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Batch 34 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 34
Elhanan teaching!
For Anonymous

(I have to admit, the whole Elhanan and Dora thing... that was just meant to be my version of a coda, a "finally, they'll get their own 'all is well'" moment. I haven't really given it a lot of thought, since I never meant to do anything with it!)
---
Teddy hadn't really had a great desire to learn to draw at any point in his life. He'd taken lessons from Dean Thomas once, in the hope of making peace with the man Dad had died to save, but he'd never got far. He'd always felt that it wasn't fair that he hadn't inherited Dad's talent, so he could draw the things he Saw, but he'd accepted this particular unfairness a long time ago.

This wasn't really about learning to draw, any more than the long-ago sessions with Dean had been.

He sat patiently behind an easel, along with his younger children. Dora, of course, had been the first to come up with the idea; she'd admired Elhanan's drawings for quite some time, and her bedroom was decorated with them. John and Carina just relished the chance to tease her a bit, and had dressed up flamboyantly in clothes from Mum's old wardrobes, adopting exaggerated French accents that would make Fleur cringe if she happened to drop by (Victoire had just rolled her eyes and told them to get it out of their systems). Raymond, who actually had managed to inherit the talent somehow, was honestly interested in the subject, and Dora was interested in nearly anything diverting that happened to come her way.

Teddy was interested in the lesson itself. He held a charcoal stick loosely in his right hand, and waited.

Elhanan, quite a shy boy by nature, was standing behind his own easel, looking a little spooked.

"Well, get to it, then, El!" Dora called.

"Yes, we 'ave zee imboorrrdand seengs to do, you know," Carina said, and preened ostentatiously.

Teddy watched Elhanan quite carefully. First, the boy drew back even further, then, quite suddenly, his entire stance changed and he became more relaxed, easy even. He turned the easel around to show nine boxes--one seen head on, and the others seen from each other direction. "Well," he said, "as I think you need to get some perspective, let's try it out, shall we?"

Carina laughed. Dora's eyes twinkled, and Teddy suspected that she'd known exactly how this would play out.

Elhanan pulled himself up onto the high stool Teddy had put up front for him, and pointed his charcoal at the paper on the easel. "This is simple, one-point stuff. Anyone can do it."

"You haven't seen Dad try," John muttered.

"I promise, there's no one who can't do this." He tapped the center square, which was just a flat shape. "Do you see why all of these are different?"

"Different angles," Raymond said promptly.

"And?"

"And you can see the sides of the ones you're not looking right at."

"Exactly. What about the back of them."

"Well, they look smaller," Raymond said. "I've been working a bit on that, but I always get it a little off."

Elhanan shrugged. "Sometimes, it'll be a little off. But this is a really simple way to get a sense of things being even. One-point is for when you're looking straight at something--the vanishing point is in the center. All the lines go to the same place, you see?" He frowned, then shook his head. "Come on, draw some squares! You can't learn it if you don't do it! Just start off with the nine of them. There are some tougher tricks to do later--we can turn the blocks around and so on with two-point and multiple-point and foreshortening and lots of other things--but let's just pretend we're looking at some squares sticking out of a wall for now."

Teddy drew the nine squares, managing to make only four of them lopsided.

"All right, then, put a dot right in the center of the middle square. Just really lightly. All of your lines are going to focus in on that dot, but you want it to go away when we're finished with the drawing."

Carina tried a few, then tipped her head. "It works. Why does it work?"

"It's an illusion." Elhanan walked over and looked at her drawing with a critical eye. "I think magical people are so used to making things appear in a literal sense that we've forgotten a lot about just creating the illusion of reality. We're making the eye see a flat surface the way it would see a three dimensional one, just by playing with the angle of the lines. I know that the portraitists learn this stuff, but Hogwarts isn't very keen on teaching it to everyone. I wish they were. It's good stuff." He grinned. "Raymond, let's see."

Raymond turned his easel. Instead of boxes, he'd drawn stars, and his lines led into the center to make it look like they were bursting outward. "I thought I'd change it up a little," he said.

"You've got the hang of it." Gleefully, Elhanan went over to Dora's easel. "You need to stop thinking of the box literally. See, you're trying to make the sides the same size because that's what they are, but that's not how they look."

"So how they look is more important than what they are?"

"It's an art lesson," Carina said, "not a morals lesson."

Elhanan moved on to John's easel and made a few corrections, then came over to Teddy's. He seemed utterly unfazed at dealing with an adult. "Right, this isn't bad," he said. "Don't worry about the lopsided boxes, we'll get to accuracy later. The perspective is fine, though. Did you already know how to do it?"

Teddy had memories of Dad drawing, but had never really understood what he was doing with the angles. "Not really," he said.

"Well, you see, I told them you could learn..."

Teddy watched the rest of the lesson, drawing his boxes dutifully. He thought all of the children's looked better than his, but then, he generally stuck to stick figure drawings when it was absolutely necessary to have them. He rather enjoyed the idea that he'd mastered some minor technical skill... enough that he nearly forgot he was only learning it to see how Elhanan Matthews would teach. Which, he supposed, was the mark of a good teacher.

He wasn't entirely surprised.




The moment you've alluded to so much in ask-the-oc-sessions but never actually shown us yet: when Remus and Dora visit the Levinsons and Garveys as themselves, and tell them everything. I'd be especially interested in Miriam's reaction, as she was the one who had the most trouble with the memory charm in Shifts.
For Anonymous

---
Miriam and Anna were setting out the sandwiches when the door opened quickly and Alan Garvey blew in on the windy afternoon with two people under the guard of his umbrella. The door slammed shut, and Miriam was about to come out of the kitchen and admonish Alan for the hundredth time about slamming the door when she heard Joe say, "Lewis! Girls, get in here, Garvey's dragged in the Lewises!"

Miriam dropped the sandwich and looked across at Anna, who frowned and shook her head. A sudden forboding came on Miriam, and part of her wanted to scream, "No, send them away! Send them away before they change everything!"

But she didn't.

She led the way out into the living room, and found them huddled in the entrance, drenched and bedraggled. Her sense of forboding didn't ease--in fact, it heightened at the sight of them, though they didn't look particularly alarming--but it was overcome by a memory of the warm friendship they'd built in the year Raymond Lewis had taught at Smeltings, and some other thing, some connection she felt she had with them. She'd dreamed of them often in the year and a half since, and sometimes, it had been an odd dream, about being in a magical hospital where horrid things were being treated. In that dream they'd been a good deal younger.

"Look who I found rooting about for Dursley's belongings!" Alan said.

"Dudley's things?" Joe asked. "Where is he? What's happened? He was looking forward to this year on the team, and then he never showed up."

"Joe!" Miriam scolded. "For heaven's sake, they just appeared out of nowhere, and you're worrying about that Dursley boy?"

"Dudley's fine," Raymond said. "He's in a safe house."

This might as well have been spoken in some exotic foreign tongue, for all the sense it made... and yet, Miriam was somehow unsurprised. A part of her mind had been waiting for them to show up again, after all--to show up and say something that would change everything.

"Safe house?" Anna repeated.

The Lewises looked at one another, then Raymond did a strange thing. He reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a polished baton of light-colored wood. He tapped his head with it. His hair grew dark and dropped down to shoulder length. The wrinkles on his face faded. His skin grew more resilient-looking. He took off his glasses.

While they gaped, Dora--without the assistance of any polished baton--grew younger, impossibly young. Her gray hair shortened to a light brown bob, and her skin became clear and lovely. If Miriam hadn't seen her old and gray only moments before, she wouldn't have put her a day over twenty-five. Miriam knew this Dora. This Dora had walked in her dreams.

There was a crash as Anna sat down heavily and missed the chair. "What on Earth...?"

Dora ran over and helped her up. "I'm sorry, Anna. We had to do it that way, or you wouldn't have believed."

Anna got to her feet. "Well, it's certainly a conversation starter."

"It was real," Miriam said.

"How much do you remember?" Dora asked.

"Only bits and pieces."

"It's better that way."

Raymond shook his head. "This is crazy, Dora. We shouldn't be here. They have no business mixed up in this."

"I didn't give you a choice," Alan said.

Joe led them into the parlor. "I think you'd best explain yourself, Raymond."

Again, they looked at one another. Raymond sighed, and put his specs in his pocket. "My name is Remus Lupin," he said. "I'm a wizard. So is Dudley Dursley's cousin, and he was in a great deal of danger, so I was sent to Smeltings to protect Dudley from his enemies. The danger has escalated too far to do that again."

Anna sat down more carefully this time. Her jaw was tight. "So you disappeared and never wrote, and now you show up with this sort of story?"

Alan rolled his eyes. "Yes, my love, they made up the whole magic trick we just saw so that you wouldn't be angry about not getting any letters."

The corner of her mouth twitched, and she let out a short laugh. "Right. Of course." She looked at Dora. "So... are you even really Dora? Are you his wife?"

"I am now," she said, and held out her hand. Incredibly, she laughed. "And this is my first time introducing myself. I'm Dora Lupin. Pleased to meet you. Again."

"I gather that you're also a...?"

"Witch," Dora said. "Yes. Also a Metamorphmagus, which means I can change my appearance at will, though just now, I'm opting against changing my body too drastically." She patted her belly and smiled brilliantly.

"Hmph," Joe said. "I thought I remembered you taller."

Miriam slapped his shoulder. "Joe, she just said she's pregnant, and you're letting her stand here soaking wet! Get her a chair and some towels straightaway. And you!" She turned on Lupin. "Why are you dragging her about Smeltings?"

"Dragging her?" Lupin said. "I followed her there!"

"In the midst of some danger a boxer couldn't handle?" Miriam grabbed the tray of sandwiches from the table and set it down. "Child, you really must be more careful; it's not just your own skin you're watching. Now--what sort of danger is it, and how can we keep you out of it?"


11 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 13th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I adore the Smeltings teachers. Miriam is just precious - Now--what sort of danger is it, and how can we keep you out of it? That line just made me love her so very much.

As for Elhanan ... well, I'm not sure at which point I just started just seeing Remus there in the ficlet instead of him, but I gather that's the whole point of him being a reincarnation!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 13th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah! I love the Smeltings teachers stuff! I really, really hope you eventually go ahead with that 7th year fic. I'm especially eager to see how/if the Smeltings folks interact with the cubs, the wonderful OCs of the two wonderful fics coming together, at least momentarily, I would hope. Haha... of course I want you to finish Stray, too. Heck, I'd be ecstatic if you wrote a Remus/Dora/Sirius version of every book in the series, even the first three. Obviously any pre-PoA book from Sirius's POV wouldn't be all that interesting, but actually reading PoA from Lupin's POV would be cool. And both Dora and Lupin would be interesting for the first two. Naturally, their story would not be terribly likely to cross with the canon book too often, since Harry doesn't know about them yet, but I see possibilities, and it would be great just to see more of the friendship years of their relationship, and just... ah, I'm rambling. I just love your versions of the books so much--better than the books about Harry, if truth be told, so I'd love to see you rewrite the whole series. I'd print them out and put them on my shelf right next to the HP books.

- Severely Lupine
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: January 13th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the second one. The interactions of the teachers always make me giggle.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: January 13th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Reading that second one makes me yearn to go and read Shifts again! :) I very much hope you decide to write your seventh year fic - Safe, was it? - some day as I'd love to see that plot pan out, difficult as the end of such a fic could be. Mind you, if you wanted a positive spin for the ending, you could always combine elements from the two above and end it by showing Remus and Dora/Tonks moving on to Elhanan and Dora...:)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: January 13th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doubtless I'm biased, but I get a special enjoyment out of your most Lupinesque ficlets. It's reassuring to see that Remus's teaching skills crossed back over the Veil when he reincarnated, and the second fic with the Smeltings teachers finding out the truth was tantalizing and alarming at the same time.
From: kobegrace Date: January 13th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sigh*
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 13th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Miriam, you are such a sensible lady.

*snif*
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: January 14th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
"Now--what sort of danger is it, and how can we keep you out of it?"

Aw, Miriam, if only you knew... D'X
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 14th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't believe I had forgotten how much I love the Garveys and Levinsons.

And this...
"I am now," she said, and held out her hand. Incredibly, she laughed. "And this is my first time introducing myself. I'm Dora Lupin. Pleased to meet you. Again."
...was too perfect. I can totally see Tonks' grin as she says "I'm Dora Lupin."

The first story was sweet too, although it illustrates how odd it would be to see your father's soul in someone else's body. It's actually probably easier for Teddy in some ways than it might be for other children as he never really lived with his father. Hmm...

Continued thanks for all the wonderful Fern ficlets,

-Sqveege
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: January 14th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, I loved them! Of course, but the 2nd one felt to me as if it was something that in the actual story (if Safe ever happens that is) would take up probably a whole chapter, and was attempted to be squashed down into a ficlet. And it did feel sort of squashed down to me.

... *Shrugs*. Doesn't mean I didn't love it, and I'm still hoping for Safe over here. Mind you, after these ficlets are done I expect you'll want a long break of some sort, heh.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 14th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
(And the fans cheer the players on the field)

"Smeltings! Smeltings! Smeltings!"

You know, I never imagined I'd be doing that when the school first came up in book one (that's meant to sum up exactly how GREAT your writing is [and sum up my love for your Smeltings staff]).

Ellen
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