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Batch 41 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 41
Shifts-era Daniel Morse, with either mention of or appearance by Mr. Lewis.
For Anonymous

Daniel didn't particularly enjoy being at home when he was in the house. Mum insisted on fencing drills--she'd been a national champion as a girl--and Dad was endlessly pontificating on the politics of the Labour Party, where he was moving up nicely, despite, as far as Daniel could tell, having a distinct distaste for performing any sort of actual labor other than political maneuvering. His plan was to become an MP soon. That he wrote speeches extolling the virtue of the commoner while living on a large country estate was an irony that seemed entirely lost on him. Daniel was expected to stand with him for a few photos--tastefully posed in holiday milieux on the high street, Dad playing a father so delighted to see his only child after a term away at school that he was nearly bursting with it--but once that was finished, he was left to his own devices.

This was quite to Daniel's liking.

While the house wasn't his cup of tea at all, he had always loved the expansive grounds. As soon as he was free, he put on riding clothes and took his horse, Balius, out to the far, wild fields beyond the view of any of the windows. They jumped a few of the fences Dad had put up when he'd thought Daniel might make an equestrian team (Daniel still thought he could, but he'd performed disastrously at the try-outs), then Daniel dismounted, and they just walked along the fence. Balius seemed to be enjoying himself, stopping to sniff at various points, pawing at the mossy ground. Daniel let go of the reins and let him gallop free. He pulled himself up onto the fence to enjoy watching it.

This was his best place, the place where he was neither the butt of jokes at Smeltings nor the object of mournful, disappointed looks from his parents. Until this term, when he'd started visiting Mr. Lewis, Balius was the only creature he could talk to about most of the odd things that had crossed his mind. He thought Mr. Lewis might be insulted to be compared to a horse, but it didn't matter; it wasn't something he intended to say out loud to either of them.

"Are you going to ride again this summer?"

Daniel fell off the rail in surprise at the voice, but was able to catch himself with one arm so he didn't go completely arse over teakettle.

"Sorry," the other boy said. He was on his own horse--the ground was so soft and Daniel had been so deep in thought that he hadn't heard the approach--and dismounted to help Daniel up. "Thought you'd've heard me."

Daniel shook himself out and stood up. It was Justin Finch-Fletchley, whose family had taken the property next door four years ago. He went to some sort of fancy school up north, and Daniel didn't know much else about him. The Finch-Fletchleys generally kept to themselves. "I'm fine. Not very alert, but fine." Daniel smiled.

Justin nodded and pulled himself up onto the fence. He was three years older than Daniel, and had curly blond hair that probably got him beaten up at least once a month, if his school was anything like Smeltings. "I saw you jumping while I was coming across the field. Good form."

"Thanks. Does your school have an equestrian team?"

Justin laughed, and Daniel guessed it was a rather silly question. Most schools didn't. "No. No equestrian team. Yours?"

"No. I'm on the fencing team."

"Fencing's good. I wouldn't mind learning to fence."

This seemed an odd conversation, and Daniel wasn't sure what to say, so he fell back on the standards. "Are you in any clubs?"

"Just one," Justin said. "I joined it this year."

"What sort of club?"

An odd look crossed Justin's face. "It's a study club," he said. "We have one teacher who's absolute rubbish, and one of the other students started a group to get us ready for... exams."

"I would have thought all of your teachers would be good."

"Oh, this one's a piece of work," Justin said. "For two years, we had decent teachers--we have a hard time holding onto them in this post--and now, we're stuck with a woman who doesn't even understand the point of it." He sighed. "Two years ago, we had the best teacher I've ever had. He always listened to us, and gave us a lot of practical assignments, and let us come to his office to talk."

"I have one like that," Daniel said. "Mr. Lewis. He came this year for history. I go to his office all the time. He's even admitted sometimes that something I learned is something he didn't know!"

"Imagine that."

"Well," Daniel said, trying to tone down his enthusiasm (he'd got quite enough trouble over it at school), "he's very good, anyway. I think he's just covering until Mr. Levinson is feeling better, so I guess it wouldn't be right to hope he stays, but I'd really like it if he did. Why did yours leave?"

Justin thought about this longer than it really should have taken, then said, "Well, he was ill."


"It was... well, it was a mind illness. Something like schizophrenia. He was fine on his medications, but the parents were all obsessed with the idea that he might forget to take them. Stupid. Best teacher we had, and they're worried because he has the mental equivalent of asthsma. Well, maybe something a little more serious, but still. I don't think they should be allowed to sack people for that."

"I agree," Daniel said emphatically. "The way we treat the mentally ill is horrible. I've read about it. A lot of it is just misfiring chemicals in the brain. You take care of it, and they're fine as paint. Silly to lose a good teacher over that." He thought about it. "Of course, I reckon my parents would be at the top of the petition."

"Mine weren't, thank God," Justin said, then added, "My mum's a psychiatrist. She put in a letter to the Governors, supporting him. Unfortunately, they ignored her, because she's a--" He stopped. "Because she's a behaviorist," he finished. "I think they're all Freudians."

"That's too bad," Daniel said.

Justin sighed. "Yeah. Well, I just saw you riding and thought I'd come out to talk. Some friends from school are coming by this afternoon. You could join us if you'd like. We were going to watch the Indiana Jones movies. They've never seen them."



"Wow. I didn't think that was even possible." Daniel shook his head. "I'd best get back home, though. Mum wants to practice with the epee, and Dad might be having the mayor over."

"All right," Justin said. "But if you change your mind..."

Daniel nodded. "Balius and I can just jump the fence."

"Any time you'd like."

Could you do the POA Shrieking Shack from a Sirius and/or Remus POV? If not maybe something with the Marauders, or some early Andromeda/Ted.
For Leah

I think I'll vary it a little, rather than doing an alternate POV on the scene.
Sirius had got used to the hippogriff very quickly, and would have been enjoying the ride if it weren't an escape from his last chance at clearing his name. Damn Wormtail.

Though at least Wormtail's actions made sense--he was trying to save his own skin. If someone were to be damned, Sirius thought, it ought to be Snivellus, who was so wrapped up in licking his own wounds that he wouldn't listen to anyone, and had managed to spin a story that would make anything the witnesses said suspect.

And of course, damn the full moon. Lupin would unquestionably be blaming himself for it in the morning, but he'd had no control over when all of it had happened. One day in either direction, and everything would have been fine. Not that they'd have believed him, of course, but they'd have all been able to bring Wormtail in, and that would have been enough to re-examine the evidence.

Well, Sirius thought, as long as I'm damning, damn my own judgment for picking that day, and not going straight to Dumbledore when I escaped, and, for that matter, being too clever by half back when we were doing the Fidelius Charm.

It was a gray, drizzly dawn when he found an isolated enough patch of land--a rocky island off the west coast that seemed uninhabited, except for a guest cabin that looked about as welcoming as Mum hosting a Muggle-born reunion. It was currently unoccupied, and Sirius came down to land. He went to the cabin and led Buckbeak straight inside. Someone had knocked the door off its hinges in the past, and no one had ever repaired it. Sirius guessed that it wasn't one of its owner's bigger moneymaking properties.

He reached for his wand to do security spells to hide himself, then remembered that he was wandless again. Strange how quickly the habit of having it in his hand had come back when he'd borrowed one last night. But it was gone, and all he could do was trust his luck. He didn't know how he meant to escape with a hippogriff when he couldn't even Disillusion either of them, but at least he wasn't in Azkaban. At least he was free.

He found a scratchy old blanket and threw it over Buckbeak, then lay down on the old, broken sofa. He'd been awake for nearly two days, and sleep took him like a drunken barfly.

He awoke an unknowable amount of time later, to the sound of crackling flames and the smell of bacon and eggs. He opened his eyes.

Dumbledore was crouched by the fire, making breakfast. Lupin was sitting in a high backed chair, wrapped in a Conjured purple blanket. His eyes looked sunken, and a nasty gash ran across the side of his neck.

"Ah, Sirius," Dumbledore said. "I see you're with us again."

"I'm sorry," Lupin said. "I should have taken the Wolfsbane."

Sirius sat up and rubbed his face vigorously. "How did I know those would be the first words out of your mouth? The Wolfsbane wouldn't have stopped you transforming, and I'm the one who picked the time." He considered it. "Actually, I'm not. That was the Ministry, putting out a hit on a hippogriff. If they hadn't done that, we might have found Peter a good deal later, and everything would have been fine. So stop beating yourself up. You're in bad enough shape as it is."

"I turned in my resignation," Remus said.

Sirius felt his jaw drop, and he turned on Dumbledore. "You're not going to accept it, are you?"

"I am," Dumbledore said.

"The letters have started coming," Remus explained.

"I have ignored letters in the past," Dumbledore said, "and I expect to ignore them in the future. But your reasoning is sound, and, furthermore, the scrutiny you would be under at Hogwarts, with your condition known, would make it quite difficult for you to function as you'll need to until we have this unfortunate business sorted out. I've found you a post in the Orkneys, on the condition that you expel a Hogboon, and--"

"Wait a minute," Sirius said. "You can't seriously expect him to leave a decent post and take up some hellish outpost--"

"Yes, he can," Remus interrupted. "I put the students in danger."

"I put the students in danger," Sirius said. "And Snape's a goddamned Death Eater, not to mention a wretched teacher. And shall we start in on Hagrid?"

"Sirius, it's done," Remus said. "It's over. Job's ruined anyway. I'd never spend another day at Hogwarts without the students looking at me like I might explode at any moment. It isn't conducive to effective teaching."

"Rubbish," Dumbledore said. "When all of this is over, I will find you a teaching job. Somehow. But right now, I need you to keep a lower profile. Sirius will need a safe connection to us."

"I'd be the first person they'd suspect," Remus said.

"Not if Sirius comes and goes as a dog." Dumbledore finished cooking and sent plates of food flying out. "Now, I must return to Hogwarts. Remus, take care of the arrangements."

Remus nodded. Dumbledore turned on his heel and Disapparated.

Sirius got up and took the other chair, so that he and Remus were on opposite sides of the fire. "Stop blaming yourself, Moony," he said. "Of the lot of us, you're least to blame."

"Except for James."

"Right." Sirius stared into the flames, then said, "No. Do you know something, Remus? James never for an instant believed you were the leak. Never. But he went along with my scheme anyway."

Remus didn't answer. He just reached down and picked up his old briefcase, the battered thing his parents had given him when he'd decided to become a teacher. In great hopes of success, they'd had it personalized to "Professor R.J. Lupin." He put it on his lap and opened it. Class notes fell out haphazardly, and he stared at them for a long time, then closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Gathering himself, he moved aside a pile of quills and pulled out an old wand in a holster. "You'll need this," he said. "It's my father's."

"I couldn't--"

"Yes, you could." He pressed it on Sirius, who finally took it. "Dad was nothing like you, and I don't know how good a match his wand will be, but you should at least be able to Disillusion yourself and Buckbeak."

Sirius frowned at it, and memories of John Lupin, a kindly and soft-spoken man who'd always been as generous as he could be with Sirius, flitted through his mind. He put the holster on his belt. "Thank you."

"Mum's was buried with her," Remus said. "It might have been a better match. I kept Dad's because... well, there was so little left by then. Don't let anything happen to it."

"I'll be careful."

They were quiet for a while, then Remus detached his old leather wallet, and pushed it over. "It's not much," he said.

"And I'm not taking it."

"You need to get things. Dumbledore's going to arrange for some gold for you as soon as he can, but you'll need new clothes, and you'll need to hire a post owl and get some parchment."


"Harry. He'll need to know you're all right."

"Of course, but I thought I'd just go find him, and--"

"And get yourself arrested again, and possibly fed to the Dementors?" Remus shook his head. "They'll be watching Harry. He won't stop saying that you're innocent. Send an owl, Padfoot."

Sirius thought of his godson, who he'd planned to make a home for, and again damned Wormtail, without whom Harry would have had a home all along. And Snivellus, because Snivellus deserved a great deal of damning. "Fine."

Remus twitched his wand, and a basket of food appeared. "This should be enough to keep you going. Make sure you leave enough to Duplicate, at least until the real bit rots. By then, Dumbledore will have figured out the gold situation."

"I hope so."

Remus got up and went to the broken door. He started to go outside--Sirius guessed he'd taken a broomstick, as he was never in good enough shape to Disapparate the morning after--but stopped at the door and turned around. "We'll get things worked out, Sirius. One way or another."

Sirius had his doubts, but was grateful for the thought. He smiled.

Remus smiled back, then left Sirius alone on the run.

29 comments or Leave a comment
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 25th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if some day they'll know they were talking about the same man. Maybe they will, since Daniel married into his circle.

Ooohh, poor Sirius. All those regrets... *hugs*

(First? Yay!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 25th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they'll figure it out eventually. :)

Sirius really did get a lousy rap. I don't care whose side Snape was on, that was petty and vindictive, and probably prolonged the war by a good deal of time.
From: spitc1899 Date: January 25th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love - everything. Particularly the first one. And is Justin one of the muggle-borns that goes through Smeltings during Safe? If so, they would know a lot sooner that they were talking about the same man.

The second is wonderful, as well, just so sad. It always did bother me a bit that Dumbledore didn't refuse his resignation. Granted, Dumbledore knows for sure that jinx on the position is more than just a rumor, but still . . .
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 25th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Maybe Justin did Smeltings. He's scholastically oriented and might well have wanted some sort of seventh year.

I always felt Dumbledore's acceptance of the resignation needed more explanation than it got, especially in light of the following year, when Hagrid--a bad teacher who actually did crazy and dangerous things with his students--tried to resign and was refused.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: January 25th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness. Please write some more with Justin and Daniel (sometime), that was just delightful!

*grin* The second one made me smile. Despite all the troubles, Remus and Sirius are able to start patching things up. Awww!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, we know they do eventually patch things up to an extent!
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: January 25th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Because she's a behaviorist," he finished. "I think they're all Freudians."

I'm currently taking a Theory of Counselling course that has a strong Neoanalytical bias, where evidence based practise is a category of study instead of a basic standard, and this CRACKED me because god it is true. It's tough to be a Cog-Behaviourist in a Freudian world (thankfully the rest of university is a pretty damn empirically evidence based place)

What a cover story!

Also, Dumbledore taking care of things makes me very very happy, especially.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, psychology. What is there to say? :)
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: January 25th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The whole Justin and Daniel dynamic was awesome. I totally wasn't expecting that, but it just makes so much sense. I hope you write more of it in the future.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I knew I wanted him to talk to another of Remus's students, but I was flummoxed on which one until I remembered... hey, Justin's supposed to rich, and would fit in with the Morses' society...
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the fic! I like this as a bridge between POA and Stray, especially in terms of Sirius and Remus getting past everything that happened. And Daniel and Justin both talking about Lupin made me laugh--it would definitely be awesome to see them together in Safe.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it! I thought about just doing an alternate PoV, but there's so much dialogue in that scene that it would practically just be typing it out!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 26th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Both these are great. Daniel and Justin would make good friends, so I hope that they take advantage of the geographic proximity. It would be wonderful if they discover later that they already have at least one other tie.

Sirius seems better here at logical thinking than sometimes in the books, except, of course, for his extreme dislike of Snape. Poor Remus -- despite his culpability, it makes me sad that he had to leave a job he was so well suited for. But at least he and Sirius are on their way to reviving their friendship.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus was certainly culpable, but Dumbledore is so forgiving of culpability in others that I think it needed more explanation than it got.

Daniel and Justin are pretty similar in a lot of ways, I think.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 26th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
That first one! Ah, it deserves more exclamation points. I'm just so tickled that Justin and Daniel are both talking about Remus but neither of them know it. Still, they'll find out eventually, I suppose.

I can really see those two as friends. I like the idea of Daniel having more independent connections to the wizarding world than just through Remus and Cho.

Loved the second ficlet too, but Daniel really has to be my favourite of your OCs. (Though he has to tussle a bit with Ruthless for the spot at times. :P)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I think they would be friends, though I never thought of it until I sat down to write this and was trying to figure out which of Remus's students Daniel might have contact with.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Agh, no he's not Conjuring food! (Gamp's Law.) He's doing whatever it was Dumbledore did at the beginning of HBP, when he made tea appear at the Dursleys and start batting at them, or McGonagall did in CoS, when she made the sandwiches appear for Ron and Harry. I'd guess it's some kind of long distance Summoning spell.

it meant that sleep took him as a drunken barfly might... take him. It was very disturbing

Eh... this is sort of what I meant by it, actually.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: January 26th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Daniel! And Justin!! I think I love you. ♥
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
They seem to be a hit. I wasn't at all sure which kid to use--glad I picked Justin!
snuggle_muggle From: snuggle_muggle Date: January 26th, 2009 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Fern, I have been reading your stories for years now and love your challenge calls. I keep an eagle eye out for those that are canon-compliant, and the second I see one, I hurry and post a rec at hpmssgmoments, my LJ community for canon-based fan fiction. This one about Sirius' escape is just wonderful and I've gotten the link up there for the next newsletter. Please feel free to come over and take a look at what we are doing and your entry (posted under "New-Found Family"). We are a small group at the moment, but we hope to get your story some new readers and some new reviews as we grow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll drop by. :) Thanks.
snuggle_muggle From: snuggle_muggle Date: January 26th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd love it if you would, but be forewarned that the newsletter actually rec'ing your story probably won't be up for a day or so. It's a long slow process to get it posted. But feel free to look at the other stories until then. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 27th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link to the rec site. There's so much out there, that it's hard to know where to find good stuff!

From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I really liked Daniel and Justin, although I found myself thinking Justin probably meant manic-depression (much higher rate of successful treatment with medication, I understand). Although he probably meant schizophrenia in the layman's sense of split personality, which is really a different condition.

I know, I know, I'm the kind of uptight person who keeps trying to find a perfect metaphor for werewolves.

I also have a completely irrational fear of dogs that I think keeps spilling over onto my analysis. I've been known to freeze up around helpless puppies when they start yipping. It may give me more respect than I should have for some of the irrational fears associated with werewolves. It's difficult to freak out over miniature poodles and then hold it against someone who's afraid of something that actually _could_ eat them.

I do know I would sooner seek psychological help on this issue from anyone besides a Freudian, though.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 26th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think about these things to. There's actually a psychological disorder called lycanthropy, which involves the delusion that one is a wolf, therefore putting it more in the schizotypal family, but yeah, it doesn't fit anything exactly... though the treatment of werewolves reminds me a lot of the treatment of the mentally ill. Justin, I think, is just talking quickly to get out of naming an actual disease. ;p
mint_green From: mint_green Date: January 26th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Awww, Daniel. I love Daniel. And I especially like Justin's secret code. All Freudians indeed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 27th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes a ten-inch magic wand is just a ten-inch magic wand.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
These were great!
If I may do some nitpicking on the second ficlet, though... In GoF, in the cave outside Hogsmeade, Sirius had no information to share with Harry to confirm or deny whether Snape had ever been a Death Eater; Sirius also said he didn't think Dumbledore would have knowingly hired a Death Eater, thus indicating that he (Sirius) didn't suspect Snape of being a DE at this point. So in your ficlet, Sirius shouldn't have been able to use this argument in favor of Remus's staying at Hogwarts. ;-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 26th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The second one made me sniffle, but the first one... oh, just too lovely! Much delighted giggling.

~Hermione Stranger, wishing she had something more intelligent to say~
29 comments or Leave a comment