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Stray, Chapter Eighteen: Relocation, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Eighteen: Relocation, pt. 1
So, the Brodies have been relocated the Grimmauld Place after the attack on their home. Kingsley has more or less admitted to Tonks that he knows what's what. Sirius is planning a move to the Hogsmeade cave. Fiona Brodie is lonely.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

On New Year's morning, Sirius Black awoke in his bedroom at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, for the first time in roughly two decades. He had a moment's panic that it had all been a dream--his entire running away, his life at the Potters' and then in his flat. The panic turned into a mad hope that this meant James was alive and Azkaban had been a nightmare as well, and all he really had to worry about was Reg nicking his spell books to get ahead of his year.

But the real world came back quickly enough. He could hear the Brodie girls laughing downstairs, while Fiona told them to be quiet, because Mr. Black was trying to sleep, he'd been up awfully late last night.

Sirius sighed and sat up.

He'd followed Fiona out of the parlor last night, caught her on the stairs, and there'd been a kiss and a promise of nearly anything else, anything he might imagine, but in the end, the image of her husband, lying there in St. Mungo's, unable to protest, had come between them. Sirius had let her go and gone upstairs to his childhood room. He wasn't sure why he hadn't simply left, though he had stayed awake for some time to see if she might come up after all. He wasn't aware of any particular feeling for her, other than a kind of hunger that wasn't entirely physical, but he was fond of her, and he thought it might be nice to be with a woman he hadn't picked up at a seedy club (Muggle, as often as not). There'd never been time for anything else during the war, but his chief memories of these encounters now were of being very pleased with himself for breaking away from stuffy old pure-blood customs, and proud of just how defiant he could be. (He'd once got very angry at Lily when she'd raised one sculpted eyebrow and suggested that he might enjoy the whole business more if he didn't always bring his mother along for the evening.)

He wasn't convinced that an encounter during which he congratulated himself on being a grown-up and being attracted to a woman who was, at best, plainly pretty, was all that much better from a moral point of view. The thought of it had been nice for a bit, but it was probably just as well that they'd both remembered Dougie Brodie before anything actually happened.

He wasn't sure what he meant to say to her when he got downstairs, and was still hesitating when a timid knock on the door was followed by a high, little girl's voice. "Mr. Foote? I mean, Mr. Black?"

"Shh! Mither says he's sleeping!" a louder voice said.

"I'm only asking!"

Sirius smiled. "I'm awake."

"See?" the first voice--Elspeth, Sirius was fairly sure--said. "Mither has breakfast ready."

"Kreacher actually let her cook today?" Sirius asked, getting out of bed. He hadn't exactly had night clothes, and was mainly wearing the sheet. He Summoned yesterday's clothes and cleaned them with a flick of his wand.

"Well..." Elspeth started.

Sirius stopped, his robe halfway on. "Well, what?"

"He let her," Kirsty said. "He was just a bit nasty about it."

With an irritated jerk of his arms, Sirius pulled the robe the rest of the way on and yelled, "Kreacher!"

Instantly, the house elf arrived with a pop, a look of sarcastic sycophancy on his face. "Master has called?"

"Yes, bloody Master has called. I ordered you to be civil to our guests."

Kreacher muttered something that included, "...common harlot using Mistress's good cauldrons..."

"Don't you dare impugn Mrs. Brodie."

Kreacher glared. "Kreacher knows why Master has brought her. Kreacher can see. Master means to destroy the House of Black, to--"

"It bloody well should be destroyed."

"--to mix blood with commoners, to--"

Sirius held up his hand to silence the elf. Mum had always been on not only about pure-bloods, but about pure-bloods from proper families. Blood traitors were out, of course, but certainly farmers and shopkeepers were below the House of Black as well. She might, in a pinch, consider a Healer or Ministry official (above a certain level) to be a suitable match, but showed a strong preference for families who didn't need to sully themselves with actually earning a living. Dad might have got a job at the Ministry working on security, if Mum hadn't found the idea of being paid by lesser creatures deeply distasteful.

And of course, Kreacher had never been more than Mum's mouthpiece and spy, and here she was, yammering on through him long after she'd rotted to her murderous old bones. James's mother had once scolded him for talking to someone that way--said that people were better judged by how they treated those in a weaker place than those in a stronger one--and the way Kreacher was treating the Brodies, like filth he'd have to clean out of the carpets, was exactly the sort of thing she'd meant.

"Kreacher," he said, "you're going to go downstairs, and you're going to apologize for whatever you said to Mrs. Brodie, or you'll answer for it."

Kreacher gave him a defiant glare, but disappeared to follow his orders.

He rubbed his face vigorously to finish waking himself up, then left. The girls were standing wide-eyed outside Reg's door. Sirius grinned and picked Elspeth up, turning her upside down and swinging her until she laughed madly.

"Me, me!" Kirsty cried.

"Oh, you're pretty big for it," Sirius said. "But I think I can do it..."

Kirsty leapt up onto his back, and the three of them tumbled to the dirty carpet.

"Girls!" Fiona came up the stairs, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Sirius," she said, smiling.

"For what?" He grabbed her hand and pulled her down with them. After a brief tug off war, they all pulled apart, laughing. It sounded very strange in this particular corridor. Sirius and Kirsty leaned against his door; Elspeth sat on Fiona's lap, leaning against Reg's.

"Your breakfast is on the stairs," Fiona said.

"Thank you."

"It's very good," Elspeth said. "Mither's a really good harlot."

Sirius blinked.

"I, er, had to tell Elspeth all about that other word for 'cook,'" Fiona explained. "She didn't know it when your house elf used it."

"Oh, right." Sirius shifted uncomfortably. "I had a little chat with Kreacher about his vocabulary."

"Thank you."

Sirius frowned. "What happened to your arm?"

Fiona looked down at her upper arm, where several sores were bleeding. "One of the meat forks attacked me," she said.


"Well, I'll stay out of that drawer."

"I'm going to find a better place for you somewhere."

The corridor lit up, and Dumbledore's phoenix dropped from the ceiling. Kirsty looked at it with wonder as it spoke.

"Sirius, if you would care to meet me at the place we've met in before, where you'll be staying, we have matters to discuss."

Sirius couldn't send back an answer, as he had no idea where Dumbledore was, so he sighed. "I guess I'd best go," he said, standing up. He could spy a tray of breakfast on the stairs. "I'll take this along if you don't mind."

"Perfectly fine."

Sirius flicked his wand at it, and it folded itself into a lunch basket. "Be careful," he said. "I don't like the wild forks. I'd stay out of Mum's wardrobes, too."

"Oh, I'm sure there's nothing currently fashionable enough for me in them anyway," Fiona said, smiling.

"I should send Remus to stay with you."

"I think my girls have heard enough colorful new vocabulary with only us to bother your mother and the elf."

Sirius nodded reluctantly, then Disillusioned himself, went outside, and Disapparated to the Hogsmeade cave.

Dumbledore was waiting there, sitting on a comfortable Conjured lounge chair. "I understand you have guests," he said.

"Remus told you?"

"Phineas Nigellus."

Sirius ground his teeth. "Of course."

"I was surprised to learn that you'd returned to your home, Sirius."

"My home is that flat in Diagon Alley. Or the Potters'. One of them's been re-let, and the other's destroyed. There's Hogwarts, but I'm relatively sure that you won't let me stay there."

"I meant Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, as I'm quite sure you're aware."

Sirius sighed. "Yes. I'm aware."

"No one else has been able to get in."

"Dad was good at what he did."

"Fortunate, to have a safe place to which a group of people might retreat."

Sirius didn't take the bait. He knew Dumbledore would be looking for a new headquarters, but the idea that any good could be accomplished at Grimmauld Place was absurd. Instead he said, "Safe's not a word I'd use. The cutlery attacked Fiona Brodie this morning. I need to find a new place for her and for the girls."

Dumbledore laughed.

"What?" Sirius asked.

"I don't believe I've ever heard you in complete accord with Phineas before. Quite striking."

"I somehow doubt old Grayfur has the slightest interest in their welfare."

"Motives needn't coincide for goals to be the same." Dumbledore's smile faded gradually. "I agree that the Brodies should be moved, and will look into what channels are available to us."

"Thank you."

"Are you ready to take up residence here, Sirius? I know when we discussed it before, you were eager, but now that you're helping the Brodies..."

"Harry is my first responsibility. The only one."

"In that case," Dumbledore said, "may I suggest that we make the move soon? The Second Task is approaching--"

"What's it to be?"

"Unfortunately, I am also bound by a magical contract, and can't reveal it. Had I known this business would involve Harry, I would have found a way around it. Alas, I did not. But I can tell you this: It is dangerous, it is outside the realms of Harry's magical education, and if anyone is planning to do him harm, it would be an excellent opportunity. I need your ears open here, Sirius."

Sirius twisted his wand to bring his few real belongings from Remus's place. He shoved them against the wall. "In that case," he said, "welcome to my new home, Professor Dumbledore."
19 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: June 27th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
He'd followed Fiona out of the parlor last night, caught her on the stairs, and there'd been a kiss and a promise of nearly anything else, anything he might imagine -- You know, I'm rather disappointed that, after all that build-up hinting, when they actually kiss, we don't get to see it and it's just a sort of offhand thing. Good for her for being strong and doing the right thing, though. So is this your way of dismissing the shipping hints?

It is quite funny how you describe his sexual experience, though. Why doesn't it surprise me that it would still be all about him. Of course, it also makes me feel sad that he never fell in love.

and her she was -- Should that be "here"?

"Mither's a really good harlot." -- LOL! Oh, I do enjoy how you write kids.

"Motives needn't coincide for goals to be the same." -- This seems to be a very relevant line somehow. I think it... says something about Dumbledore.

I recced you on my journal (finally; I'd been meaning to do so for a while). I don't know how many people will come over, considering my flist is mainly made up of Snape/Hermione shippers and the like, but hopefully some of them will take my advice and check you out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 27th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
So is this your way of dismissing the shipping hints?
Not necessarily. ;p (I dithered for quite a while on whether or not Sirius would wake up alone.)

I always pictured young adult Sirius as trying to flout as many of the pure-blood conventions as he could reasonably get in around the war.

Thanks for the rec!

Edited at 2009-06-27 07:21 am (UTC)
alkari From: alkari Date: June 27th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL - you big meanie! Sending Sirius off to live in a cave and eat rats, without a 'proper' farewell from Fiona as a good memory ...

Excellent exchange with Dumbledore as usual, especially the remarks about Phineas. Liked the signs of DD's 'using' people, as with his hint about GP as a hideout.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: June 27th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
the beginning was the best!!! I really like how you wrote about them kissing instead of us "seeing" it.

I also noticed that there's never been an actual description of what Fiona looks like, so I got bored yesterday and drew her! The link's on my LJ page if you wanna look ^^
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 27th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like how you wrote about them kissing instead of us "seeing" it.

Thanks. I wanted to try something a little different than I usually do, where Fiona and Sirius are attracted to each other before really knowing each other or having any particular emotional attachment with each other. A big "payoff" kiss scene doesn't work at this point because it's not paying anything off!


Edited at 2009-06-27 05:49 pm (UTC)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 28th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Sirius sure acts like a child whenever the mere subject of 12GM arises. It really does take him back to his childhood in a way Freudians would have a field day analyzing.

The 'harlot' part was very amusing, though.

I am very curious to know where you are going with the Brodies. We know that they have to completely dissapear from everyone's lives in six months,so it's very intriguing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
It really does take him back to his childhood in a way Freudians would have a field day analyzing.

Which is, I'm sure, what Lily had in mind with her snark about not bringing his mother along for his "encounters." ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 28th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice chapter section. I was a bit surprised by Sirius's somewhat casual approach towards romantic relationships, but I guess considering his popularity in school (and by contrast the many years he spent isolated in Azkaban) I probably shouldn't have been. There was one point that I thought needed clarifying though.

"The corridor lit up, and Dumbledore's phoenix dropped from the ceiling. Kirsty looked at it with wonder as it spoke."

I'm guessing this is Dumbledore's patronus speaking since I don't remember Fawkes as being particularly talkative in canon ;). Just something I noticed. Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hah, that's a good point. Anything but a phoenix, it probably would have been clear, but real phoenixes have a flash of light involved, and Dumbledore does have one. Ah, magic. Makes shorthand language more difficult sometimes!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 28th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Sirius--hard not to be melancholy when you think about the future he never gets to have in canon. But I still admire the way you're developing 12 GP and prepping it for its greater prominence in OoP.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is a pity that Sirius never got the chance to finish growing up. He had the makings of a very good man, but he was trapped in the circular thinking of an adolescent a lot of the time.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: June 28th, 2009 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm. I'm torn on this one. I'm not sure I like that Sirius just moved without at least saying goodbye to Fiona and the girls. There was enough build up between Sirius and Fiona to at least merit a goodbye of some kind. I might be judging too hastily, so I should just wait for the next section.

I like your portrayl of DD. Especially his motives/goals line. It shows a different side of him that I don't think got enough light in canon.

I'm kind of sad that nothing happened between Fiona and Sirius, though. I imagine she and the girls will be out of the picture soon enough as it is. Still, though. Sad Panda.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, he'll see Fiona and the girls again. He wasn't actually living in 12GP before--this was the first night he'd spent--and the move to the cave is just a different home base.
beceh From: beceh Date: June 28th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good chapter!!! Loved the harlot line.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Needing to make things like that up on the spot--probably a good thing Fiona can think on her feet.
From: glynngriffiths Date: June 29th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Mither's a really good harlot." Had me in stitches. Fiona's a really good parent, that's what she is - taking the punches that 12 Grimmauld Place is throwing her and rolling right along with them for the sake of her girls.

I very much enjoyed the insight to Sirius' relationship past... (it fits), and Dumbledore's quote about motives and goals is revealing. Dumbledore's character in this seems to particularly evoke his more -ehm- Machiavellian side that was revealed in DH. I like it; there's a lot to get your teeth into there.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure it's Machiavellian so much as just an observation of the way the world is.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 10th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)


I mean ever since dH people been saying "oh what a manipulative man AD was"

but seriously even if he didn't told all the truth the people he withold information were not stupid either. I get the impression they really the worst of what they were getting into- ex. Harry definitely had an clue-in of Death/dying by Ootp with the whole "neither can live while the other survives", Snape probably knew he was between the sword and the wall just by beeing Double agent, Remus had the lycanthropy issue and the fact many wanted him dead *i get the impression by the speech the DE did at the beginning of DH*

so being realistic, it's not really fair to say that dumbledore manipulated people and lead them to danger

because also, he got Nothing for himself out this "speculated manipulation" he got hurt by the horcrux ring and he ended up having to be forced to physically get out of the picture

not at all "my plans works everyone suffers and i get hurt free" that many imply

one thing is not liking a character, other is being overly critical of them because of dislike
one is acceptable, the other one is unfair

mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 19th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
"(He'd once got very angry at Lily when she'd raised one sculpted eyebrow and suggested that he might enjoy the whole business more if he didn't always bring his mother along for the evening.)" ROTFL

And I loved the playfulness between Sirius and the Brodies. :D
19 comments or Leave a comment