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Stray, Chapter Twenty-Three: The Conspiracy Sealed, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Stray, Chapter Twenty-Three: The Conspiracy Sealed, pt. 1
Okay, when you're thinking, "Hmm, the toilet really needs cleaning, I can do that instead of cranking out another thousand NaNo words," it's time to roll it up for the day. I don't feel too guilty. 7000 words, I think, qualifies me for a nice little fanfic dessert. Then I'll probably try to get another 3000, to try to catch up for all my slacking, but hey.

Anyway, we last left our handsome hero in the North Sea, after escaping Azkaban a second time (though to be fair, this time, they weren't looking, since they didn't know he'd broken in). He spoke to Fiona, who's reasonably sure she'll be acquitted, and told her that either way, he's getting her out of Britain, and possibly into a half bathing suit in Brazil. He jumped down into the sea where he was just found by Remus, who went out looking for him in a magically controlled rowboat, which may or may not be more pleasant than swimming to Scotland in early February.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Sirius wasn't aware of any less sea-jostling inside the boat than their had been outside, but Remus at least kept them dry until they hit land at McManus island. Sirius jumped out of the boat and shook his coat out, looking up at Remus's shack, where the light was still burning.

"It's just Dora," Remus said. "You can transform."

Sirius did so. "How did you know where I was?"

"I used one of James's find-Sirius spells."

"James had find-Sirius spells?"

"Nothing that could have caught you if you were really trying to hide, but yes. How do you think he found you the night you got Snape up to the Shrieking Shack?"

"I assumed it was because there was a narrow tunnel with no other way to get there, and bloody Wormtail told him about it."

Remus shrugged as they walked. "Well, yes, but he apparently did a spell to check first and make sure you were where he thought you were, and not out running around Hogsmeade trying to get Snape into trouble that way."

Sirius shook his head. "Really? A find Sirius spell?"

"Well, that's what we all called them, anyway. It probably could have been a find-Remus, a find-Peter, or a find-Lily spell, too, but you were the one who liked to wander off on crazy missions without backup. One of his Identity spells."

"Could you find Wormtail with it now?"

"I've tried. Unfortunately, you have to at least be in the general vicinity."

"Which brings us back to the question," Sirius said as they reached the shack. "How did you know where I was?"

"I went to check on you," Dora said, standing up from the table. Her lips were pressed tightly down in an eerie imitation of McGonagall, and her eyes were flashing dangerously. "It was a hard day, and I wanted to make sure you'd got the girls squared away. And who should I find but Albus Dumbledore? Babysitting."

"Oh."

"I can't believe you have the Headmaster of Hogwarts babysitting," Remus said.

"James used to do it all the time." Sirius shrugged. "Well, at least whenever the lot of us had to get something done. He loves it. And Harry always liked him."

"I'd forgotten that," Remus said.

Dora cleared her throat. They both looked at her.

"As fascinating as the reminiscence is, I just took sixteen Dementors on pointless search of an uninhabited island to get them away from Azkaban for you, and I really hadn't planned to spend the evening that way."

"You did what?"

"What, you thought they just happened to be gone?"

"Well... I didn't think there were as many on that side."

She threw her hands in the air, then looked at Remus, who just shrugged. She turned on Sirius. "We have your back, Sirius. Remus and I do. If you're going to do something this mad, tell us ahead of time, and we can help figure it out. As exciting as calling Dementors off on a surprise search for you is, if I hadn't happened to drop by Number Twelve, they'd have found you where you actually were."

Sirius had no idea what to say to that--it was true--so he said nothing.

"I told you he wouldn't have even thought of that," Remus said.

Dora sat down with one final, gigantic rolling of her eyes (Sirius thought she actually exaggerated their shape for this), then said, "Fine. So, what's your verdict?"

"She didn't do it."

"Of course she didn't do it. Why would she after all these years? It's not like"--Dora stopped, examined Sirius, then said, "Oh. Something changed."

"She didn't do it," Sirius said again. "But someone's out to frame her for some reason, and let's say I have healthy skepticism about our trials. If she isn't acquitted, I'm going to interrupt the transfer to Azkaban. It'll be easier than breaking her out. Do you want to help with that, Auror Tonks?"

"It's not going to come to that," Dora said uncomfortably. "But if it does... yes."

Sirius raised his eyebrows, surprised. "Really?"

"Dumbledore asked if I could be trusted. I told him I could. I'm apparently now part of the Order of the Phoenix, and said Order--at least what's been reconvened of it--is on Fiona's side." She smiled. "I've never really been part of a quasi-legal militia before."

"Well, welcome to the party." Sirius sat down, and signaled Remus to come to the table as well. "What's the best way to get her out of the country--with the girls--once we've got her out of the Ministry's claws? I don't think Buckbeak can carry all four of us."

"And broomsticks are noticed. Not to mention cold," Remus said.

Dora sighed. "We try to make a great deal about legal restrictions on Disapparating, but... well, you both know that people can more or less come and go as they please, as long as they do it where other people are doing magic, so it doesn't stand out. The Muggle immigration authorities would go mad if they knew that there was no way to control where we come in, so we have the whole code of laws about it, but they're statutory, not natural. There's nothing that can really stop you from leaving or entering any country."

"Except for not having the faintest clue where you're going to land if you're not at the official stations," Remus pointed out. "And even if you know where you're going, it's dicey if you're going overseas."

"So I'd do it the same way they do the official stations," Sirius said. "Shorter hops along the route. Here to Norway, maybe, then Iceland, Greenland, down the Americas."

"So you'll take Fiona and we each take one of the girls?" Dora prodded.

Sirius, who'd been halfway to planning stops where he could leave each member of the family as he went back to side-along the others, stopped. "Well... that makes sense."

"You're a miracle worker, Dora," Remus said. "I was sure he'd insist on doing it alone."

"He said it would make sense, not that he'd let us do it."

"I'll let you do it," Sirius said. "And thank you. Let's break her out now."

"Thank you for saying that before I commented on the wonders of maturing," Remus said.

"Give the Wizengamot a chance," Dora said. "You said so yourself--if they muck it up, it'll be easier to snatch her on the way to Azkaban than it would be to break her out."

"Meanwhile, we'll need to plan a route to get them down to Brazil. Recife, wasn't it?"

With that, Dora twirled her wand, and pile of travel books appeared. "I had them at home when we were trying to track you," she said, opening one. "Oh, look, you'll be there for Carnaval, if you stay to get them settled in. Which wouldn't be a bad idea, really. And possibly stay longer, as we know for a fact that you're no longer there."

"Not a chance," Remus said.

"Harry," Sirius clarified.

Dora shook her head. "Well, they will need your help to find their way into the culture down there, as none of them speak the language."

"I don't, either."

"No, but you managed to fit in for quite a long time. I don't think Fiona's traveled as much as you had before."

"The Second Task..."

"It's not something you can do anything about," Remus said. "I asked Dumbledore. He can't say what it's about--the Tongue Tying spell, which he's furious at himself for allowing now--but he was able to convey that it's nothing you have any expertise in. Mad-Eye has Harry's back."

"But--"

"And I'll do what I can. Dora and I should be able to come back as soon as we get them there."

This surprised Sirius. "You're going to go see Harry? Finally?"

"If Dumbledore can get me into the task, I'll be there, keeping an eye on him. I'll try to catch him before the task. He'll probably be nervous." He sighed. "Though I'm not sure how well it will work. Mad-Eye said he wasn't entirely thrilled to get my letter."

"That just doesn't sound like Harry," Sirius said. "I really need to talk to him. Though I can't really mention you, since I don't want him worrying about you, too--the whole bit about if I get caught, you get caught."

"I think he'll be a bit busy worrying about you getting caught."

"Exactly, he's worried enough."

"Maybe Dumbledore can check on him," Dora said. "I mean, if he can babysit the Brodie girls, you'd think he'd be able to ask Harry Potter just what he's thinking." She shook her head. "Meanwhile, we have a little tropical holiday to plan."
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Comments
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: November 9th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure it won't be, but the run to Brazil sounds almost... pleasant! Can I come, too? :)

Thanks for updating in the midst of NaNo!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: November 9th, 2009 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
It's been a while since I've commented (still following the fic, thought), but I'm really glad that you've updated! I hope Fiona gets acquitted.
From: severely_lupine Date: November 9th, 2009 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it irks me what Barty Jr.'s doing. I do hope we get to see some payback for all this jerking around eventually.
tearoha From: tearoha Date: November 9th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Argh, Barty Crouch. Never mind murder, torture and kidnapping, making Harry look bad is just mean. I love the 'Find-Sirius' spell - it sounds just like something James might do, keeping an eye on the family he made. Likewise Dumbledore babysitting, it's probably a nice break for him.
Good luck with Nano!

malinbe From: malinbe Date: November 9th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Find-Sirius spells... brillant!

Hopping half-way around the world sounds like so much fun! Really, travelling sounds so much cheaper for wizarding folk.... not fair!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: November 9th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was enjoying the camaraderie of our partners-in-possible-future-crime, then suddenly Barty, Jr, in the guise of Mad-Eye, was back to throw a bucket of cold water on all the fun. Darn the man!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 9th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, rely on Dumbledore to find out about someone's feelings (eye roll).

OK, I'm being mean, but the guy sometimes seemed to have WAY too much respect for people's stoicism and emotional boundaries. If dead men could talk (all the time, not just ghosts), I can see him asking Cedric Diggory how he was doing after the third task, Cedric stoically saying, "Just fine, Headmaster. Please, don't make any fuss," and Dumbledore turning to the crowd saying, "He says he's just fine," completely ignoring the DEAD part.

Although I'm glad Sirius is believing it enough to concentrate on Fiona.

Ellen

chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: November 9th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah! An update during NaNoWriMo!

Well, Dora is quite the guardian angel for Sirius. It probably helps that Sirius doesn't think to dodge her the way he can avoid Remus. I'm sure James got a lot of mileage out of his Find-Sirius spells!
alkari From: alkari Date: November 9th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the update.

"She didn't do it."

"Of course she didn't do it. Why would she after all these years? It's not like"--Dora stopped, examined Sirius, then said, "Oh. Something changed."
LOL - light dawns for Dora too!

And what a pity Remus didn't try a "find Wormtail" spell during POA, when he had the Map and before the Shack scene :(
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: November 9th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the dialogue in this bit!!

You're way further ahead than I/we am/are (I'm co-writing) with Nano... we have serious catching up to do this week. :/

Edited at 2009-11-09 10:15 pm (UTC)
ksellers From: ksellers Date: November 9th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the find-Sirius spell. I want one for my brother.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: November 10th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't believe you have the Headmaster of Hogwarts babysitting,

Hee, this line made me think of the ficlet you wrote about Dumbledore babysitting Harry and feeding him mushy carrots. It certainly is the thing he'd enjoy but most people wouldn't think to ask him do!

I love the dialogue and how we can always tell who's speaking even without tags. It's just that natural!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 10th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)

dumbledore babysitting FICLET? WHERE?

i read that part in this chapter and I love it and I was thinking of asking Fern for a fic in the next Challenge call...

and you tell me there is already one???

do you know the date and challenge of it? or a link?

it would be so much appreciated

*Ella
shiiki From: shiiki Date: November 10th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: dumbledore babysitting FICLET? WHERE?

Right here. It's utterly adorable!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: November 10th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
So glad I chanced to stop by here tonight. I do love Sirius, Remus, and Dora as a team--they're like the wizarding world's version of the Mod Squad! And there's some neat bit of work foreshadowing the identity spells in the Teddy-verse. It's nice that you're managing to fit in NaNoWriMo and some more fic at the same time.
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