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Batch 36 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 36
Ron explains his broken leg and his new owl to his mother after PoA
For Anonymous

---
"It's a darling owl," Mum said as they loaded the taxi, "but where did it come from?"

Ron stopped, his hand partway to the trunk. This hadn't occurred to him on the train. There wasn't a chance that anyone would believe what happened, so they'd all agreed not to say anything about Sirius being free, but he did have an owl to explain. "Er..." he said.

"I gave it to him."

He looked up and saw Hermione coming over from where her parents were packing their car, looking sheepish. "As Crookshanks ate poor Scabbers"--she adopted a tragic pose--"I thought I owed him a pet, since it's... it's my fault he no longer has a rat." She smiled, as if this were the most brilliant thing she'd ever cribbed from a fugitive. Ron tried not to shudder at the idea that he'd let the "rat" sleep in his bed many times. He just hoped that Wormtail had never, ever decided to to transform back in the middle of the night.

"Really?" Mum said. "Well, that was very kind of you."

"Yeah," Ron said. "It was a surprise on the train. Just flew up with a note saying, 'Here you are, sorry about Scabbers.'"

"And Crookshanks doesn't seem to want to chase him," Hermione said, "so we don't have to worry about it happening again."

"Oh, I wouldn't say quite that much, dear," Mum said. "It is a little sort of owl, and it's still probably best to keep it away from a cat."

Ron shook his head. "No, really, Mum, I let Crookshanks give him a good sniff, and they seem fine with each other." He looked at Hermione, and she gave him a daft sort of conspiratorial grin. A confused little twist of warmth twirled around in his belly. He shook it off. "And an owl's a pretty useful pet, too. I'll be able to write to you."

As he expected, this pleased Mum enough to let the subject go.

"Hermione!" Mrs. Granger called. "We have to go, darling."

Hermione nodded and smiled at Ron again. "Well, I... I have to go."

"Right. I'll write to you."

"Yes, dear, you'll need to come for a visit," Mum said, and smiled in a way Ron didn't entirely care for.

Hermione nodded politely, said, "Well, goodbye, then," and went over to her parents.

"I think she's becoming a very pretty girl," Mum said significantly.

Ron watched her climb into her parents car. She looked the same as ever. "It's just Hermione," he said.

Mum nodded wisely, and Ron wondered what had got into her head. "Well, do you suppose you can carry your own trunk once we get to the Leaky Cauldron?"

"We're going there?"

"Yes, the taxi's a bit dear, so we'll just take it to a Floo point. But is your leg quite healed?"

"What? Oh, yeah, Madam Pomfrey fixed it right off."

"I still don't understand how you broke it. Professor Snape said it had something to do with that Sirius Black."

"Er... yeah. He... well, we... Er..." Ron frowned, wishing he could Curse Snape well and truly. "Right, Harry was following him, and we all went under the Whomping Willow, and my leg got broken."

"Professor Snape seemed to think it was deliberate."

This wasn't entirely untrue--Sirius had dragged him off so that Harry would follow--but Ron wasn't willing to give Snape any points. "Snape's a git," he said.

"He saved your life, Ron! You should be grateful. Not just from Black, but from the werewolf!"

"He was unconscious when Lupin turned. Lupin just went off after Black." A brilliant thought occurred to him, as long as he was flatly lying anyway. "If anything, Lupin saved me."

Mum didn't seem to know what to make of this. "Well," she said, "as long as you're all right, dear." She looked up, and let out an exasperated sound. "Fred! George! Put that away, right now!"

Ron took a deep breath, secured the little owl in the taxicab's back seat, and got in beside it, wondering just how long this story would hold up.




I'd like something with the old Black at Grimmauld Place. Maybe something where Sirius'generation were still little.
For Anonymous

I think I have the ages a little off. Adjust at will. ;p
---
The playroom at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, was a dreary affair, with ancient furniture that the Blacks had decided could be consigned to children and fussy toys that no one ever wanted to play with. There was an old china doll with curly hair that no one would dare touch because it might might break into powder, and a rubber ball that no one dared throw because it might hit a child or something of value. A cracked old wardrobe held "dress-up" clothes that no one would want to wear (and were fairly useless in a house occupied by boys). There was a trunk full of games that all seemed to be about defeating evil Muggles. The only vaguely amusing thing was a model of the Hogwarts Express, but that had been taken down to the parlor to travel around the base of the tree in a picturesque manner. Still, it was the only child's place in the house, and children, being children, found a way to use it.

Alphard Black kept himself amused at Christmas by watching his nieces and nephews instead of sitting in Walburga's joyless parlor and listening to them all prattle on about the horrors of Muggle influence on wizarding traditions. Bugga and Orion and Cygnus and Dru--and of course Mum and Dad--were all quite adamant on this subject. Alphard himself didn't have any great love of Muggle culture, and didn't understand why anyone would want to bring its pathologies into a place where they hadn't got yet, but he didn't think that increasing wizarding pathologies was a particularly good solution. Cygnus and Dru's eldest, Bellatrix, had recently taken to haunting the parlor instead of the playroom, for which Alphard was profoundly grateful, as Bella had grown up to be a pill.

This left Cygnus's other girls, Andromeda and Narcissa, and, a few year younger, Bugga's boys, Sirius and Regulus. Alphard liked all of them in their own ways, though Narcissa was spoiled and Regulus seemed to be developing the spine of a pile of wet newspaper.

Eleven-year-old Narcissa had got a new silver brush and comb for Christmas, and was playing in front of a mirror. She seemed to be some sort of princess. She'd been trying to get little Sirius to be her servant, but he was distinctly uninterested in her game.

"I want to play soldiers," Sirius declared, and marched around the room. "We're going off to war today. Come on, Reg."

"I don't want to," Regulus said.

"It doesn't matter." Sirius frowned gravely. "You have to be a soldier, because there is a war."

"I shall be a soldier, too," Andromeda declared, and picked up a toy wand. She was fourteen, and Alphard guessed she was nearing the end of her playroom days, though he devoutly hoped she wouldn't take to the parlor and its poison. "I shall defend my friends!"

"Hmph," Narcissa snorted.

"You think friends oughtn't be defended?" Andromeda asked.

"I think your friends are rubbish that ought to be thrown out," Narcissa said. "Mudbloods and blood traitors."

Andromeda made a great show of yawning. "Careful, Cissy, you're going to turn into Bella, and then I shall have to start getting into curse wars with you as well." She sighed. "It didn't turn out so well for Bella, you know. Green slime isn't a good look for her."

Apparently against her will, Narcissa smiled, then wiped the expression from her face impatiently. "Well, you didn't look wonderful with spikes on your face, either."

"Ha! I thought them quite useful."

"You had spikes on your face?" Sirius asked. "Could I have spikes?"

"I can't do magic out of school. Uncle Alphard, could you give Sirius spikes?"

Alphard obligingly did the spell, and Sirius ran to the mirror, delighted with his new look.

"Grr, I'm a monster! Grrr!" He posed fiercely.

Regulus toddled over. "Could I have a spell, Uncle Alphard?"

"What would you like?"

"I want to be older than Sirius."

"Well, that one, I can't do. Besides, being the youngest is much better. Ask Uncle Cygnus. They spoil you quite rotten."

"Oh." Regulus frowned. "Then could I have feathers?"

Alphard Transfigured his robe into a fine set of green feathers, and he began to flap around the room, making a sound that Alphard presumed was meant to be a bird call.

Alphard turned to Andromeda. "Green slime, eh?"

She nodded, smiling broadly. "I Transfigured her hair ribbons. It was quite a mess."

"Brilliant, I like it."

He sat back and watched the four of them for a while, all playing separate games, but not bothered by it, at least at the moment. As the sun set, Kreacher came up to tell them to get ready for supper, and looked so horrified at the state of the children that Regulus begged to have his clothes turned back so that Kreacher wouldn't cry. Alphard lined them up at the door, reversed all the spells he'd done and cleaned them up, and, once they were proper little swots again, followed them down to the dining room.


30 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 16th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Black family and house sound toxic, which I think is true to canon. It's amazing that a number of good people managed to survive their childhood and become adults who turned their backs on their family traditions. I enjoyed the view of Ron and Hermione. Ron is rather dim at this point, but in a lovable way!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
The real trick is then, after the rejection of the bad stuff, finding the good stuff and re-integrating it.

Ron and dim... kind of a redundancy at this point in his life, eh?
westingturtle From: westingturtle Date: January 16th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
"It doesn't matter." Sirius frowned gravely. "You have to be a soldier, because there is a war."


oh. Hugs Sirius and all the little children.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they need hugs.
alkari From: alkari Date: January 16th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hermione to the rescue (of course). Darlingly dim Ron, and marvellously matchmaking Molly!

Oh dear, the atmosphere in GP, though you do wonder whether their childhoods were quite as bad as that. I could see them having quite a lot of toys, though 'proper' wizarding ones. Loved your observation: Alphard liked all of them in their own ways, though Narcissa was spoiled and Regulus seemed to be developing the spine of a pile of wet newspaper.

And LOL at little Sirius wanting to be a soldier and not Narcissa's servant!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I go back and forth on the toy issue. I imagine that Alphard may be exaggerating the dreariness as an adult who has decided children ought to have different toys. They probably have quite a lot of old family toys that have been kept up.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 16th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Fern. I'm the one who requested the Ron and Pig one--this was quite different, and much more interesting, than I had imagined it. Next time you do a call I'll have to request Molly's finding out about Sirius and the rest of the story coming out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, glad you liked it. I hadn't really thought about the fact that they'd have explanations to make about Pig!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 16th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

m

these were both pretty funny, although the last in a rather strange way-
i like your alphard and his awareness of both muggle and wizard "pathologies"
and the first was very cute.
~m
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: m

Thanks.

Alphard's no saint, but I think he's pretty clear-eyed on a lot of things.
amamama From: amamama Date: January 17th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee... *is amused* And I'm quite happy to "finish" your writing. Again. :-) Hermione's explanation was brilliant, and Uncle Alphard is a gem. Good thing they had him, at least.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Despite Sirius's bellyaching, I'm guessing there was a solid handful of perfectly pleasant Blacks--they just all disappeared in Walburga's penumbra of vileness.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: January 17th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Ron lying to his mother is an EXCELLENT prompt. It's the little things that really make you wonder. He and Hermione did a good job concocting stories together. Molly is so much more perceptive than Ron is!

I love the little detail about Regulus's concern for Kreacher. You've captured all the children's personalities quite well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a feeling it didn't take Molly long to accept the new state of affairs once they were revealed--she's more perceptive than the kids give her credit for.
From: severely_lupine Date: January 17th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw, that first one was cute. And the line about Regulus and Kreacher was darling.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's odd to think of someone loving Kreacher enough to die for him, but apparently Regulus did. Props to Reg.
From: severely_lupine Date: January 18th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
No kidding. Makes me wonder what sort of person he'd have grown up to be if he'd had a proper home.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 17th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I'm the one who requested the second one. Loved it! A silver brush and comb seem to be perfect gifts for Narcissa, and I loved Andromeda's hexes to Bellatrix. Of course she's with the adults now, taking in all their crap. And Sirius and Regulus were lovely. That line about being soldiers in a war broke my heart, as did the line with Kreacher. I adored this, can't thank you enough!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: January 17th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Haha! Hermione saves Ron again with her quick thinking! Though cheers to Ron for saying Lupin saved them!

Alphard has such an interesting view of the children: "Regulus seemed to be developing the spine of a pile of wet newspaper." He's not really a neutral observer, but he's definitely more detached than, say, McGonagall would be.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey, as long as Ron is lying, he may as well come up with a good one!

What is the animal in your icon? I just can't tell for sure from the face. Kangaroo? Llama? (Not two animals I ever thought looked alike, and yet.)
chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: January 19th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Chris is a llama

The photo is of Chris the Llama. He's chewing hay, not his cud. I'm hoping to get a video someday of him chewing his cud; you can watch it ripple up and down his neck when he swallows!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 17th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Haha, good save, Hermione. Of course Ron at thirteen wouldn't have thought he'd have to answer those questions right away. And I adore how he resumed all his train of thought by saying "Snape's a git".

And Alphard views' on his nephews and nieces are quite interesting. I liked how so many of the things they did and said were so foretelling of their futures... their so tragically sad futures. Sigh.

But they were both very nice. I enjoyed them a lot.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I adore how he resumed all his train of thought by saying "Snape's a git".

Hee, doesn't that more or less explain everything?
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 17th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Eeeeeeew!

"He just hoped that Wormtail had never, ever decided to to transform back in the middle of the night."

That's a new one! Almost drives the picture of Hagrid's conception out of my mind...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Eeeeeeew!

Yeah. It's definitely a disturbing thought, that.
xtineebee From: xtineebee Date: January 17th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been loving all of these and dreadfully negligent in commenting. Sorry! Both of these are great; I love being reminded why I love Ron so much! And Alphard was a treat; poor little Regulus and his threatened spine.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think probably Alphard and Sirius expect "spine" to show up in a particular way, which really doesn't include Reg's personality. And yet, he must have something of a spine... he stood up to someone with as strong a personality as Sirius's, before finally telling Voldemort where to shove it.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: January 17th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Great stuff. Your Ron story was perfectly in charater.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I don't write much Ron, but I'm quite fond of him.
30 comments or Leave a comment