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Stray, Chapter Twelve: Mixed Messages, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Stray, Chapter Twelve: Mixed Messages, pt. 1
Remus and Sirius enjoyed a day with the Brodies, but weren't especially careful coming back. Luckily, it was just Dora. Sirius gave her the button.

The Brodie girls have been studying the Triwizard Tournament, and told Remus and Sirius about the traditional ball. Kirsty wishes she could see Harry in his dress robes. Remus and Sirius find t his all quite amusing. Sirius nags Remus to write to Harry, but Remus doesn't.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Dumbledore arrived on Sunday afternoon.

The moon was waxing, and Remus had been taking out his increased aggressions (he blamed this on lycanthropy; Sirius tended to think it came from frustration and annoyance about the upcoming transformation) by chasing the hogboon around. He'd discovered a passage off of one of the chambers, and now believed that the hogboon was tunneling all over the island and might be impossible to trap. He didn't sound too broken up about it.

Sirius had offered to help, but the offer had been turned down, so he'd instead settled into the crossword puzzle, and was missing only a handful of words when a bright Patronus dropped from the ceiling. It formed itself into a phoenix and said, "It occurs to me that you would be unwise to answer a knock at the door, but I assure you, Mr. Black, that I am quite alone, and have not developed an interest in reporting innocent fugitives."

Sirius smiled and went to the door. Simply answering a door himself was, he found, oddly satisfying.

Dumbledore was standing on the low stone platform, smiling mildly. A basket floated beside him. "I've brought lunch," he said. "I take it Remus is occupied with his post?"

Sirius gestured for him to come inside, and shut the door behind him. "As occupied as ever. It turns out to be a tricky hogboon."

"I thought it might. What a pity. Mary shall simply have to let him stay for a while." He sent the basket over to the table and took a seat on the sofa.

Sirius took the armchair. "He might have stayed a while at Hogwarts as well. He's no more dangerous than Hagrid."

"I wondered when you'd come to the rebuke."

"Sorry. I appreciate all the help you've given me this year. I've got the key to my vault back, and my cousin Dora has liberated some gold for me."

He raised his eyebrows. "Interesting. I wondered if young Miss Tonks might know more than is, shall we say, comfortable for her. She met with Minerva McGonagall, you know."

"I know. Trust me. She managed to guess quite a lot."

"Mm. Minerva was curious about the visit, so I took a chance and had a long conversation with her."

"McGonagall's in on it now?" Sirius smiled. "I'm glad. I didn't like her thinking I was guilty."

"She still thinks you're guilty of poor judgment. I suppose I should have spoken to you, to get your permission before sharing your secret, but the situation arose as it did, and a decision was called for."

"I trust McGonagall."

"As do I."

"How's Harry? I heard from him after the dragons--"

"I fear young Mr. Potter has more to worry about than dragons," Dumbledore said. "Minerva recently informed him that he must face a far more fearsome task."

Sirius grinned. "The ball?"

"You've heard?"

The door opened and Remus came in, covered with dirt but not looking otherwise worse for wear. He cleaned himself with a flick of his wand and said, "Sorry it took so long. I was underground when your Patronus came. Has something happened?"

"As I was just mentioning to Sirius, he's facing a grave challenge at the moment."

"Girls," Sirius said. "Who's he taking?"

"As of yet, no one, though he has been observed looking somewhat green in the presence of a particular Ravenclaw Seeker."

"Still sweet on Cho Chang, is he?" Remus asked.

Dumbledore nodded. "Alas, the fair Miss Chang appears somewhat green herself in the presence of our other Hogwarts champion. I fear Harry may fail in this quest."

"I don't like this girl," Sirius said. "She clearly demonstrates poor judgment."

Remus laughed and sat down on the ottoman. "As amusing as it is to spread student gossip, I'm sure you have some other purpose here."

Dumbledore nodded, then Summoned his basket and started serving lunch from it. "I've been considering Sirius's situation very carefully these few months. While I'm pleased to see that you've done one another some good, this arrangement... isn't ideal."

Sirius sighed. "I know. I've already blown my cover once--twice if you count Dora blowing it for me--and it's not entirely safe for Lupin to be caught with me here. Believe me, I've considered it."

"That's true," Dumbledore said. "But I'm afraid I was considering my own convenience. Your curious brand of invisibility is a useful asset that I'm not able to take full advantage of here."

"Is this where you give me a meaningless assignment to keep me from feeling that I'm just leeching from the Order?" Sirius asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Minerva McGonagall was rather aghast that I'd encouraged a situation that might make you feel that way, but as I had no meaningless tasks to assign, I thought it would be wise to offer you a meaningful one, and one which you have expressed interest in before."

"Harry," Sirius said. "I've been doing what I can through owl post, and we used the Floo connection--"

"That was foolish," Dumbledore said.

"He needed to talk to someone."

"As Floo conversations are rather frequently monitored, I should have thought you might have found it more useful for Remus to place the call."

"Harry wrote to me. I'm his godfather."

Dumbledore didn't argue. "I imagined you'd say something like that, which is why I'm proposing an action even more foolish than a Floo call. I should like you to come to Hogsmeade."

"No," Remus said firmly. "He can't even stay out of the neighbors' business up here. How much more trouble do you think he'll manage to get into when there are that many people around?"

Dumbledore frowned. "What sort of business have you got into with your neighbors?"

"The little girls nearly drowned in a storm, and I thought, as I had some spare time and no one else was around, that I'd prevent it." Sirius grimaced.

"Ah," Dumbledore said lightly. "Well, in that case, being in a larger group of people will be helpful, as you'll rarely be the only one available to respond to a crisis. There are certain advantages to a wider population."

"Most of whom could recognize him from the wanted poster, if not from school," Remus said.

An itchy sort of anger was beginning to build in Sirius's stomach. He glared at Remus, then turned to Dumbledore. "If my nanny here doesn't mind you sharing, what did you have in mind? Is there a safe house?"

"I considered the Shrieking Shack, and I hope you'll be able to use the tunnel, but I think it's too close to the beaten track for tourists."

"Tourists?" Sirius repeated.

Remus sighed. "They've listed it in the guidebooks as the most haunted dwelling in Britain."

"A reputation which I've asked Sir Nicholas to bolster at every opportunity," Dumbledore said. "I don't know when we might need it, and keeping up a fearsome reputation might encourage tourists, but it won't, as Mary McAlister has learned with this island, encourage buyers."

"You know, Lupin might be able to use the gold from a sale," Sirius said.

"I wouldn't get a Knut," Remus said. "Gringotts perpetually has some sort of hold on it. They'd get it all. I'd rather the Order made use of it."

"Or that Harry would," Sirius said. "I don't suppose he's taken to dropping in for a bit of recreation?"

"It seems not to have occurred to him," Dumbledore said. "But, at any rate, there is a cave in the hills beyond town. We used it as a base of operation during our clash with Gellert Grindelwald's people. Minerva reminded me of it. It's fairly easy to keep warm with charms, and you could, in dog form, keep a closer on happenings in Hogsmeade than I am able to. I am, I'm afraid, somewhat conspicuous."

Remus started to object, then reconsidered. "What do you imagine he'll find?"

"If I knew what he'd find," Dumbledore said, "I'd hardly need him to look for it."

"You want to know who rigged the Goblet of Fire," Sirius guessed.

Dumbledore nodded. "Among other things. I'm sure you read about the Dark Mark at the World Cup?"

"Yes."

"Did Harry tell you it was Conjured with his wand?"

"No."

"The wand was stolen by a house elf--Barty Crouch's house elf."

Sirius snorted. "Did he just sack her, or did he throw her into Azkaban?"

"He sacked her," Dumbledore said. "And she is now in my employ, at Hogwarts, as a free elf, along with her companion, Dobby, who was formerly employed by the Malfoy family. Dobby's information has been somewhat enlightening, but Winky has been less than forthcoming about her actions." He grabbed a sandwich from mid-air and took a bite. "All of which is to say that there are many curious things happening, and it's the worst possible time for a grand spectacle to draw everyone's attention away from it. And I can't help feeling that there's a strong connection among these things."

"Makes sense to me," Sirius said.

"So you're going to live in a cave." Remus shook his head. "Sirius, you don't even like the cold in here."

"When do you need me there?" Sirius asked.
14 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: April 7th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Benefits of being ill -- first comment?

Oh, now the action REALLY starts!!!
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: April 7th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC) (Link)
"Sirius smiled and went to the door. Simply answering a door himself was, h8e found, oddly satisfying."

I believe there's an errant 8 in the previous sentence. Other than that, a lovely update. It leaved me wanting more as fast as you can manage. And yes, I know, these things come as they come.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: April 7th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I've commented on this story, but I'm always glad to read your work. I'm particularly loving this one!

One minor case of crazy fingers though...'Simply answering a door himself was, h8e found, oddly satisfying.'
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: April 7th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
'"As I was just mentioning to Sirius, he's facing a grave challenge at the moment."'

I think you might want to change 'he's' to 'Harry'. Right now it seems to refer to Sirius.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: April 7th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)
<3 Dumbledore and McGonagall. You did a ficlet in the last monster round where McGonagall comes to visit Sirius in the Hogsmeade cave, didn't you?
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 7th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Canon scenes coming up! I've loved these scenes on the island, but I am looking forward to watching you tie in your original material with the Triwizard Tournament.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 7th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
keep a closer on happenings in Hogsmeade than I am able to

I think the word 'look' is missing?

Sirius is amazing, telling his inner rich boy to shut up and going to live in a cave. I have so much love for him right now, especially because I know he'll be feeding on rats (hoping one might be Peter? Ugh!).
Dumbledore spreading students gossip was amusing to no end, and it is good to see that he's actually putting people to work on the subject of who put Harry's name in the Goblet. I suppose we all assumed he was, but hardly anything was said in canon about it- better for you, now you can fill the gaps!

Nice chapter!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: April 7th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I wondered how Sirius would be relocated to the cave. Nice post -- I'm enjoying this. Remus and Sirius are good caring friends, but I suspect a little distance will also be welcome, if only to allow them to relax their "constant vigilance" on behalf of each other.
marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: April 7th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm finally caught up with you! I'm enjoying this very much.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 7th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Minerva recently informed him that he must face a far more fearsome task."
Sirius grinned. "The ball?"
-- LOL! Too cute. Oh, for the days when that was the biggest thing on his mind.

"As I was just mentioning to Sirius, he's facing a grave challenge at the moment." -- Shouldn't DD have mentioned he's talking about Harry? Otherwise it kinda sounds like he means Sirius is facing a challenge, since Remus just walked in and has no idea what they're talking about.

Why am I not surprised Dumbles was only worried about not being able to properly use Sirius?

keep a closer on happenings -- Should that be 'closer eye' or something?

I wonder how the Brodys are going to play into things now that Sirius is moving away again. I hope they do in some manner, at least.
(Deleted comment)
tencups_i_swear From: tencups_i_swear Date: April 8th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! This is awesome!
I very much like the conversation about the upcoming Yule Ball.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: April 12th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)
It's so nice to come back from vacation to a new section of Stray. I think Sirius and Remus need some time apart at this point so it's a good thing DD is sending Sirius on a wild goose chase.
Sirius is so cute about Cho's 'poor judgment' and DD sharing school gossip is so fitting as well. Remus' perpetual voice of reason about living in a cave kinda tugs at my heartstrings just knowing he'll be doing pretty much the same thing come a few years.

Good chapter, Fern and Happy Easter!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: April 13th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey there, I couldn't reply earlier due to my being in the middle of nowhere, but great chapter. I love Dumbledore being so up to date with student gossip. I bet he loves hearing about it! I bet he has many an uncomfortable conversation with his Head of Houses:
"So, Severus, tell me, how are Mr. Malfoy and Miss Parkinson doing? Did she get him to celebrate Valentine's Day?"
14 comments or Leave a comment