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Batch 26 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 26
Maddie's point of view on the talk she has with Tonks about why Tonks is "walking on air", and Maddie's subsequent meeting of Remus at that dinner in Chapter 26 of Shifts, her immediate impression and the impression by the end of the dinner.
for Anonymous

Tonks had arrived forty minutes ago with four bags of baby things she'd found on one of her pilgrimages to Oxfam. There were bibs and pajamas and wee socks, as well as a plastic rattle featuring a smiling, anthropomorphic lion cub from the Disney film that had been out a couple of summers ago. Tonks took this and shook it in front of Maddie's belly and sang a bit of one of the film's songs, then moved on to unpack a stuffed bear, a colorful ball, and at least two more bags' worth of clothes. She hummed to herself as she did this, and commented cheerfully on each item, and why she thought a baby might enjoy it.

Maddie had begun the afternoon protesting the generosity--she and Daffy weren't rich, but they could manage well enough to equip the baby--but Tonks's mood was both infectious and intriguing. Instead of continuing her protests, Maddie just sat back, her fingers laced over her swollen belly, watching. After an hour, she said, "All right, I give up. You've been off in your own world all year, and you've obviously met someone there. So you're going to have to tell me, because I just don't know who's in it with you."

Tonks's smile broadened, and she picked up the stuffed bear. She put it in front of her face and bent down to Maddie's stomach. "Mummy's curious!" she said to the baby. "Should we tell her or torture her?"

The baby gave a hearty kick.

"I think he thinks you should tell me," Maddie said. She tapped her throat with her wand to amplify her voice and called, "Daffy! Sanj! Tonks is torturing the pregnant lady!"

The boys, who had--in a fit of manliness--been trying to put together the cot Daffy had picked up without magic, came running down the stairs.

"Can I help?" Sanjiv asked.

"I have a list of suggestions," Daffy offered.

"Hmph," Maddie sniffed, then remembered to take the Charm off her throat. She made a sweeping gesture at Tonks. "Take a look at the facts of the situation. While I can barely waddle across the carpet, she's dancing on air, and not tripping over anything in the process."

"Highly suspicious," Sanjiv mused. "What else?"

"She's singing to my stomach."

Daffy nodded wisely. "Curiouser and curiouser."

"And when I asked about a man, she didn't deny it."

"A man?" Sanjiv frowned impressively. "I didn't approve any man on the scene. Daffy, did you?"

"I wasn't even asked about the subject. Maddie, you haven't been encouraging any wild deviations from the social order, have you?"

"I'm always encouraging a wild deviation from your social order," Maddie said, "but she didn't even tell me, so I couldn't very well approve."

Tonks laughed and started Banishing the toys and clothes up to the nursery.

"Out with it," Sanjiv said. "Or I shall have to resort to extreme measures." He grabbed the stuffed bear. "Do you value this bear's stuffing?"

Tonks Summoned it away from him and smoothed down its garish blue fur. "And here I haven't even refused to tell yet."

"So tell," Maddie said. "I'm living vicariously at the moment."

"Like I wouldn't trade places with you in about two seconds," Tonks said, then rolled her eyes. "Yes, there's a man. There's the man, more properly speaking."

Sanjiv raised his eyebrows. "The man?"

Tonks's face split in a wide smile, and she lounged down across the worn out old blue chair that Daffy had brought along from his flat. "This is the man I've loved since I was about five years old."

Maddie leaned forward as much as she could. "Oh, really?"

"You don't mean..." Daffy sat down, his face a bit more serious than Maddie thought the conversation warranted. "Tonks, you don't mean your 'grown-up friend'?"

It was Tonks's turn to look surprised. "I never said he was anything but my friend. He wasn't, then! I just... well, you know. He was my Mr. Lupin."

"I was going out with you at the time," Daffy said. "I was quite sensitive to anyone you paid more attention to than me."

Tonks apparently couldn't hold on to any vaguely troubling thought for long. She she shrugged and smiled again. She seemed to be glowing in the sunlight. "Well, sorry, Daff. Remus was there before you, and thank God, he's still there. He kissed me on Valentine's Day." She closed her eyes slightly and seemed to relive it, then sighed contentedly. "Tell you what--why don't the lot of you come meet us for supper? I promise, you'll love him. Not nearly as much as I do, because that would just be odd, but quite a lot."

How about Vivian finding life-long romantic happiness. Does not have to be with Neville, as he's now off-limits.
for Anonymous

Hmm... I don't really see that happening--I think she stays single, and just pals around with Alderman. But let's see what I can come up with.
It was the fourth time that Vivian and Alderman had gone back to the colony in the mountains of Oaxaca. She had carefully learned Spanish before the first visit--it was harder than it had looked to pick it up from French--only to discover that the original werewolves had been Zapotec (the legend had it that a Spanish ship had come in, with only one sailor left alive, and he refused to speak... until the first full moon, when he'd killed most of a village and infected the remaining populace), and their Spanish was, at best, shaky. Spanish-speaking children from the cities who had found their way to the colony had lost their language quickly and become acclimated to the colony's own version of Zapotec. (The colony had been cut off from the state for nearly two centuries, both by the rugged terrain of Oaxaca and by the rumors that had inevitably spread about people disappearing into their pathways and never returning.) It was as close as Vivian could imagine to a werewolf city--work organized around the full moon, precautions taken to avoid pain, feasts all day of the transformation, even a stone statue at the center of town depicting a werewolf transforming. Unfortunately, it had also, for nearly half of its two hundred years' isolation, been under the control of a brutal line of alphas, who'd grown the population by stealing uninfected women and keeping them for breeding, then infecting them when they'd completed their task. Girls were kept "clean" until they'd produced children, then "allowed" to join the society. Boys were initiated at the age of ten. For the boys in question, the origins of the rite were lost in the mists of time, but Alderman guessed that it was no more than the age at which one of the alphas had been taken.

At around the same time as Voldemort's second war (though there was no connection Vivian could find), a young man called Edur had led a revolt against the alpha. It had started over one of his mates and spread into a full battle. Edur had been killed, but the mate, a woman named Nayeli, had kept the revolt going, and had now established herself as alpha. She'd been taken as a little girl, and remembered the outer world, and it was she who had contacted the nearby monks, and the monks had contacted Rome. Rome, of course, had sent Alderman, and Vivian had gone along. The first time they'd gone, the city was in shambles, and there were loud arguments about what to do with the outside world--or so Vivian guessed, by the gesturing. The second time, she'd picked up enough Zapotec to know that they were talking about forming a more reasonable government, with Nayeli as only the titular head. The third time, there had been a council. This time, the council was debating, vigorously, how to "preserve the nature of our town" without infecting anyone else.

The young man leading the discussion was Enrique LaaBeccu, a son of the former alpha who was now the father of four children, none of them infected. His wife Marisol, with whom Vivian had developed a friendly relationship during the first two visits here, had died over the winter, and her last wish was that none of her children should be turned. Their eldest boy, Tomas, was thirteen years old and seething that he hadn't been initiated. Alderman was, at present, taking Tomas for a long walk in the mountains to discuss the subject and try to calm him down.

Enrique himself was a tall, broad-faced Zapotec with black hair that was cut off in a straight line just above his shoulders. He spoke in a soft, slightly hoarse voice, and commanded people's attention without any dramatic embellishments. Vivian hadn't had a chance to spend a great deal of time with him, but she'd always rather liked him.

"There is no excuse to continue as we have been," he said. "What we pass on is not a tradition, but a disease. And just as it is unfair for the world to penalize us for suffering from it, so it is unfair of us to deliberately inflict it upon others. We've all heard from Father Alderman on this."

An old man with filed teeth rose. "You would have this village we've built die, or simply become a place without meaning?"

"If that were necessary to save my children from this, I would," Enrique said. "But I think that you're wrong. I think that, as we let go of the necessity of infection with a painful and deadly disease, our village will grow. We can invite witches and wizards, and create an enclave." He gestured to Vivian. "Our friend Vivian has told us of the Scottish village of Hogsmeade--"

"They persecute werewolves there!" another man interjected.

"Yes, but we need not do so." Enrique sighed. "There are such villages to the north, in Sonora and Coahuala, but here, to the south, no fully magical village has appeared--except for our own. By inviting other witches and wizards to join us here, we could set the tone of tolerance, and they, by their mere decision to come and live in a town created by werewolves, would signal their acceptance. We could be the first place of our kind--a place where werewolves built, and then shared, without need to pass on our pain."

The council continued to debate, but Enrique fell silent. After the meeting, he came back to the gallery, where Vivian was sitting. "I'm making some progress, I think," he said, and picked up his poncho. "Come, the children have been looking forward to dinner with Sister Vivian."

"Do they know I'm not actually a nun?"

"You aren't?" Enrique said. "I simply assumed you were, traveling with the father and so on. Why do you travel, then?"

"Alderman's an old friend," Vivian said. "My old alpha, actually. And I really have nothing else to do while Celia's at school. I enjoy helping him."

"Your Celia... she's the one you were forced to infect?"

"Yes, though at present she's more miffed at me because I won't let her go to some disreputable clubs."

His eyes twinkled. "Ah, children. A source of delight and frustration." He opened the door and led them out into the seasonless heat of the Oaxaca November. "They know of her condition at the school?"

"Oh, yes. She's quite open about it, not even shy. It's sometimes hard to imagine." Vivian walked along. "Of course, she has no visible scars. I bit her hip, so unless she's in a swimsuit, there's nothing for anyone to look at."

Enrique looked at her sideways. "Your scars have been a bigger problem for you than your illness," he said. It wasn't a question.

"Well, they are rather obvious. Until I get to know people, they tend to spend a lot of time talking to my knees."

"Hmm. Well, I think they aren't as bad as you imagine. The eye is obvious, but the one you've replaced it with is a matter of great amusement to the children. They love it when you make it spin."

"Children are forgiving."

"If adults give them reasons to forgive." He smiled. "Well, enough of such unpleasantness. My daughter Concetta is making a wonderful dinner. I hope you can stay..."

13 comments or Leave a comment
cacata From: cacata Date: January 2nd, 2009 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
You are like a fanfic writing machine! Which is good for us who love to read everything you write. Thanks, all the batches have been very enjoyable.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm just glad there are people to read it all!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 2nd, 2009 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I pretty much peed my pants laughing at this:

Not nearly as much as I do, because that would just be odd, but quite a lot

Oh, man, that was perfect. And I have missed Sanjiv....

And Enrique sounds quite sexy. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, as long as I'm creating an OC for an OC, I figure, why not make him crushable? ;p
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: January 2nd, 2009 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Just to let Viv know that I approve heartily of this Enrique guy but then she generally has pretty good taste. Not that I've forgotten that, but for one random interview, Vivian/Neville would still exist.

The Tonks and her friends bit was great as well. Really good fun.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like Enrique, too. It worked out better than I thought it would when the challenge came up.
mint_green From: mint_green Date: January 2nd, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww! Awww to both of them.

I love how Celia is more angry at not being allowed to go to certain clubs. Bless her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Celia's got a healthy attitude.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 2nd, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs and doesn't let go*

Wow, that werewolf village sounds very interesting. You planned it so carefully, it sounds perfectly plausible.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gads, I miss Tonks being a cheerful thing to write.

I went on a hunt for a good place to put the village--someplace with a pretty strong Catholic background (so they'd call for Alderman), with some tendency toward isolated communities. But it turns out that it's not easy to find Zapotec names.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 2nd, 2009 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm back from my holiday travels and thrilled to find a great number of entries to read. You are, indeed, a writing machine, and we are grateful. I enjoyed both of these. Cheerful Tonks is a great pleasure, and Vivian is always a favorite. Happy New Year!
malabud From: malabud Date: January 15th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, that werewolf village bit could very easily turn into an original story if you aren't careful. Every single character mentioned was your own creation. Nothing about Harry or Remus or Tonks. Your only connection to HP was the Hogsmeade mention.

Just a thought....

(I've been reading and enjoying every single one of these ficlets. You are such a marvelous writer, Fern. Your ear for distinct character voices is wonderful. Keep up the lovely work.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 15th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I'd have to change up the world around the village, but it could be done. (I also might switch it to someplace I know more about than I know about Oaxaca!)
13 comments or Leave a comment