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Batch 56 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Batch 56
I'd love to see a post DH Ron and Hermione with Hermione's parents - how did they take being sent to Australia? What do they think of things, esp their little girl now that they are back?
for Anon

---
"I couldn't have sent them to Sydney?" Hermione muttered. "Or Melbourne? Even Perth! Oh, for heaven's sake, what was I thinking? Dwellingup? Population five hundred? They've got to be bored out of their minds."

Ron followed her down River Road, enjoying the exercise, though it was a bit cold for a walk in July in southern Australia. "I reckon you thought no one would look here."

"Mad," Hermione said. "Newcomers in a tiny population stick out a lot more than they would have in a city. A city in the east would have been even better, people come and go from there all the time. Oh, Mum's going to be furious, if she's not already on a plane back to London."

"She wouldn't do that!" Ron said. "You sent an owl saying we were coming. Didn't you?"

"I used the telephone, Ron."

"Oh. Well, were they angry then?"

"They didn't say anything, but just look! We're in the middle of Western Australian nowhere! They're both Londoners, for God's sake. Three generations on each side!"

"Pure-bloods?" Ron asked, grinning.

Hermione stopped and looked over her shoulder at him, cutely vexed. He fought an urge to go up and kiss her nose, and won... barely. "I think we've had quite enough of that word this year without joking about it."

"How many pure-bloods does it take to--"

"Ronald!" She shook her head. "And you are pure-blood."

"You should hear Fleur's collection of French jokes."

Hermione rolled her eyes and started walking again. They came around a bend in the road, and a little wooden fence appeared. There was a gate a few yards up, and little sign that said, "The Grangers, Dental Surgery and First Aid." Hermione stopped and blinked. "First aid?"

The door of the little house burst open, and Mrs Granger ran outside. "You've made it! Oh, Hermione! I'm so glad to see you!" She grasped Hermione in a great bear hug, then called over her shoulder, "They're here, darling!" She turned back to Hermione and ran her hands frantically over her hair. "Oh, I'm glad you Obliviated us for the year, I couldn't have stood thinking of you in danger, but that was high-handed, and how dare you, and oh, goodness, you're here!" She hugged her again. Hermione looked quite lost.

Mr. Granger appeared then. He didn't run, but he certainly walked quickly. He was all smiles, and added to the hugging. Hermione looked entirely baffled.

"I'm sorry," she said when she extricated herself. "I... that is, Ron and I... we Apparated a bit further away than we'd thought--it's tricky at such a distance, when you don't know where you're going, so we've been walking..." She frowned. "I didn't realize how small it was here. I just remembered you saying that you'd like to go to Australia, so I looked for a little house we could afford without much of a paper trail..."

"Nonsense!" Mr. Granger said. "Good for the heart out here. Clean air, lots of exercise."

"And there's a bush camp near here," Mrs. Granger added. "We were hired on for first aid in the off-season, and people have been coming to us generally. Do you know, I repaired a dog's broken tooth. Quite interesting!" She noticed Ron for the first time. "Oh, Ron Weasley. I'm glad to see you as well. Obviously not as glad as I am to see Hermione, but... oh, do come in."

Ron and Hermione followed the Grangers into their little house. Hermione scanned it eagerly and looked disappointed, and Ron realized she'd been looking for the signs of her own life, which of course, she hadn't sent down here with them while they were under a memory blocking spell. He put his hand on her shoulder, and looked to the Grangers.

"I reckon you'd like to get back to your things in London."

Hermione smiled. "Yes, I went by the house. I'd done a hiding spell on it, and it held. Everything's in one piece."

"Oh, I'm so glad to hear that," Mrs. Granger said. "I want our photographs, and the videotape of your dance recital, and all of your prizes from primary school."

"We can get you back right away," Hermione said. "I think we can find a buyer--" She paused as her parents looked at one another. "What is it?"

"Well, dear," Mr. Granger said, "you see, we--"

"What you're father is saying is--" Mrs. Granger looked at her husband, who nodded. "We rather like it here," she finished. "We'd like to stay. We'd like your things of course--your awards and such, as I said. But..."

Mr. Granger sighed. "In London, we were one surgery among a thousand. We could specialize in putting caps on teeth and make a decent living at it. But here..."

"Here, there's no one else to do these things. They had a dentist a few years back, but he got a good offer in Perth, and they were taking a very long trip to see him, and they were all so glad to have us."

Hermione was taken aback. "But the house... in London... all the things you like to do... plays, ballets, museums..."

"Oh, we can make special arrangements to go into the city for such special things," Mr. Granger said. "It's not the Dark Ages, you know, and we do own a car."

"But you're so far away... And I don't... well, I suppose I could..." Hermione looked at Ron, started to ask, "Would you..." then thought better of it and said, "I think there's a sizable wizarding community in Perth, and perhaps I could--"

"Why on Earth would you want to go to Perth?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Mrs. Weasley sent us a much longer letter than you did, and it seems to me that you're more needed in England, and with everything you've done, you should have a tidy career there."

"But--"

"Darling, you don't need to stay with us. You're an adult. We trust that you'll come see us, and perhaps help us come see you. This... what is it you did to get here?"

"Apparition," Hermione said.

"Yes, Apparition. You could visit that way, or through the fireplace, if we can arrange it."

"We could use Apparition points," Ron said, and felt himself blush. "Er, I mean you could use them. And then Floo inside the country. Shouldn't be too expensive."

"I never thought of that," Hermione said.

"Are you terribly upset, darling?" Mrs. Granger asked.

Hermione looked deflated, but her shoulders had also risen almost imperceptibly. Ron knew that she'd been worried about how to fit her life with her parents into her new world, and this would make it rather tidy--she would see them specially, and it would be a grand affair, but there would be nothing to explain to their neighbors, because their neighbors would never chance to see Hermione doing anything inexplicable. She took a deep breath. "Well... if this is what you want... I can start bringing things here right away. And I'll take care of selling the London house..."





(Replacement on request)
I was rereading DM, and it struck me once again that it's about time somebody got around to firing Bins, as he can't teach at all...the idea of a ghost teaching a class! And then I thought, if a ghost can do it for so many years, why not a portrait? They could get him an extra frame in the classroom, and at the end of the day he could go back to the Roost and his Dora. And he could write out and mark assignments using one of those quills Finias used to write Teddy's letter. (Can you tell I've thought fartoo much about this?)
So, in short, my idea is portrait! Remus teaching history of magic. I'd leave the subject open, but I figure that would be easier for a portrait to teach, since it's all theory.

for Anon

---
There'd been a family meeting on the subject as soon as James had brought it up.

"Leave it to the Board of Governors," he'd said, "to decide in the middle of a school year that they just can't abide the situation for one more term."

"Honoria Atkinson's been agitating for about fifteen years," Teddy said.

James nodded. "Exactly. It's not like it came up suddenly. Couldn't they have made the call over summer hols?"

"Well, I suppose..." Harry shrugged. "I don't know about this, James. Why did you bring it up?"

"Just a conversation in the staff room. I meant it as a joke at first, but Neville thinks it's a grand idea, if you're willing."

Harry looked at Teddy. "What do you think? It was a gift from you, and it was meant to keep us in touch."

Teddy bit his lip thoughtfully. "I'm not anticipating another quarantine, but I gave you the portrait because... well, I thought you'd like to have them around."

"He does," James said. "Chats with them all the time. And it's not forever, just until the end of the school year. I'm sure we'll find someone else by then. In the meantime, you can spy on Mira." He grinned.

After that, it had faded into some jokes about the Marauders trying to serve as parental spies--they all agreed that Mira was more likely to report on them--and by the end of it, somehow, they'd agreed. Dad's portrait of Granddad, Sirius, and Remus would take its place in the History of Magic Classroom. Granddad and Sirius could do whatever they pleased, but Remus Lupin, at long last, would be teaching at Hogwarts again. Despite giving up the pleasure of the portrait's company, Dad seemed very happy about this outcome, and Teddy was pleased as well. ("I'm always worried about the portraits being happy," he said, "and I can't think of anything that would make this one any happier. Can't wait for him to come back to my portrait and tell me about it.")

The first three days of classes, James didn't have a free period at the time of any History of Magic class, but on Thursday, there was finally a moment when they didn't overlap. He'd been hearing his students talking all week about the portrait-taught class, and how much better it was than Binns, but he didn't really have an idea of how the thing would be taught, so he slipped in quietly a few seconds after the bell rang, and sat in the back row behind the first year Hufflepuffs. Mira Lupin saw him over her shoulder and smiled, then turned her attention back to her grandfather, who was sitting in the foreground of the portrait, in front of Sirius's motorbike. Granddad and Sirius were off somewhere else (James hoped it wasn't with Sir Cadogan again; they'd managed to get him a bit of trouble on Monday).

"...so," Lupin was saying, "during the Founders' time, there was a reason to be leery of accepting Muggle-born students. It wasn't just question of possible betrayal, but a real challenge to the entire political structure in Muggle Britain. Lords were not terribly fond of losing their serfs, and as there are always more paupers than lords, that meant that there were more serfs with magical talent than nobles. Salazar Slytherin argued that, even if Gryffindor insisted upon educating Muggle-borns, they should follow the custom of the surrounding land and pay for serfs they took, if they meant to keep them from working the land."

A boy in the second row--Calvin Tribb--raised his hand. "Couldn't they have just... Oblviated the lords and made them forget about the serfs that went? Wasn't that before the Statute of Secrecy?"

"Well, they could have. But Gryffindor opposed that as well, much to the frustration of Ravenclaw and Slytherin."

"What about Hufflepuff?" Mira asked.

"Helga Hufflepuff was never a great proponent of Obliviating Muggles," Lupin said. "Try running that by your elder Housemates. I suspect they'll have a good deal to say about it." He smiled fondly, and James supposed that Teddy's Hufflepuff mother had, in fact, had a good deal to say on the subject. She had, after all, recruited a good number of Muggles to help in the war.

"So you're saying they were right?" Calvin asked, astounded. "But you... I mean, in the war, you--"

"I'm not saying they were right at all," Lupin said calmly. "There's a difference between having a reason and being right. It's important to understand how the prejudice started, and why perfectly reasonable people adopted it, if you're going to understand how it functioned later. The wizarding community went from having quite legitimate concerns about the political and social effects of accepting Muggle-borns, to resenting the precautions they had to take--particularly after the Statute of Secrecy passed--to finally loathing them. It became a part of the culture. Not pretty at all, but important to understand, if you mean to see to it that it doesn't happen again."

"How could it?" Mira asked. "We know better. We lost a lot." She looked at him significantly.

He smiled back at her. "Thank you for the remembrance," he said.

"The pure-bloods best not start any trouble," Calvin said. "We'll fix them again, if we have to."

Lupin raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?"

"Yeah."

"They can certainly be dangerous. All of those toxic attitudes they have. If we're not careful, they'll take over."

"Yes!" Calvin said, excited. "That's just so. We have to watch out!"

"Constant vigilance," Lupin agreed mildly.

"They want to take over again."

"And they have to be stopped?" Lupin asked.

The interrogative was followed by awkward silence.

"Er..." Calvin said.

Lupin smiled. "I'm sorry, Calvin. I oughtn't have made an example of you, but it's important to understand where this sort of thing comes from..."

James sat back, his ankles crossed, and listened as the class went on.





I know you don`t like Snape, but you write him very well (maybe because of it). Something about Snape? (as an adult, not Hogwarts pupil)
for prelud

---
Severus Snape had never been particularly welcomed among his mother's pure-blood kin, but neither had he been wholly rejected due to his bloodline. The Princes were not the Blacks or Malfoys, and did not write out members of the family over such trifling matters.

They simply didn't and had never particularly liked Severus. Eileen Prince had never been a family favorite, either, as far as Severus knew--despite her misery with Father, she'd never, apparently entertained the notion that she might return to the family of her birth, nor had anyone, with the exception of her brother Michael, ever been to Spinner's End. Michael had shown up in a rush of finery that had greatly impressed Severus at the impressionable age of five, but Mother had accused him of amassing ill-gotten gains in the gambling market, and he had accused her of being a plain little mouse-fart (Severus never forgot the epithet) who could do no better than a laborer for a husband. They had fought every bit as loudly as Mother and Father did, and Severus did what he generally did when voices were raised--he retreated to his bedroom and stared at the cracks in the ceiling. At some point later on, the screaming had stopped. Uncle Michael had come to his door and opened to look in. He examined Severus with the interest of a scientist studying a bit of algae, then said, "I see you have Eileen's effervescent personality." After that, he'd left, and hadn't come back. He had left Severus a fine leather-bound book of children's history, though, and Severus absorbed it eagerly, as he absorbed all of his books. There was a great deal in it about the crassness of Muggles, which he found confirmed in Father's boorish behavior every day. He determined that he would not be thought of as common.

This ambition, of course, had been dashed the first time his Hogwarts classmates heard him speak, and his class standing became obvious. Other students mocked his accent, and eventually, he'd fallen into taciturn silence, waiting until he was alone to practice his vowels and separate himself further from Father (to separate himself from Mother, he simply refused to raise his voice in any circumstance). By the time he'd reached fifth year, he'd mastered speaking like the rich boys, but he'd already developed a reputation for being an odd duck who preferred his own company to that of others. Lily Evans had told him several times that he needn't do this, but then, Lily was popular and well-liked by everyone, and, more to the point, had a perfectly normal middle class accent to begin with. It had been all well and good for her to advise him not to "fake a history," but she didn't suffer through the mockings of the man she would eventually marry, or any of the others (and it had hardly stopped with James Potter's little group). Lucius Malfoy had at least taken the time to tutor him and guide him, and for that, Severus would be grateful until the end of his days. Whatever else Lucius had got him into, he had made it possible for Severus Snape to function outside the miserable neighborhood of Spinner's End without anyone snickering behind his hand at the laborer's son with pretensions of intelligence. Severus had never been entirely sure what prompted him to do it.

Whatever it was, it had served him well, Severus reflected as he made his way up to the Princes' plot at the Black Country cemetery where all of the local witches and wizards had been buried (with the exception of Mother, of course; she'd been buried with Father in the Snapes' Muggle plot, and Severus imagined them lying beneath the ground and screaming at one another at the top of their lungs for all eternity). Already, he could see Michael Prince standing at the grave, black robes dragging in the mud, gray hair lying listlessly on his shoulders. Severus came up behind him.

"You're a bit late," Michael said.

"I'm afraid your message arrived during classes. I could hardly take leave of my students so close to N.E.W.T.s."

Michael narrowed his eyes. "I somehow doubt that your students are a great concern of yours."

This wasn't at all true--the performance of the students was the only measurement he could be judged by. He didn't care if they liked him, and had no intention of becoming a kindly and dotty old Master that everyone remembered with great love, but he certainly cared how their performance in Potions reflected on him. He carefully weeded out all the weak students before N.E.W.T. level classes began. He wouldn't have them impugning his reputation by doing badly. But this wasn't for Michael. "I presume there was some sort of message for me?" He looked at the fresh grave.

"My father," Michael said, stressing the possessive, "wished to have seen you before he died. He regretted losing touch with Eileen, for whatever reason."

"Presumably, he had some sentimental attachment to his own daughter," Severus said.

"And apparently to you." Michael waved his wand, and a large chest appeared. "Four thousand Galleons," he said. "He left a similar amount to his other grandchildren, and didn't want you to be excluded. My children, and your other cousins, all wondered where you were--and who you were--during the reading of the will."

Severus opened the chest and looked at the gold. He had no identifiable feeling about it. "Did you enlighten them?" he asked.

"I told them that my sister had married late, and they had a younger cousin. They wanted to know why they'd never met you."

"And?"

"And I told them that Eileen didn't care to visit." Michael walked to the gravestone, then turned and sat down on it. "I've heard rumors, Severus. Not simply rumors. I sat at the trial before the Wizengamot of one Igor Karkarov..."

"I don't wish to discuss it. It's in the past."

"I shared the information with your grandfather before he died. He insisted that you should be included anyway."

"That was, presumably, his choice. Would you prefer I stomped away like a child and refused the inheritance?"

Michael considered this, then smiled and shook his head. "The Princes have been Slytherins for many generations. I wouldn't expect you to do such a thing."

"I'm glad to hear that."

"You intend to continue teaching?"

"it's my calling," Severus said dully. "To shine the light of knowledge on young and impressionable minds."

"If I were Dumbledore, I don't know whether I'd be concerned that such a sentiment was sarcastic or that it wasn't."

"You aren't Dumbledore."

Michael nodded. "My youngest son married an American," he said. "He's currently living in New York. If you intend to remain at Hogwarts, I will advise him to educate his children there."

"Do as you will."

"I won't share this encouragement with the general community--I don't wish to deprive you of your livelihood--but Severus, I don't trust this new leaf you claim to have turned over. I doubt I would have trusted your motivations as a spy or a soldier. I loved my sister. Don't imagine that I didn't. But Eileen had room in her heart for herself and her grievances, and very little else. I look at you, and I see her."

"Perhaps you'd prefer to see my Muggle father?"

"Tobias was a perfect choice for Eileen--an endless source of grievances to blame her circumstances on." Michael sighed. "Severus, if I might give you a bit of advice along with your grandfather's gold--stop worrying at your wounds. They'll not heal if you're determined to keep them open."

Severus said nothing. He pointed his wand at the trunk, and sent it to the house at Spinner's End. He would visit Gringott's later. "Is that all?"

"I suppose. Goodbye, Severus." Michael turned, looked over his shoulder one last time, and Disapparated.

Severus stood at the grave for a long time, then drew his cloak around his shoulder and headed home.


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Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: February 23rd, 2009 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Woo! I love Hermione's parents, and their choice to stay in the Aussie bush. Yay! Remus poses some very good questions as the portrait teacher - I hope they'll find a flesh and blood substitute, so that the portrait can go back to Harry's place. And Snape's uncle - wow. What an interesting piece! Too bad Snape never listened to him, but then his uncle hadn't really been there for him while he grew up either. Great ficlets, as always.

Cheers!

Edited at 2009-02-23 08:24 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 23rd, 2009 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
so that the portrait can go back to Harry's place.

On the other hand, I'm sort of amused at the idea of the the Marauders eventually (maybe after Harry dies?) being permanently installed at Hogwarts, and maybe taking over for the Fat Lady as Gryffindor guards. That would make for a very fun Hogwarts experience. ;p
amamama From: amamama Date: February 23rd, 2009 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes! That's a brilliant idea. But the sad thing is, that I'll probably have forgotten the next time you do a challenge like this. It would be wickedly fun to see a Hogwarts where the Marauders rule from their portraits. Having them guard the Gryffindor entrance would be absolutely fantastic. And then scamp around and have fun with McG and Dumbledore and whoever else then occupies the portraits in the castle. Reading what kind of mischief the were up to with Sir Cadogan would be fun too... *g*
(Deleted comment)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 23rd, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
The Grangers are remarkably nonchalant about Hermione’s mind wiping. It’s hard to imagine that Mrs. Granger would be grateful that she was spared knowing that her daughter was in danger… on the other hand, they must be used to taking the backseat in Hermione’s life for the past seven years, so this behavior might not have been a complete surprise. I like to think that they’ve decided to stay on in Australia not because of the place, but because they really were happier when they didn’t remember they had a daughter.
From: severely_lupine Date: February 23rd, 2009 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, how wonderful.

I'm a bit confused. It seems kinda like this is the first time Hermione's seen her parents since sending them down there, but if that's the case, how did their memories get fixed?

Portrait Remus teaching was so darling. It really would be a great job for him. Somehow I doubt Sirius and James would be entirely content to leave him alone, at least after a while, and might feel the need to spice his lectures up a bit with some insight of their own. Any chance this trial run had gone over so well that they fixed up a new portrait for him so he could continue after the other was returned to Harry? Although them being permanently installed at Hogwarts, as you say, would be endlessly entertaining. Especially since it could include a neverending Tom and Jerry routine with portrait Snape.

You know, for not liking Snape, you certainly write him sympathetically. I do think that, if Snape did have any family, it was fairly obvious they didn't keep in touch. So, is this Michael Prince perhaps the grandfather of James's roommate?

etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: February 23rd, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's wonderful to see three more of these, even when I know that this means there are only three more. And yet, I can't believe that you are still churning these out with your usual high quality.

This time, I particularly enjoyed the view of portrait-Remus teaching, and with his usual high quality. It is a shame that canon-Remus did not teach more -- he's the only truly great teacher Harry ever had. I love the idea of him continuing to practice his craft even after death. (And the thought of the three Marauders guarding the entrance to Gyffindor is very appealing!)

Hermione's experience with her parents parallels that of so many parents leaving their children for the first time -- on returning the children prove to have had a wonderful time and barely missed them. That's life, but it can be disconcerting.

Nice Snape snippet, and a wonderful view into how he may have become his parents while trying to leave them behind. Poor man, he really is his own worst enemy.

malinbe From: malinbe Date: February 23rd, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG, only three more? Wow. Well, it's been almost three months.

I am so very curious about Snape's family background. I've always wanted to know who the Princes were, and why Eileen left her family for a man like Tobias... and your version is actually really interesting. Who doesn't know a woman like that? And it reflects a lot on Snape... Micheal really had him there; wounds that won't heal. Very, very interesting.

verdenia From: verdenia Date: February 24th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, these are awesome; fascinating.

Hermione and her parents in smalltown Australia,
Portrait!Remus teaching HoM,
and Snape, with the tiniest bit of family, and some very interesting happenings. Wow.
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