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Stray, Chapter Twelve: Mixed Messages, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Stray, Chapter Twelve: Mixed Messages, pt. 2
Okay, so two weeks ago, Dumbledore arrived, and after filling in Remus and Sirius on gossip about Harry's social life, said that he had told McGonagall about Sirius, and that he wants Sirius in Hogsmeade, to see if he can figure out who put Harry's name in the goblet. He tells Sirius about the cave, explaining that they can't use the Shrieking Shack because it's on the tourist map now. Remus is not entirely supportive of the idea of Sirius going to Hogsmeade, which annoys Sirius (who calls him a "nanny"); Sirius just asked Dumbledore when he wanted him to make the move.

Oops, Sirius tells Harry that the three of them and Dumbledore are the only ones around who know he's an Animagus. We'll just say he forgot at that moment that McG knew... ;p Ah, the joy of retconning mistakes minor lapses.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Dumbledore considered the question. "Until after the Yule Ball, I'm afraid that Hogsmeade will be quite crowded with reporters and shoppers. It would be well to wait until it returns to a more normal traffic level. Shall we say that you should return after Christmas?"

Sirius grinned. "And here I wanted to sneak in and watch the ball."

"I'll see to it that there are many photographs." Dumbledore smiled, then turned to Remus, who was grinding his teeth. "I don't think your concerns are misplaced, Remus," he said. "But in the end, a hiding place in a Hogsmeade cave may be safer. As I understand it, this island is a rather frequent port of call for Aurors. A place unknown to Sirius might be less attractive to them than the home of his closest known former associate."

Remus nodded grimly, but apparently couldn't resist putting in another argument. "It's mainly been Dora coming by," he said. "She's well aware of the situation. When it's not her, it's usually Kingsley Shacklebolt."

"A dedicated Auror," Dumbledore said.

"One who seems somewhat less than interested in his quarry," Remus mused, and frowned. "He goes off on snorkack hunts that he knows aren't likely to meet with success, and according to Dora--she told me after your little adventure in Brazil, Sirius--he was the one who made the call to not mention Buckbeak in the official report."

Dumbledore's eyebrows drew in. "Interesting. Kingsley Shacklebolt, you say?" He leaned back and stroked his beard thoughtfully. "A Ravenclaw, a good mind. Very methodical, and quite thorough. Snorkack hunts seem unlike him. Has he hinted to you that he believes things aren't what they seem?"

Remus shook his head, but Sirius thought back to his first view of Kingsley and Dora, in Brazil. "He thinks it smells like a rotten fish," he said. "My trial and conviction. It doesn't matter to him, though. He said it's not an Auror's business to be a judge."

"And yet," Dumbledore said, then shook his head and leaned forward again. "Did he offer Miss Tonks an explanation of omitting Buckbeak from the official report?"

"Apparently," Remus said, "he told her that hippogriffs were Macnair's concern, and he wasn't going to start wasting Aurors' time chasing down sightings."

"Mm. Of course." Dumbledore sighed. "I should like to have a cup of tea with Mr. Shacklebolt."

"The same sort of tea you had with us the day after we left school?" Sirius asked. "The one where you started talking about the old days with the Grindelwald War, worked your way around to our opinions of Voldemort, and by the end, told us we were sitting in the headquarters of the Order?"

"That very sort," Dumbledore said. "I think watercress sandwiches would do nicely, and if I recall Kingsley Shacklebolt's habits in the Great Hall correctly, I'd do well to have quite a lot of clotted cream available for the scones. Alas, there is no headquarters to reveal at the end. That's quite problematic. I imagine that if we could all gather and share the puzzle pieces we have, we'd be a good deal closer to seeing the greater picture here." He shook his head. "Well, perhaps something will offer itself."

"Where does Mad-Eye stand on all of this?" Sirius asked.

"I haven't discussed it with him. Would you like me to?"

Sirius considered it. He'd always liked Mad-Eye... but he'd always liked him because he was death on Dark Wizards. He wouldn't put it past him to listen to the entire story and still conclude that Sirius needed to be captured. "No," he said. "I think maybe enough people know."

"I think you're right. Alastor's been otherwise occupied this year, at any rate."

"He never answered my letter," Remus said. "Do you know if he got it?"

Dumbledore nodded. "He's referred to it frequently." He smiled. "You were apparently quite thorough yourself."

"Well, taking over after Lockhart, I felt quite behind the first month or so, trying to figure out what they'd been doing, and who was who, other than Harry and Neville and their friends."

"That surprises me--no one would have guessed you were at sea on that."

"Yes, he's quite a good teacher," Sirius pointed out, raising an eyebrow at Dumbledore.

Remus shifted uncomfortably. "Except for the part where I let someone I believed to be a mass murderer keep a secret that might well have been--and was--how he was sneaking into the school, then managed to forget to take a potion that was the only thing keeping me from trying to eat my students."

"The latter is utterly irrelevant," Dumbledore said, "and the former, while an error of judgment, turned out well in the end."

"As he wasn't guilty. But what if he had been?"

"You were trying to solve the puzzle yourself. I imagine that you would have done so eventually, and would have come to me as soon as you were certain. But you were never entirely certain, were you?" Dumbledore stood up and Summoned his basket, emptying its contents out onto the table as he did. "Sirius, I will have Remus back in a classroom, one way or another, when this business is over. And Remus, I will see to it that there is no more danger than is necessary for Sirius in Hogsmeade." He smiled. "I think James would be glad to see you advocating for one another. He did quite a bit of advocating for both of you, after all."

With that, Dumbledore dipped his head slightly and left.

Sirius sat back down to the crossword, then slapped his forehead. "The button! I should have told him about it."

"Dora has it, anyway," Remus said. "If she doesn't find anything, we can give it to Dumbledore. Maybe Moody could have a look as well. It might be nothing, you know. Maybe a fish swallowed it, and it rolled out when Brodie gutted it."

Sirius didn't bother arguing, because Remus didn't believe that claptrap any more than he did. If Brodie were happily dancing with his daughters on the next island, he might believe it. But Brodie had been attacked by Dementors on that boat, which, in Sirius's opinion, made any oddity important.

He bent over the crossword again, and spent the next fifteen minutes finishing it. Because of the interruption, he was nowhere near the top times for the day.

Dora came after her shift, bearing pictures of her growing-up years. Sirius was happy to listen to the stories she told about them, and see Andromeda's wide, open smile. Ted had put on weight since Sirius had gone away, and now looked jolly and comfortably middle-aged. Andromeda herself still looked young and beautiful. Remus himself was in a good number of the pictures.

"Oh, Dora adopted me," he said when Sirius pointed that out.

She smiled fondly. "Well, how could I not? You clearly needed looking after, and who better than an eight-year-old to do it? Besides, how else could I see to it that other women stayed well away?"

Remus rolled his eyes. "That really didn't take as much effort as you seemed to think it would." He turned to Sirius, looking mildly embarrassed by the turn of the conversation. "Dora had poor taste when she was small, I'm afraid."

"Blasphemy," Dora said lightly, turning her nose up. "I believe my taste in men--at any point in my life--to be impeccable." She moved on to the next picture, which showed her with several Hufflepuff friends, and changed the subject.

After they'd eaten a light supper together, Sirius asked, "Any news on your dangerous fugitive?"

"Interesting that you'd ask, Mr. Foote," she said. "Kingsley's been getting quite a lot of tips lately."

"Really?"

"Oh, yes. Most of them point to an abandoned mine in Wales. We're watching it very closely. I'm sure we'll catch him any day now."

Remus sat down and Summoned pudding. "Where are these tips coming from?"

"You know, it's odd--they've been coming to Kingsley at home. He comes in with a new one nearly every day. He follows up on them personally."

"Methodical," Remus said.

"And quite thorough," Sirius added.

Dora whistled breezily.

After she left, Sirius asked, "Do you think Shacklebolt's come around?"

"I can't very well ask," Remus said. "But obviously, Dora thinks he has. She's been sleeping better."

"Sleeping better? Do you know something about her sleeping habits that I don't?"

Remus blushed. "Of course not! It's just... she doesn't look as tired as she did. I hope Kingsley's taking a bit of the burden off."

"Mm-hmm."

"Were we, or were we not, just looking at the same pictures of me nearly helping to raise that child?"

"Oh. Yes. Of course."

Remus rolled his eyes and retired to his bedroom, where he spent the rest of the night reading.

Sirius lay down on the couch, and after a long time, slipped down into sleep.

He dreamed of home.
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Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: April 20th, 2009 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Watercress sandwiches with clotted cream? Sounds disgusting!

... sorry, I know what you mean, but possibly a reference to scones somewhere in there would help.

Anyway, it's great to see more of this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I see what you mean. I was thinking the scones would be a given, but yes, now that I'm listening...

ETA: Just added "for the scones."

Edited at 2009-04-20 07:42 pm (UTC)
shiiki From: shiiki Date: April 20th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Were we, or were we not, just looking at the same pictures of me nearly helping to raise that child?

Oh, Remus. :)

Another lovely instalment, Fern. What a treat!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Poor Remus... can't win.
From: severely_lupine Date: April 20th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! A new part!

Remus shifted uncomfortably. "Except for the part where I let someone I believed to be a mass murderer keep a secret that might well have been--and was--how he was sneaking into the school, then managed to forget to take a potion that was the only thing keeping me from trying to eat my students." -- LOL! ... I'm sorry, it's probably mean to laugh at that, but... LOL! Oh, I do love Remus.

I like the little hint at Remus's mission in Shifts, too.

The exchange about Dora's taste in men was great. And Remus blushing about her sleeping habits... heehee...

"Were we, or were we not, just looking at the same pictures of me nearly helping to raise that child?" -- *snerk* Yes, Remus, keep telling yourself that. LOL. ... Oh, wait, he does.

You know, I can't help but think it would be really easy to cheat on that crossword puzzle to get a high time. Presuming the timer starts when the person first puts a quill to the paper, couldn't someone just answer all of them on another piece of paper, then transfer the answers over all at once?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... Maybe the clues don't appear until the quill touches the paper?
From: severely_lupine Date: April 20th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's good!
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: April 20th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, new chapterlette! I was beginning to think you'd hit a wall but I'm glad you're back.
Dumbledore remembers the most random things about his students. Just goes to show that you never know when you're going to have to use clotted cream as a bargaining tool. =D
I love how everyone sees Dora and Remus together but Remus. To think he wasted all those years...

That last line is nicely ambiguous. Everyone likes to dream of home every once in a while out of nostalgia but I'm sure that isn't quite the case for Sirius.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally hit a wall, but I sat down with my notebook Saturday night and made myself scale it. The real snag was trying to tie what I've got into the canon plot on some level!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 20th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice.

It's good how you're keeping Mad-Eye away from it. I still can't get my head around the fact that Dumbledore never suspected him until de Third Task.

And Kingsley is love ^_^
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Barty Crouch must have been one hell of an actor.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 20th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do enjoy watching you fill in the spaces around canon and provide explanations for baffling behavior that JKR never supplied. And thanks to Shifts, we know that Dumbledore does get Remus back into a classroom too. Looking forward to Christmas on the island, and Sirius's eventual return to Hogsmeade!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
He needs time to get skinny and ragged again before Harry's visit to Hogsmeade. :)
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: April 20th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
So nice to see another piece of this story, Fern. I love the way Sirius and Remus look out for each other far more energetically than they do to looking after themselves. What a pity that Remus wasn't able to spend the rest of a long life as the wonderful teacher he is.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, you know, things had to be balanced. Apparently, having a chance at happiness is a death penalty crime in the Potterverse.
alkari From: alkari Date: April 20th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
My trial and conviction. But Sirius said he didn't get a trial!!

I like the glimpse of Dumbledore recruiting the Order members via a cosy little chat. Very old school British spy network! And LOL at dear, dense Remus in full denial mode - "Oh, Dora adopted me" indeed. *snort*.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
:eyeroll:

I knew what I meant there. It was just unrelated to what I actually wrote. This happens at 2am. ;p
alkari From: alkari Date: April 21st, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
You are more than excused!! Writing at 2am does tend to scramble the brain at times. I just marvel at the speed and quality of all your writing *applauds*
From: spitc1899 Date: April 21st, 2009 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful as usual!
(Deleted comment)
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 18th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Kingsley! :) He's wonderful how you are writing his gradual coming around.

Poor Remus is so thick sometimes! It's too cute that Tonks fancied him even as a child. Squee.

I also loved how you demonstrated the strength of Remus' and Sirius' friendship in their concern for each other. Great job!
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