was working on war orphans, Honoria might have had the . . . empathy? sense? . . . to realize that, if he wasn't Regulus, Sr. returned from the grave, he was someone carrying some issues that needed to be addressed.

Honoria being empathic? Time traveling returns from the dead are kind of low key compared to that.

Ellen
ranzzo From: ranzzo Date: December 16th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
That last one was absolutely wonderful. You have me crying at my desk. People are looking at me funny.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: December 16th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Honoria and Maurice actually teaming up on something? Now that's scary!

Glad Teddy found some way to break through Andromeda's shell of grief. She lost so much, but one can't live preserved in amber.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: December 17th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
You don't pick up accents from your 'rents, ehh? :P.

Then I must obviously be on crack! Well, I am anyway. My mom's from France, my dad's from New York, and I've lived my entire life in California. And yet I have some crack-worthy blend of the two. I dunno what's wrong with me though :D.

As usual adore the stories. These just make my day. Poor Andromeda, and lord, I was amused by the random collection of Slytherin's. :).
ksellers From: ksellers Date: December 17th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, you rock.

I love your Regulus. I can't think of any qualifiers for that, right now, too many numbers running through my brain... but he's awesome. I hope lots more challenges are about him :) Or, you know, you just write out the whole Regulus arc as a story...

Your characters really have become canon to me. I know I'm only the millionth person to say that, but it's true. I stopped liking Rowling so much after her epilogue she stole off of ff.net (sorry, but that was my first impression). But you've taken the epilogue, and created another universe out of it. It's (also) awesome.

I'm going back to studying OM now, but I'll have a whole four days of internet and no classes or work to reread everything after tomorrow! Yay!
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